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Tadeusz Mazowiecki, Poland’s first non-communist PM, dies

Mazowiecki became Poland’s prime minister in 1989 and spent just one year in office.

Poland anti government protests september 2013Enlarge
Members of Solidarity and other Polish trade unions demonstrate against their government's policy on September 14, 2013 in Warsaw. (JANEK SKARZYNSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

Tadeusz Mazowiecki, the first post-communist prime minister in Eastern Europe, died Monday in Warsaw at the age of 86.

He was appointed Poland’s prime minister in 1989 after serving as a close advisor to Lech Walesa, the leader of Poland’s Solidarity freedom movement.

He spent only a year in office after helping to introduce economic reforms that caused companies and state-run farms to close and let workers go.

Walesa won Poland’s first free presidential election in 1990.

Mazowiecki continued working in politics and co-wrote Poland’s 1997 constitution.

He also served as the first UN envoy to Bosnia, resigning in 1995 to protest the lack of international action in response to war atrocities there.

"It is a shame that such a person has passed away," Walesa told public broadcaster TVP on Monday. “Polish democracy is failing a bit these days and we could do with him here, but it seems he is also needed on the other side.”

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/poland/131028/tadeusz-mazowiecki-poland-s-first-democratically-elected-