Walesa nominee approved as Poland's new premier

January 05, 1991|By Kay Withers | Kay Withers,Special to The Sun

WARSAW, Poland -- The Polish Parliament approved yesterday Lech Walesa's choice for the premiership of Poland.

Gdansk businessman Jan Krzysztof Bielecki vowed to form a government of technocrats and to move farther toward a market economy after parliamentary deputies, including former Communists, voted 276-58 to ratify his appointment.

Only the large Poland Peasants Party, which had vainly demanded four Cabinet posts and a government drawn from the ranks of Parliament, voted as a bloc against him.

Indicative of the split within the Solidarity movement after the recent bitter presidential campaign was the abstention of former Solidarity adviser Adam Michnik and other supporters of outgoing Prime Minister Tadeusz Mazowiecki.

Sitting for the first time on the throne of the presidential box, Mr. Walesa watched the debate in the Sejm, or lower house, and applauded as the results were announced.

Mr. Bielecki is due to present the members of his Cabinet todaand is expected to advocate further liberalization of Western investment in Poland.

In brief comments yesterday, he noted that a market economy was the "foundation of freedom." Mr. Bielecki is leader of a parliamentary splinter group devoted to promoting private enterprise.

His government will include outgoing Finance Minister Leszek Balcerowicz, the author of austerity policies that have painfully tightened Polish belts. The new prime minister acknowledged that Mr. Balcerowicz's rapid drive toward capitalism had its costs.

"As Poland is becoming . . . a normal country, the credit of social trust is becoming more expensive," he said. "I hope our policies will stop this kind of inflation, too."

Dissatisfaction with rapidly rising living costs has led recently to labor unrest in the mining and transport industries. The new prime minister stressed, however, that "creating opportunities for the enterprising and the young opens up chances for the whole economy."

He may not have long to create those opportunities. His government is expected to last only until parliamentary elections in the spring and to be dominated in its short life by Mr. Walesa and his advisers in the presidential palace.

Mr. Bielecki is a former academic from Gdansk University. He opened a management consulting firm in 1982 to employ those who like himself had been sacked from their jobs under martial law.

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