Poland’s democracy anniversary marred by political divisions

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WARSAW, Poland (AP) – Poland is celebrating 30 years since elections that ended communist rule in the country – but political leaders are divided over that legacy.

The opposition argues the 1989 vote, in which Poles chose Solidarity candidates over communists, was a milestone event that peacefully turned Poland into a European democracy.

The government’s opponents, including former president Lech Walesa and top European Union official Donald Tusk, were celebrating with a debate in Gdansk, the cradle of the pro-democracy Solidarity movement, on Tuesday.

But ruling right-wing party leaders see the 1989 elections as flawed. They argue that they stemmed from a deal between Solidarity and communist authorities and allowed the communists to preserve some influence under democracy.

The ruling Law and Justice party was holding observances in Warsaw.

Gdansk Shipyard workers lay flowers at a monument to workers slain during 1970 anti-communist protests as they mark 30 years since partly-free elections that ousted communists from power in Poland and started a chain reaction in the region, in Gdansk, Poland, Tuesday, June 4, 2019.(AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)
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