Poland's Premier, Reform May Get Second Chance
THE Polish parliament, whose dissolution was announced by President Lech Walesa Saturday, today will consider granting special powers to Polish Prime Minister Hanna Suchocka.
The powers would allow her to continue with economic reforms in the interim period between the parliament's dismissal and new elections, expected within the next four months.
If the parliament does not grant the powers, as is speculated, the government will be virtually blocked until the new elections.
After Prime Minister Suchocka lost a vote of confidence in the Sejm (the lower house of parliament) by one vote on May 28, President Walesa refused to accept her resignation. He instead opted to dismiss the parliament and call for early parliamentary elections.
The actual dismissal will take effect when his decision is printed in the government's legal bulletin in a few days. Elections must take place within four months from the date of printing.
The Sejm, a bickering collection of more than 20 political parties, has been nearly unmanageable since its election in October 1991.
A new election law, expected to be signed soon by Walesa, would require a party to garner 5 percent of the vote in order to enter parliament. It is hoped that this threshold will eliminate many of the fringe parties in the new election and result in a more manageable parliament.
The Sejm withdrew its support for Suchocka May 28 on a motion introduced by the Solidarity trade union and backed by the former communist and nationalist parties on the right. Solidarity argues that reforms are being carried out in a way that is too harmful for the average Pole and has demanded pay increases for striking teachers and health workers.
Suchocka refused to grant the increases, instead sticking to a strict federal budget worked out with the International Monetary Fund. While conditions are indeed hard for many Poles, the Polish economy has begun to climb out from recession.
Now that Suchocka has agreed to stay on as interim prime minister, and Solidarity sees it is faced with the same negotiating partner, the trade union is again threatening a nationwide general strike to force the government to increase wages. Turks Protest Arson Attack
Groups of mainly Turkish demonstrators clashed with baton-wielding German police during the night in Solingen, Germany, where five Turks died in an arson attack blamed on neo-Nazis, NRW radio said yesterday.
The private radio station said tension remained high through the early hours in the town, where three girls aged 13, nine, and four, and two women aged 27 and 18, were killed when their house was set afire early May 29.
Reporters on the scene said police used batons against groups of demonstrators, some of whom were carrying clubs. Some of the protesters were arrested.
NRW said police had called for reinforcements and bus services had been halted after demonstrators attacked a vehicle.
Police in the town of Wuppertal, Germany, responsible for Solingen, said they would issue a statement on the events soon but would not comment immediately.
Witnesses said a large bonfire set up on a central road crossing in the town continued to burn in the darkness and some demonstrators drove through the city waving flags from car windows.
About 5,000 protesters, mostly Turks, marched through Solingen yesterday in response to the attack, which resembled the fire-bomb murder six months ago of three Turkish women in a house in Molln near Lubeck, for which two "skinheads" are now on trial.
Police arrested Germans during yesterday's march after drink cans were thrown from a house overlooking the demonstration, further angering the protesters.
in Solingen, Germany.