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Monday, 2 February 2009

President: Round Table was a meeting with a usurper

Looking back from the perspective of 20 years of democracy in Poland, how does the President assess the Round Table? “I have always treated it as a purely tactical move within the game for a free Poland. I keep saying that it was necessary” says Lech Kaczyński in an interview with “Newsweek”.

“The Round Table had a dynamics of its own. First we solely discussed partly free elections to the Sejm, afterwards there was a fight to restore the Senate and finally – to have free elections to the Senate” recalls the President.

Why did Lech Kaczyński not sit at the Round Table? “My brother and I were irritated by the attempt to treat us as one person. We were told that there was only room for one of us at the main table. So we both resigned” he explained to “Newsweek”.

Would Communism have fallen without the experience of the Round Table? “Communism would most probably have fallen at some time because sooner or later it would have collapsed in the USSR. However, as a tactical project the Round Table was a shrewd approach. Nevertheless, it should be treated as a meeting with a usurper. After autumn 1989, when the world situation had changed, it was necessary to speed up the changes in Poland, which did not happen. Our fraternisation process with the authorities generated many negative phenomena. On our side many noticed that apart from political authorities there were all kinds of influential social groups that could be either attracted or dissolved. They elected to attract” explains President Kaczyński.

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