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Workers' protest led to demands for change in Poland. In 1980, a worker named Lech Walesa organized a national trade union known as Solidarity. It gained the support of the workers and of the Roman Catholic Church.
After a new wave of demonstrations in 1988, the Polish regime agreed to free parliamentary elections, the first free elections in Eastern Europe in 40 years. A new government was elected, ending 45 years of Communist rule in Poland.
At the end of 1995, Aleksander Kwasniewski, a former communist, defeated Walesa and became the new president. He has continued Poland's move toward an increasingly prosperous free market economy.
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