Poland's first post-Communist prime minister Mazowiecki dies at 86
By Michel Mrozinski, AFPWARSAW--Poland's Tadeusz Mazowiecki, the first non-Communist premier in Soviet-dominated eastern Europe who was hailed as a father of Polish liberty, died on Monday aged 86.
October 29, 2013, 12:22 am TWN
The lifelong heavy smoker died in a Warsaw hospital following a long illness, close friend and Senate speaker Bogdan Boruzewicz confirmed.
A Catholic intellectual who dedicated his life to fighting totalitarianism, Mazowiecki was “one of the fathers of Polish liberty and independence,” Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski told Polish Radio.
One of the early members of the Solidarity movement, he became prime minister in August 1989, two months after Solidarity won elections and its iconic leader Lech Walesa tapped him for the job.
He and Walesa later fell out and ran against each other in a presidential election the following year, which Walesa handily won.
“He was really one of the outstanding people I met on this journey,” of transition, Walesa told Poland's commercial TVN24 news channel.
“Mazowiecki was the best prime minister Poland ever had,” the Nobel peace laureate added.