Cover

"On 24 August 1989, Polish parliament appointed Tadeusz Mazowiecki as prime minister. Soviet troops were still stationed in Poland, and the Berlin Wall stood intact. We were treading on thin ice…,’ writes Gazeta Wyborczatoday. Mazowiecki thus became the first postwar non-communist head of government in Poland. His candidacy had been put forward by Adam Michnik, editor in chief of Wyborcza, in what eventually turned out to have been an epoch-making article entitled "Your President, Our Prime Minister." Michnik’s idea met with a hostile reception in Solidarity circles and one of its sharpest critics was Mazowiecki himself. "Following the 4 June elections, the communists, still shocked by their defeat, didn’t want to cede power. And Solidarity, still shocked by its victory, didn’t really want to take it," remembers Roman Malinowski, then head of the communist-allied United Peasant Party (ZSL), in an interview for Gazeta, adding that Lech Wałęsa was pivotal in overcoming the impasse. It was through his mediation that the Polish United Workers’ Party’s former allies – the ZSL and the Democratic Party (SD) – switched sides and allied themselves with Solidarity, making the election possible.