Kaczynski, 56, mayor of Warsaw, favors cutting taxes and sharply reducing state costs.Twenty-five years ago, this would have seemed impossible. Poland was in the grip of a Soviet-Russia-controlled, Communist government, in the heart of the Warsaw Pact.
And then in 1980 Solidarność was launched at the Gdańsk Shipyards. The Gdańsk agreement meant that a non-party union could exist, and free speech rights were secured.
In April 1989, Solidarity was legalized [as a political party] and allowed to participate in the upcoming elections. In these limited elections union candidates won a striking victory which sparked off a succession of peaceful anti-communist counterrevolutions in Central and Eastern Europe25 years after Solidarity won the right to exist as a free union, Poland runs a peaceful, fair election, that resulted in a run-off between 2 right-wing candidates.
If the trends are confirmed, Poland will be led by a rightist president, governed by a conservative coalition from the same party, and have a Parliament without any strong center or leftist groupings [ref.]The Communists have been basically thrown out of government over corruption and the economy. Given that many of us watching the birth of Solidarność expected tanks and machine guns to settle the issue on the side of the Warsaw pact, this election is amazing. Many of the things being said about Iraq today, were said about Poland then. (No history of democratic government, faltering economy, ...) The doomsayers were out in force then, as now. But Poland has succeeded in establishing democratic rule, as Iraq will in time.
[The use of the term "counterrevolutions" by the International Herald Tribune is interesting. The only people that use that term are Communists. I guess we know where the NYT/IHT editors and authors stand on Ideology.]