2009 | 3(92) | 47-59
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PARLIAMENTARY ELECTION OF JUNE 1989 (Wybory parlamentarne - czerwiec 1989)

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In 1988, many important events took place in Poland. The waves of strikes rocked the country in the spring and the summer. As a consequence of economic difficulties, without any prospect for recovery, public feeling deteriorated. In the opinion of the then government, negotiations with the still banned 'Solidarity' movement could have improved the situation. In February 1989, the negotiations concerning political and economic reforms of the country, called the “Round-Table Talks”, were initiated between the ruling (i.e. the coalition and government) and the opposition (i.e. the opposition and Solidarity) camps. In result of these talks, the government agreed to relegalize Solidarity trade union and allow the opposition to be represented in parliament. All seats in the newly-created Senate were to be elected democratically, as were 35 percent of the total in the Sejm. The remaining 65% of the seats were reserved for the representatives of the ruling bloc. The election, held in two rounds on 4 and 18 June 1989, brought victory to Solidarity which gained all (161) seats available to non-party candidates and dominated the Senate (winning 99 out of all 100 seats). The government's defeat was the more painful as it failed to win seats for its leading politicians entered in the national list of candidates. The June election, even if only partly free and democratic, marks a turning point in modern Polish history. As a consequence, the existing system of the exercise of power collapsed and was replaced by a new system in which opposition took part. In September, a new government headed by Tadeusz Mazowiecki, the first non-Communist prime minister in the Central and Eastern European countries, was formed. This fact started an inexorable transformation of Polish political, social and economic systems.
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  • Andrzej Sokala,Uniwersytet Mikolaja Kopernika w Toruniu, Wydzial Prawa i Administracji, ul. Gagarina 15, 87-100 Torun, Poland
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