25 years ago today:  first semi-democratic elections in post-war Poland, June 4th, 1989.

"Not all parliamentary seats were freely contested, but the resounding victory of the Solidarity opposition in the freely contested races paved the way to the fall of Communism in Poland. In the election’s aftermath, Poland became the first country of the Eastern Bloc in which democratically elected representatives gained real power.  Although the elections were not entirely democratic, they paved the way for creation of Tadeusz Mazowiecki’s cabinet and a peaceful transition to democracy, both in Poland and elsewhere in Central and Eastern Europe, which was confirmed after the Polish parliamentary elections of 1991.”  Read More

Images:

Warsaw, June 3rd, 1989.  Preparing computers for counting votes at the Solidarity headquarters the day prior to the parliamentary elections.

A little girl in a First Communion dress with her mother at the ballot box during elections.

Kozienice area, first semi-democratic elections in Poland since 1939, decorations in front of a polling place.

Kozienice area, a man gets his haircut before going to cast his vote.

Solidarity posters surround an arrow marking the direction of the polling place in a village near Kozienice. 

Electoral office of the  Solidarity Citizens’ Committee at the Niespodzianka cafe, Constitution Square in Warsaw.

Warsaw, voting underway at a polling place.

Warsaw, voters fill out ballots on a bench.

Warsaw, June 4th, 1989, citizens gather to check the results of the first round of elections.  The second round took place on June 18th.

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