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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Poland's Communist President Foresees Opposition Coalition

WARSAW, Poland -- Polish President Alexander Kwasniewski reluctantly conceded Tuesday that his foes from Solidarity were set to form the next government after clearly defeating the ruling ex-communists in general elections.


Kwasniewski, himself a former communist, said he believed Solidarity's election bloc, AWS, and the liberal Freedom Union, UW, which came third, would manage to overcome their differences and form a coalition.


"Were I to read now what politicians were saying before the election, I would have to think that such a coalition is impossible," Kwasniewski was quoted by the Gazeta Wyborcza daily as saying.


"On the other hand, I realize that the election result gave the AWS great power and that has to be appreciated."


Asked if that meant the government would after all be formed by the two parties, both rooted in the democratic opposition that struggled against the Communist regime in the 1980s, Kwasniewski said: "Today it is the most probable [outcome]."


Kwasniewski has suggested he would like to ask UW leader Leszek Balcerowicz, the driving force behind Poland's economic reforms in the early 1990s, to become prime minister.


AWS, an alliance of right-wing groupings led by the Solidarity trade union, rules that out, seeing Kwasniewski's endorsement for Balcerowicz as a hurdle in talks with the UW.


Yet the party is having trouble naming a candidate to be prime minister. Its fiery leader, Marian Krzaklewski, seems reluctant to take the post.


The AWS and UW are planning talks later this week on forming the government. Former Solidarity leader Lech Walesa, who served as Polish head of state from 1990 to 1995, is pushing the two sides to clinch a quick deal.


Walesa, the electrician who led Solidarity to victory over communism, sees Solidarity's comeback as a personal vindication after his defeat by Kwasniewski in the 1995 presidential election.