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Poland

Yearbook 2001

Poland. According to Countryaah, Poland's complicated relationship with former Jewish persecution became a major topic of public debate during the year. In Jedwabne, northeast of Warsaw, in May a mass grave was excavated with the bodies of hundreds of Polish Jews massacred in July 1941. Earlier, German Nazis had been accused of the massacre, but newly published information showed that Polish neighbors burned the victims inside a barn. President Kwaśniewski, on behalf of the Polish people, apologized for the massacre but was severely criticized by church officials, who claimed that Germans were the culprits.

2001 Poland

Heavy rains during the summer caused severe flooding around the Wisła River in southern Poland. At least 30 people were reported to have died in the disaster, and more than 16,000 people were evacuated from their homes. The flooding helped to increase the already difficult economic problems for the government, which has long seemed to be paralyzed by internal conflicts. around the privatization policy. Previously good growth had slowed down, unemployment reached 16%, and the deficit in the state budget grew to around 10%.

Finance Minister Jarosław Bauc presented a tough austerity program, which led to his dismissal in late August. Prime Minister Jerzy Buzek's minority government, with the Solidarity-led and fragmented right-wing Alliance AWS, seemed to have lost control of economic policy. In addition, negotiations with the EU on Polish membership tightened. It was therefore not surprising that the Left Opposition won a major victory in the general elections in September, while the ruling AWS resigned from Parliament. Solidarity, which led Poland out of communism, had reigned. The Democratic Left Alliance SLD received 41% of the vote and 216 of the 460 seats in the Sejm. Then the newly formed right-wing Liberal Party followed the Citizens' Platform, which took 65 seats. The militant peasant leader and EU enemy Andrzej Lepper's Self-Defense Party surprisingly came in third place with 53 seats. Less than half of the voters participated in the election, which was the lowest figure in Poland's democratic history.

The SLD leader and new Prime Minister Leszek Miller formed a coalition with the Polish Peasant Party in October, which received 42 seats. Poland had thus regained the government constellation that ruled the country in the mid-1990s. The new minister was dominated by communists, of which Miller himself was one. But US-trained finance minister Marek Belka suggested tough financial tightening, while announcing tax increases. The government wanted to give the negotiations on EU membership the highest priority, which the Farmer Party was expected to protest. The election had given many dissatisfaction voices among rural residents, who saw EU adaptation as the cause of growing poverty. At the end of the year, the EU enemy Leppers called the Foreign Minister "villain" when he agreed to the EU's requirement to facilitate foreigners to acquire property in Poland.

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