Walesa, emigre head for runoff Wealthy candidate lived in Canada, Peru

November 26, 1990|By ASSOCAITED PRESS

WARSAW, Poland (AP) -- Lech Walesa has won the first round in presidential elections but, in a startling upset, Prime Minister Tadeusz Mazowiecki was shut out of next month's runoff by a wealthy, enigmatic emigre.

Walesa, the favorite in yesterday's balloting, had 39 percent of the vote with 48 of 49 provinces reporting.

The emigre businessman, Stanislaw Tyminski, won nearly 24 percent to Mazowiecki's 17.5 percent, according to provincial election commission results reported by the official PAP news agency. Three minor candidates split the rest. Turnout was about 60 percent.

It was a stunning setback for Mazowiecki, the east bloc's first non-Communist head of government, who during 15 months in office had spearheaded an economic "shock therapy" reform program.

The new leader will take over from Gen. Wojciech Jaruzelski, who ordered martial law to crush Solidarity and imprisoned Walesa and Mazowiecki in December 1981. Jaruzelski is retiring early to complete the democratic transformation.

Tyminski, a 42-year-old virtual political unknown, returned to his homeland this fall after 21 years in Canada and Peru.

The free-spending head of the fringe Libertarian Party of Canada has promised Poles a quick cure for their economic woes and accused the government of incompetence.

Walesa, 47, told reporters at Solidarity headquarters in Gdansk today that he is "hesitating" about contesting the Dec. 9 runoff with Tyminski, and said he does not consider him "a serious man."

"I wouldn't like to run but one has to think over what is good for Poland," Walesa said. "For the last 10 years, I was at the helm of Polish reforms. There were victims and sacrifices and it wouldn't be proper to leave it now."

Tyminski was confident. "I will win these elections," he said as he arrived at his headquarters this morning. "I want to want to make this country rich and prosperous. . . . It will be better within a month."

Walesa, who as Solidarity leader marshaled the forces that ended four decades of Communist rule, has said it would be "horrible" to face Tyminski in a runoff.

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