Solidarity Deputies Quarrel Over Jaruzelski Vote
Solidarity lawmakers quarreled Thursday over their role in electing Communist Party leader Wojciech Jaruzelski as president and debated whether to join the new government.
Jaruzelski was elected to the powerful presidency Wednesday by the National Assembly with 270 out of 537 votes, the exact number he needed to win.
Solidarity’s unofficial figures showed that one lawmaker who is a member of the independent union movement voted for Jaruzelski, who tried to crush Solidarity when he imposed martial law in 1981.
Union spokesmen identified the lawmaker as Sen. Stanislaw Bernatowicz of Suwalki.
Eighteen more members of the Solidarity caucus helped Jaruzelski by not voting or by casting invalid ballots, thereby lowering the number of votes required for election. To win, Jaruzelski needed 50% of the valid votes plus one.
Solidarity also said that 11 of the 300 Communist coalition lawmakers voted against Jaruzelski while 16 abstained.
Militants complained during a seven-hour meeting of Solidarity lawmakers that they could easily have blocked Jaruzelski’s election. Deputy Ryszard Brzuzy of Belchatow said he was quitting the caucus to protest, but he later retracted the decision.
“I don’t think we should have given Jaruzelski something for free. We should have gotten something in exchange for him being elected president,” said Deputy Jan Bielicki.
Sen. Andrzej Wielowieyski of Katowice defended the votes that helped Jaruzelski.
“Solidarity has decided not to prolong the (leadership) crisis,” said the senior opposition senator. He said he cast an invalid ballot.
Votes that helped Jaruzelski seemed to be cast mainly by opposition negotiators who did not want to endanger the bargain reached with Communists in talks in April. It was tacitly accepted then that Jaruzelski would be president.
Deputy Jacek Kuron, a veteran activist who voted against Jaruzelski, said lawmakers who followed their consciences should be respected no matter how they voted.
Kuron said he favored electing Jaruzelski for the sake of political stability but felt pressure from followers to vote against the man who tried to destroy Solidarity.
Solidarity spokesman Janusz Onyszkiewicz said a meeting of the Sejm, the lower house of the National Assembly, was tentatively set for July 27. The session will give Jaruzelski his first opportunity to nominate a prime minister, who would form a government subject to legislative approval.
Communist authorities since June have urged Solidarity to join them in a coalition government.
Onyszkiewicz told state TV after the lawmakers’ meeting that the majority still believe the opposition should not join the government.
He added, however, that “no decisions have been made.”