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Extra resources for Developments in Central and East European Politics 3
However, Pawlak could not form a government, and the political crisis deepened. The Solidarity trade union had done badly in the 1991 election, but it carried considerable authority among the Solidarity groupings within parliament. Solidarity brokered a deal for a seven-party government under Hanna Suchocka of the Democratic Union. Suchocka’s government effectively renewed the reform strategies of Mazowiecki and Bielecki (who took charge of negotiations with the European Community), while promising to remain neutral on ideologically divisive issues that could threaten the coalition’s unity.
Politics ceased to embody the historic division between the heirs of communism and the heirs of Solidarity that had dominated political life since 1989. The divide between the SLD and various emanations of the 1980s opposition movement was maintained in rhetoric, in programmatic differences, and in popular support throughout the 1990s. It remained crucial in 1997, with strong polarization of the two forces. But the 2000 presidential election and the 2001 parliamentary elections showed the now-feeble relevance of anti-communism and re-emphasized the democratic legitimacy of the SLD.
It threatened to overwhelm these elaborately constructed and highly valued European institutions with an influx of states whose fragile new political and administrative structures seemed unready to play by the established Western ‘rules of the game’, whose ruined economies would be heavily dependent on Western support for decades to come, and who seemed more likely to consume than to contribute to common security. For Central and East Europeans, the contradiction between ‘national self-determination’ and joining the EU and NATO is much less obvious, for reasons that this chapter has sought to make clear.