The Suchocka Government

Poland Table of Contents

Once again frustrated by an uncooperative Sejm, Walesa threatened to assume the duties of prime minister and form his own cabinet unless a governing coalition were assembled within twenty-four hours. In July two emerging coalitions in the Sejm (a four-party Christian and peasant block and the existing Little Coalition formed around the Democratic Union) surprised most observers by reaching agreement on the candidacy of Hanna Suchocka of the Democratic Union and on the allocation of cabinet positions. Despite misgivings, Walesa approved the cabinet with the warning that if Suchocka failed, he would assume the duties of chief executive in a French-style presidential government.

A relatively unknown political figure, Suchocka was acceptable to other parties that felt personal antipathy toward the more prominent leaders of the Democratic Union. To strengthen support for the new government, two deputy prime minister positions were created, one for economic affairs and one for politics. These posts went to members of the Christian National Union and the Party of Christian Democrats, respectively. Drawing heavily on the experience of the first three Solidarity governments, Suchocka's cabinet included such well-known figures as Jacek Kuron and Janusz Onyszkiewicz (minister of national defense) of the Democratic Union, Bielecki of the LiberalDemocratic Congress, Eysymontt of the Polish Economic Program, and independent Krzysztof Skubiszewski (minister of foreign affairs). Members of the Little Coalition received eleven ministerial posts, most of which were concerned with economic policy; the Christian National Union received five cabinet positions, ensuring it a prominent role in social policy issues such as abortion. Noticeably outside the coalition were the Center Alliance, the Social Democracy of the Republic of Poland, and the Confederation for Independent Poland, all of which found their political fortunes declining in mid-1992.

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Source: U.S. Library of Congress