Twentieth Anniversary of Free Elections in Poland

Press Statement
Ian Kelly
Spokesman, Bureau of Public Affairs, Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
June 4, 2009

The United States joins with our Polish allies in celebrating the 20th anniversary of the first free elections in the former Warsaw Pact, which signaled the end of Communist rule in Poland. Twenty years ago today, Poland stunned the world when Solidarity delivered a bruising defeat to the Polish Communist Party, ushering in a chain of events that led not only to the return of democracy to Poland, but also to nearly all of the formerly Communist states of East-Central Europe.

The past 20 years have seen Poland emerge as a regional leader, a member and significant contributor to NATO for ten years and to the EU for five years. The United States and Poland celebrate 90 years of diplomatic relations this year, and one of the greatest events of that period is the one we commemorate today. Poles have every right to be proud of what they accomplished on this day in 1989.

PRN: 2009/541