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Polish MP wants referendum over airport named after Wałęsa

PR dla Zagranicy
Nick Hodge 23.02.2016 10:54
An MP for Poland's ruling party wants a local referendum in Gdańsk, northern Poland, on whether the city's airport should continue to be named after former Solidarity leader Lech Wałęsa.
Lech Walęsa. Photo: wikimedia commons/Stowarzyszenia SIEMACHALech Walęsa. Photo: wikimedia commons/Stowarzyszenia SIEMACHA

The issue has re-entered public debate in the wake of fresh allegations that Wałęsa collaborated with the communist secret services in the mid-1970s, prior to the founding of Solidarity in 1980.

Law and Justice MP Andrzej Jaworski claims that Gdańsk Lech Wałęsa Airport was named after the erstwhile Solidarity leader in 2004 for political reasons.

He argues that Mayor of Gdańsk Paweł Adamowicz, who is a member of opposition party Civic Platform, should have let local citizens decide, and that a referendum should now be held.

Supporters of Wałęsa argue that even if he was an informant during the mid-1970s, his later achievements as the leader of Solidarity outweigh any such stain on his past.

Former Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk, himself from Gdańsk and currently President of the European Council, has played down the informant allegations.

“This case has been reheated once every few years for the last 20, 25 years,” Tusk told Politico.

“Wałęsa never hid that he had certain contacts and problems [with the secret police] in the ’70s,” he added.

Wałęsa himself has made a number of statements in recent days, including both denials that he received payments as an informant, while also admitting he made "a mistake" in his dealings with the security services. (nh/pk)

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