INTRODUCTION: Poland's Army Chief, General Wojciech, took over leadership of the ruling communist party on Sunday (18 October) after Mr.
MOSCOW, USSR , OCT. 1980 FILE (REUTERS) ) (ORGINAL SOURCE SAYS YURI ZAVADSKY)
Brezhnev, Gromyko, other Soviet officials and Kania in conference (MUTE)
Background: INTRODUCTION: Poland's Army Chief, General Wojciech, took over leadership of the ruling communist party on Sunday (18 October) after Mr. Stanislaw Kania resigned under severe criticism form both wings of the Central Committee. The 58-year-old Defence Minister was elected party leader at a meeting of the 200 member central committee after 54 per cent voted to accept Mr. Kania's resignation. He fell from power amid charges that he had been too soft on the Solidarity Free Trade Union.
It was just over a year ago, on September 6, 1980, that Mr. Kania replaced Edward Gierek as the Communist Party's First Secretary. He pledged to restore the broken link between the Communist Party and Polish society.
But despite repeated consultations with Soviet leader the party had to make many concessions to the 9.5 million strong labour movement to avoid further unrest.
The man who takes over, General Jaruzelski was named prime minister last February in a move to improve the battered image presented by the Communist authorities. The general has made little impact in his nine months as prime minister. He came to office with an economic recovery programme which fell apart. His call for a 90 day strike moratorium was only partially respected.
Solidarity leader Lech Walesa has been visiting unionists and members of the Polish community in France. When news of the leadership change broke he was attending mass in the northern French mining town of Lens. He declined to comment on the situation but a close aide said the downfall of Mr. Kania was logical. Meanwhile, the ruling communist party has issued its toughest attack year on Solidarity. It ways the full force of the lay will be used to defend state interests.
It was in these shipyards of Gdansk that Solidarity was born out of strikes more than a year ago. The authorities have fought a running battle with the Union which has caused a 20 month wave of personnel changes in the party hierarchy. There have been three party leader, four prime ministers and countless cabinet changes. Solidarity's first national congress, which ended earlier this month (October) with calls for drastic curtailment of communist power, appeared to have spelt Mr. Kania's doom.
The economy is on the verge of collapse and food queues like this are becoming common-place. Public anger has mounted and the Central Committee has agreed to freeze the price of most consumer items.
Talks continue between the Party leaders and Solidarity to try and find a way out of the impasse. The Central Committee has called for Saturday work in industries and the assurance that coal, electricity and fuel supplies will be maintained. Mr. Kania's resignation is bound to have added even more urgency to solving the country's economic problems as quickly as possible.
Source: NATIONAL BROADCASTING COMPANY INCORPORATED: REUTERS LIBRARY AND REUTERS - TRAN HUU TRONG