The Cabinet of Tadeusz Mazowiecki

30th anniversary of the first non-communist premier of Poland after 1945

The Cabinet of Tadeusz Mazowiecki was appointed on 12 September 1989, and today we celebrate the 30th anniversary of this historical event. Mazowiecki, important figure of the democratic opposition, became the first non-communist premier of Poland after 1945.

Full text of the Inaugural address of Premier Tadeusz Mazowiecki

The first semi-free election in Poland’s post-war history was held on June 4, 1989 and brought victory to the Solidarity movement and defeat to the governing camp. In fact, the election was only partly free, as – in accordance with the Round Table agreements jointly reached earlier that year by the democratic opposition and the communist authorities – a majority of the Sejm’s seats (65%) had been reserved for the communists (PZPR) and their satellite partners (ZSL, SD, and small Catholic associations). In August 1989, following the failed mission of General Czesław Kiszczak (then Minister of the Interior) to form a new government, an agreement was struck between Solidarity, the United Peasant Party (ZSL), and the Democratic Party (SD) for establishing a coalition government. The Polish United Workers’ Party (PZPR) did not formally join the coalition, but it did ensure for itself the offices of Minister of Internal Affairs and Minister of Defence in the government soon to be appointed. On August 24, 1989, following the formal request of President Wojciech Jaruzelski, the 10th Sejm of the People’s Republic of Poland (known as the ‘contract Sejm’), appointed Tadeusz Mazowiecki as the first non-communist premier (prime minister) in the country’s post-war history, entrusting him with the mission to form a new government. In the vote that took place on September 12, 1989 to approve the proposed composition of the Council of Ministers, 415 MPs took part, of whom 402 supported the new cabinet whilst 13 abstained. In his inaugural address, Premier Mazowiecki stressed that he desired to stand at the helm of a government for all Poles, regardless of their views or convictions – and that his coalition government would pursue a thorough reform of the state.

Tadeusz Mazowiecki, Photo Chris Niedenthal/Forum