Lech Walesa stepped down today as leader of Solidarity, telling the union he led in its 10-year battle against communism to expect major changes once he becomes Poland’s president.
The president-elect also held talks in the Baltic resort of Sopot, his base of operations during the transition, on naming a new government.
Union sources and a report in the daily Gazeta Wyborcza said Walesa’s most likely nominee for prime minister is Jan Olszewski, a lawyer known for defending opposition activists.
Meanwhile, the man Walesa defeated in Poland’s first popular presidential elections, emigre businessman Stanislaw Tyminski, left the country after posting a $100,000 bond to assure his return by Jan. 5 to answer charges of slandering the prime minister.
Announcing his resignation as Solidarity’s chairman, Walesa said: “I want to thank you for our common effort, thanks to which we achieved the greatest honor.” He spoke at a Solidarity National Commission meeting.
When he becomes president, he said, there will be “big changes . . . an earthquake.” But he pledged the changes will be “peaceful.”
Walesa urged the union to be active in free parliamentary elections this spring, and to build a base to support his presidency through the transition to a capitalist economy and a European democracy.
The National Commission decided that union vice chairmen Lech Klaczynski and Stefan Jurczak will run Solidarity until an emergency congress can be held to elect a new chairman.
The congress also likely will decide whether to form a political wing of Solidarity or to confine itself to traditional union work.