Walesa Gets to Work After Landslide Win

From Associated Press

Elected by a landslide in Poland’s first popular presidential vote, Lech Walesa got right to work today on his pledge to build this young democracy into an economically sound “pillar of peace.”

Walesa, who led the decade-long struggle that ended authoritarian Communist rule, acknowledged that “terribly difficult tasks” lie ahead as he attempts to complete the painful transition to a market-based economy.

“I want to work because there is a lot of work to be done,” the former shipyard electrician told reporters at his Gdansk headquarters after defeating emigre businessman Stanislaw Tyminski in Sunday’s runoff.

Prosecutors today ordered that Tyminski be barred from leaving Poland while an investigation continues into allegations he slandered the government during his campaign, state television reported.


Tyminski was ordered last week to appear this month for questioning before a prosecutor in southern Poland. The general prosecutor in Warsaw said steps must be taken to assure he will answer the summons, the television report said.

A slander case was opened against Tyminski, who has Canadian and Peruvian as well as Polish citizenships, after he said last month that Prime Minister Tadeusz Mazowiecki betrayed the nation by causing hardship and chaos with his economic reforms. He accused the prime minister of economic “treason.”

Meanwhile, Parliament Speaker Mikolaj Kozakiewicz said today that Walesa’s swearing-in before the National Assembly will take place about Dec. 21. The date depends on when the Supreme Court completes its review of the election.

The president-elect went to work today in a new government car with three police vehicles in escort. Later, he made a sentimental pilgrimage to the former Lenin shipyard, his former workplace and birthplace of Solidarity.


Walesa told workers he wouldn’t forget that he once wore overalls.

“I am going to return here often,” he said.

The Solidarity chief’s margin of victory was 74% to 25% for Tyminski, according to full, unofficial results released today by the national election commission.