Former Communist to head Poland's watchdog agency


WARSAW, Poland -- The Polish Parliament voted yesterday to appoint a former Communist to head the country's top watchdog body, rejecting a stalwart of the Solidarity movement.

It was the first time since the fall of Communist rule in June 1989 that the parliamentary bloc led by former party members had held together to outvote Solidarity deputies.

The former Communists and their allies hold 65 percent of the parliamentary seats, in accordance with an agreement made early in 1989. But until yesterday they had not used their numerical majority, preferring, for political reasons, to seek a consensus with the Solidarity representatives elected to the remaining 35 percent of the seats.

Yesterday, however, they voted en bloc 192-132 to appoint economist Wieslawa Ziolkowska, a former Communist and now the leader of the Polish Social Democratic Union, a Communist heir, to the chairmanship of Poland's Supreme Chamber of Control, a watchdog body responsible for policing all institutions, including the police.

Ms. Ziolkowska's new post could prove an embarrassment to the new authorities, since it presumably means a critical voice in a chorus of conformity.

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