Poland marks the 35th anniversary of the partially-free elections of 1989

Tuesday marks the 35th anniversary of Poland’s first partially free elections following World War II, a landmark vote that precipitated the collapse of communism in the country after decades of communist rule. 

On 4 June 1989, Poland held partially free elections for the lower house of parliament, the Sejm, and fully free elections for the upper house, the Senate. The Solidarity opposition movement achieved a resounding victory, securing all the seats available to it in the Sejm and all but one seat in the freely contested Senate.

It is important to remember that these elections were only partially free, as the communist regime retained significant control and influence. The structure of the elections was such that while Solidarity made significant gains, the truly democratic forces were not able to completely oust the communists from power. 

This vote was nonetheless a watershed moment that set off a domino effect across the region, culminating in the fall of the Berlin Wall, a powerful symbol of the longstanding division between Western Europe and the communist East.

As Poland commemorates this historic anniversary, the main governing party, the liberal-centrist Civic Platform (PO), is set to hold a rally in Warsaw this afternoon to galvanise his supporters ahead of the upcoming European elections.

 

Image: X (@ipngovpl_en)

Author: Sébastien Meuwissen

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