URGENT Jaruzelski Will Allow Solidarity Prime Minister, Lawmaker Says
Aug. 17, 1989
President Wojciech Jaruzelski today approved Lech Walesa's offer to form a coalition government led by non-Communists for the first time in the East Bloc, a lawmaker said.(1132EDT) .....................................................................
WARSAW, Poland (AP) _ President Wojciech Jaruzelski agreed today to accept a Solidarity member as prime minister, a lawmaker said. The move would make Poland the first Soviet bloc nation whose government is not led by a Communist.
Another lawmaker reported earlier today that Jaruzelski approved in principal Lech Walesa's plan to form a coalition government of lawmakers from Solidarity and two small parties that recently broke ties with the Communists.
Walesa, the Solidarity leader, has stressed that a coalition government would offer the ministries of defense and interior, which control the army and internal police, to the Communist Party. This perhaps would ease Soviet fears about a fissure in the Warsaw Pact military alliance.
Communist Prime Minister Czeslaw Kiszczak, who recently said he would leave office because he could not form a government in the face of the Solidarity- led opposition, turned in his resignation today, state-run media said.
Solidarity lawmaker Jacek Kuron, summing up a historic two-hour meeting between Jaruzelski and leaders of a Walesa's newly forged parliament coalition, said the coalition proposed to Jaruzelski three candidates for prime minister.
Jaruzelski ''said he will grant nomination to one of the Solidarity candidates in the nearest future,'' Kuron told lawmakers.
The three candidates are Solidarity parliamentary leader Bronislaw Geremek; Tadeusz Mazowiecki, editor of the labor movement's weekly newspaper; and Kuron, an activist in the Polish opposition for more than 20 years who has spent nine years in prison for anti-government activities.
''The president accepted the proposition of Walesa'' to form a coalition government, said Jerzy Jozwiak, head of the Democratic Party, one of the two parties that recently aligned themselves with Solidarity. He commented after attending a meeting at which the opposition plan was presented to Jaruzelski.
Jaruzelski, poised to grant enormous control over Poland's destiny to the Solidarity labor movement he crushed eight years ago, was to issue a formal statement on Friday, said Jozwiak.
There was no official confirmation that Jaruzelski had agreed to the opposition proposal. Opposition and government leaders would not comment further until Jaruzelski's statement on Friday.
An official communique issued today said Jaruzelski ''declared that he will urgently consider the presented propositions and conduct appropriate consultations aimed at the quickest possible appointment of such a government in the interest of the nation.''
The communique did not say who would lead the government, but Walesa has said the coalition should be based on an alliance of Solidarity, the United Peasant Party and the Democrats, with a Solidarity member as prime minister.
The Soviet news agency Tass, in a report on the Polish developments, said there was a ''positive'' chance a Polish government would be quickly formed ''in which the role of the motivating force would be played by Solidarity.''
Walesa and leaders of a newly formed coalition of lawmakers, comprising a majority in the Polish legislature, met with Jaruzelski and outlined their offer for a government led by the opposition.
Walesa, mobbed by reporters after he returned to his hotel, looked tired and pleased and said the outcome of the meeting, which he desribed as ''good,'' would be detailed in a communique on the state media.
State radio in Warsaw also said a communique would be issued.
Walesa said the nomination of the prime minister is ''the president's matter. ... Let's respect the president. This matter is in his hands.'' Walesa said he was ''satisfied with the meeting.''
Asked if the president favored a government such as the coalition had suggested, Walesa replied: ''What Poland needs is agreement, a government of reforms. Everybody is in favor of that. So it is only a technical matter.''
Jozwiak said the meeting's outcome was ''favorable for the state and the nation,'' but did not explain it in detail.
President Bush was monitoring the developments in Poland and the White House said the ''sensitive situation'' was a positive development.
''We do encourage and support the process of pluralism, and it appears that is the general direction that they are aimed,'' in Poland, Press Secretary Marlin Fitzwater told reporters who accompanied the president to Maine.
''Certainly a non-Communist government would be a remarkable and history- making occurrence,'' he added.
On Wednesday night, Solidarity's parliament members overwhelmingly endorsed the call for the opposition-led government after winning the support of the United Peasant and Democratic parties, two minor parties that traditionally have existed under the leadership of the Communist Party.
Walesa then agreed to Solidarity's request that he lead the new alliance but said he did not intend to become prime minister.
He said later his decision was not final. ''There are better people than Walesa'' for prime minister, said the winner of the 1983 Nobel Peace Prize. ''I am with the masses, from the masses and for the masses.''
Before the meeting with Jaruzelski, Walesa met with Jozwiak and Roman Malinowski, head of the United Peasant Party, to cement the union that seeks to replace the communist government with a Solidarity-led coalition.
Such a coalition would end four decades of Communist rule at a time when Poland's economic situation is worsening and Poles are growing increasingly angry over shortages of basic commodities and rising inflation.
The prime minister will have to be nominated by Jaruzelski, who in December 1981 declared martial law to suppress Solidarity.