Poland To the Brink - and Back Again

The Sejm barely agrees on a new Prime Minister as price hikes threaten trouble

If politicians had their own Academy Awards, the statuette for cliff-hanger scenarios would certainly go to Poland. Last week the Sejm, the governing lower house of Parliament, tackled the task of electing a Prime Minister to head the new government. President Wojciech Jaruzelski chose Interior Minister Czeslaw Kiszczak for the post. But Kiszczak ran into such fierce resistance from both the Solidarity opposition and some legislators allied with the Communists that frantic politicking continued right down to the wire. Communist leaders pressured their rebellious allies within the United Peasant Alliance, offering important positions and threatening to retract privileges. The tactics paid...

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