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Poland

Yearbook 1998

Poland. According to Countryaah, only 40% of Poland's 28.6 million eligible voters participated in the elections to municipal and regional assemblies. The election was the first since the major administrative reform was introduced when the country's 49 counties merged to 16. At the same time, this reduction introduced hundreds of new regional and municipal decision-making bodies that take over data that had previously existed at national level, such as responsibility for education, housing, roads and environmental protection. The new, decentralized system of local governments creates democratic structures at the grassroots level and was an important step in EU adaptation.

1998 Poland

The winners of the election became the Communist Democratic Left Alliance (Sojusz Lewicy Demokratycznej, SLD) with 42% of the seats in the city council around the country. The Alliance Solidarity's election campaign (Akcja Wyborcza Solidarność, AWS), which at the national level leads the government coalition, received 37% at the municipal level, while the coalition partner Freedom Union (Unia Wolności, UW) returned to 10%. If, at the same time, the result of the vote is to be seen as a vote of confidence for Prime Minister Jerzy Buzek's center-right government, it was a setback.

Defense restructuring for NATO membership continued throughout the year. Parliament decided to reduce the mandatory military duty from 18 to 12 months. The need for new military aircraft is great, and Swedish Prime Minister Göran Persson visited Poland and marketed JAS. Despite Poland's economic success and rapid pace of reform with a GDP increase of 5-7% several years in a row, its reputation in the EU has deteriorated. In addition, for the first time, there were some difficulties in the negotiations with the EU, although Prime Minister Buzek denied that there was any crisis between the EU and Poland. The Commission stole ECU 34 million from the so-called Phare program of the Poles, as the Warsaw government filled in filing documents too carelessly and too late.

Criticism was also directed at the country's steel duties and agriculture, and Poland has been accused of protecting the telecommunications company and banks from European competition. Like many other countries, Poland is deeply irritated by the EU's double message on the date of enlargement.

A lengthy ecclesiastical issue was settled during the year when Parliament approved the state-law treaty, the Concordate, with the Vatican. A bill that would prohibit agents and signatories to secret police during the Communist Party from political posts in the future and that the open archives were met by President Aleksander Kwaśniewski's veto.

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