Warsaw — A hard-line opponent of the Solidarity Union has been replaced by a reputed moderate as the head of the local Communist Party organization in Warsaw.
The change at the top of the Communist Party's largest local membership group in Poland came at a meeting of the Warsaw committee June 4 and 5, when Marian Wozniak was appointed first secretary in place of Stanislaw Kociolek, who had held the post since the emergence of the Solidarity union following 1980's strikes.
The new Warsaw party chief is deputy chairman of a commission working on a long-term program designed to build the party's public credibility, writes Monitor correspondent Eric Bourne.
Mr. Wozniak has an economic background and a reputation as a moderate reformer, which places him much closer to Gen. Wojciech Jaruzelski's evenhanded, middle-of-the-road thinking than his predecessor. He has risen rapidly in the party's inner councils since last year. In February he became a candidate member of the Politburo.
Mr. Kociolek has long been controversial because of his role in putting down demonstrations that arose in 1970 over severe midwinter price increases. The local first secretary at the time, he was compelled to give up his post in the storm of protest that drove national party secretary Wladislaw Gomulka from office.
Kociolek's return to the party scene in 1980 was criticized by party reformers. His denunciations of Solidarity as a dangerous challenger to party authority were often as harsh as those of Poland's East-bloc allies.
The significance of last week's meeting was underlined by the presence of Gen. Wojciech Jaruzelski, head of government and party as well as of the military council controlling the country under martial law.