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  • workers' protests led to demands for change in Poland. In 1980 a worker named Lech Walesa organized a national trade union know as solidarity. Solidarity gained the support of the workers and of the Roman Catholic Church.
  • Finally, after a new wave of demonstrations in 1988, the Polish regime agreed to free parliamentary elections, The first elections in Eastern Europe in 40 years. A new government was elected, ending 45 years of Communist rule in Poland.
  • 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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