WARSAW, Poland -- After a parliamentary election that showed both rising apathy and widespread voter dissatisfaction, President Lech Walesa offered last night to serve as his own prime minister over a fragmented legislature.
The move, if accepted, would give the former shipyard electrician and Solidarity leader control over the country's two most powerful offices and was immediately condemned by some as a step toward one-man rule.
As he did so often during Solidarity's decade-long struggle against communism, Mr. Walesa is again offering to take Poland's troubles on his broad back. But it was not immediately clear whether the political parties that have sprung up in two years of democracy would submit to his rough-and-tumble style of leadership.
Returns announced last night showed that the seats in the Parliament have been divided among more than 25 parties, none holding more than 12 percent.
With 98 percent of the votes counted, the Democratic Union, the center-left party that is a direct descendant of Solidarity and is led by former Prime Minister Tadeusz Mazowiecki and other Solidarity intellectuals, was running even with the party of former Communists, which calls itself the Democratic Left Alliance. Both had 12 percent of the votes and 48 seats in the 460-seat lower house, or Sejm. Closely behind with about 8 percent each were the Polish Peasants Party , church-backed parties such as the Catholic Electoral Action, the Center Alliance and the Confederation for Independent Poland.
Polish political leaders have already acknowledged that there is no obvious majority that could be formed from the scattered results.
Mr. Walesa's proposal was announced by Andrzej Drzycimski, his press secretary.
What everyone was pondering last night was whether the offer reflected a genuine intention to take the reins of government in his hands or a high-pressure strategy intended to force the quarreling factions emerging from Solidarity to cooperate with one another.
Mr. Drzycimski said Mr. Walesa had three possibilities in mind: a coalition of the parties emerging from the Solidarity movement led by a prime minister of their choice; a similar coalition with Mr. Walesa as prime minister and a two-year term; and Mr. Walesa with two years' grace as leader of a coalition of the top seven parties, with ministries apportioned on the basis of percentage strength in the elections.