Solidarity won eight of the remaining nine seats available to opposition candidates in the second round of the Polish parliamentary elections, according to unofficial returns announced Monday.
The final tally gives Solidarity 99 seats out of 100 in the Senate and 161 seats in the Sejm, the lower house of Parliament. The remaining 299 Sejm seats will go to the Communist Party and its allies, the result of a pre-election agreement between Solidarity and the Polish authorities.
The Communists were saved from a total shutout in the newly created Senate by the victory in Sunday's runoff vote of a wealthy feed and fertilizer manufacturer from Pila. He is believed to have spent 200 million zlotys ($235,000) in the most expensive political campaign ever waged in Poland.
The tycoon, Henryk Stoklosa, fed free beer and sausages to prospective voters and filled a 50,000-seat stadium for a campaign rally by holding a raffle at which he gave away a tractor, a color television set and a videotape recorder.
The state election commission estimated the turnout for the second round of the election at 25.3%, the lowest on record in post-World War II Poland.
Although most Poles expressed little interest in the contests between Communist candidates, it appeared that Solidarity's endorsement helped the party's liberals.
One of the liberal Communists elected to the Sejm was former Gdansk party leader Tadeusz Fizbach, who signed the 1980 Gdansk accords that legalized Solidarity.
At the same time, three party hard-liners, Janusz Kubaszewicz of Warsaw, Manfred Gorywoda of Katowice and Construction Minister Bogumil Ferensztajn, all failed in bids for Sejm seats.
The consequences of two consecutive electoral disasters for the party are likely to be thrashed out at a party plenum later this month.
"The post-election shock has brought about a need for a deep analysis of the situation," Politburo member Leszek Miller said Monday in an interview in Trybuna Ludu, the official party newspaper. "The party is faced with the most serious problems in its whole history."
"Perhaps the issue is: a totally new party, a party of the social left and social progress," he said in the interview.
But the party's official spokesman, Jan Bisztyga, told the British news agency Reuters that Miller's proposal for a "totally new" Polish Communist Party is politically unacceptable.