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Walesa quits legendary Solidarity trade union

Polish Solidarity hero Lech Walesa said on Tuesday he had quit the celebrated trade union he founded and that helped bring about the collapse of communism in eastern Europe. “It is no longer my Solidarity,”  Walesa said. “Something is wrong with it.”
/ Source: Reuters

Polish Solidarity hero Lech Walesa said on Tuesday he had quit the trade union he founded and that helped bring about the collapse of communism in eastern Europe.

Nobel Peace Prize laureate Walesa said he had opposed Solidarity's decision to support the ruling conservative Law and Justice party in elections last year.

The leaders of Law and Justice, twins Jaroslaw and Lech Kaczynski, are now prime minister and president of Poland respectively.

"They (Solidarity) have backed the Kaczynskis too much," Walesa told PAP news agency. "I don't want to be involved with that."

"It is no longer my Solidarity," Walesa said. "Something is wrong with it."

Solidarity leaders said the former shipyard technician, who became postwar Poland's first freely elected president after the fall of communism, had officially not been a member of the movement since January because he had not paid his annual dues.

Walesa said he planned to stay away from the main event marking the 26th anniversary of the founding of Solidarity on Aug. 31 because leading members of Law and Justice would be there.

Formed in 1980, Solidarity was the Soviet Bloc's first independent trade union. It is credited with inspiring dissent that spread across eastern Europe and culminated in a series of anti-communist revolutions.

Walesa went on to win the Nobel Peace Prize and became president in 1990.

The Kaczynskis' party won parliamentary elections last year on criticisms of post-communist reforms that were spearheaded by Walesa.

The brothers, once members of Solidarity, were advisers to Walesa before the three had a falling out in the mid-1990s.