Round Table Agreement

Round Table Agreement

Antoni Macierewicz considers the negotiations and the agreement to be a “classic Soviet conspiracy of the secret services”. According to him, Kiszczak and Jaruzelski “were at every stage controlled by their Soviet overseers (…) and their autonomy was minimal.” As Macierewicz put it in February 2009, the roundtable was a “tactical success of the elites, but from the point of view of Poland`s national interests, it was a failure.” [4] Communists admit that such distrust is inevitable, while they seem desperately seeking a consensus with Solidarity to reverse the slide towards economic collapse. “We know that the other side doesn`t really trust us and has the right not to do so,” said Jerzy Bielecki, deputy editor of the party`s newspaper, Trybunu Ludu. Between February 6 and February 5 Meanwhile, sources of solidarity accused the Communist Party`s hardliners of undermining the round table agreements by stomping peasant strikes in the east of the country. After difficult negotiations, the leaders of the Communist Party agreed to hold free elections to the Polish Senate and partly free elections to the lower house of Parliament – the Sejm. The deal won only 35 percent of Sejm`s mandates through competitive campaigns, with the rest retained for members of the ruling coalition. The opposition understood that the elections were not only a price for the regularization of Solidarity, but a great opportunity. In the end, the two sides agreed on two rounds of voting. If none of the candidates reached 50 percent or more in the first round, two candidates with the highest score would face each other in the second round. This formula, adopted during the negotiations, was a combination of electoral rules known in both democratic and authoritarian regimes. After the factory strikes of the early 1980s and the creation of the Solidarnosc movement (then still underground) led by Lech Wałęsa, the political situation in Poland began to relax.

Despite an attempt by the government to act against the unions, the movement had gained too much momentum and it was becoming impossible to stop the change any further. In addition, the fear of a social explosion due to economic malaise and uncontrollable inflation has lowered Polish living standards and exacerbated public anger and frustration. In 1988, the authorities began serious discussions with the opposition. “Polish political theater,” he adds, pointing to the scenes on the TV screen in the corner of his office, as the end of the eight weeks of roundtable discussions is broadcast live in the nation. Both sides understood that the opening of negotiations was necessary because of the strikes that had broken out in 1988. Their first wave took place in the spring and lasted from April to May 1988, while the second – much longer – took place between August and September of the same year. .