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Government Spokesman Offers to Quit for National Reconcilialtion

June 22, 1988

WARSAW, Poland (AP) _ Government spokesman Jerzy Urban told a news conference Tuesday he is ready to resign if that would aid the cause of national reconciliation.

″I think it would be to the advantage of national reconciliation if I ceased to be government spokesman,″ said Urban, who has been at his post in the communist government since 1981.

″My role, my person and my face are associated mainly with political struggle,″ he said.

But he added a final decision depended on his superiors.

″I am tied by certain special links of political like-mindedness, loyalty and attachment (to the government) and in view of this, the decision that Urban should go, in my opinion a right one, cannot be made by Urban himself,″ he said.

Urban is not a member of the Communist Party. He became prominent through televised news conferences and statements in the turbulence after Solidarity was chartered by the government in the fall of 1980 as the only free trade union in the Soviet bloc. Solidarity was suspended in December 1981 and subsequently outlawed.

As government spokesman many Poles have seen Urban as the bearer of bad news, such as price increases.

He once wrote a column for a satirical publication and also worked for the weekly Polityka newspaper when Communist Party Politburo member Mieczyslaw Rakowski was the editor. Rakowski is now the party’s propaganda chief.

Urban has many critics but in 1987 readers of the magazine Kobieta I Zycie (Woman and Life) voted him one of their men of the year.

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