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1989: Election boost for Solidarity
Solidarity, Poland's anti-communist party, looks set to claim a remarkable success in the country's elections, with initial results suggesting it has done much better than predicted.

The results, if confirmed, will be even more notable because this is the first election in which the Solidarity movement has been permitted by the Soviet-controlled government to campaign against the Communist Party.

But however large its success, the communists will remain in control, as the opposition has been allowed to contest only one third of the seats.

The best Solidarity can hope for is a majority in the senate.

Incomplete results suggest the government will be disappointed by its performance.

The electorate simply showed that we need reforms
Solidarity spokesman
Despite a low turnout, Solidarity candidates appear to have exceeded their expectations.

A Solidarity spokesman said: "The electorate simply showed that we need reforms, the party should reform itself too and the whole result of the election is a big boost to go on."

Polling stations have been closed for more than 12 hours, but a final announcement will have to wait until all 2000 electoral districts have completed their counts and delivered their results.

The likelihood of Poland experiencing institutionalised opposition for the first time under communism has excited many Poles, who regard the contest as a test for freedom.

One man said: "It's one step in our escape from serfdom and communism."

A woman described Solidarity's expected victory as "enormous".

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Solidarity party
Solidarity is poised for success

Poles hear initial election results



In Context
The first-round result saw Solidarity, led by shipyard worker Lech Walesa, win between 70 and 80 per cent of the vote in most of the country.

Solidarity began as a trade union organisation in 1980, but soon evolved into an effective political movement.

Following its shock landslide win over the ruling communists in 1989, the Solidarity movement splintered into various groups.

But the effects of the election on Poland were lasting, and soon demands for reform and democratisation became overwhelming.

Following the dissolution of the communist party, Walesa was elected Poland's first non-communist President in 1990.

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