Poland's new prime minister, Gen. Czeslaw Kiszczak, is a workaholic who says that during infrequent breaks from duties he enjoys losing himself in a forest to 'delight in the peace and calm.'
Peace and calm is probably a rarity for Kiszczak, 63, who as interior minister for the past eight years oversaw the imposition of martial law on Dec. 13, 1981, the internment of Lech Walesa and other Solidarity leaders and the breakup of countless strikes and protests since then.
Kiszczak also is the man who set up the first reconciliation meetings with Walesa last fall following a wave of strikes.
Those talks led to the historic round-table agreement last spring that legalized Solidarity and put its representatives in Parliament.
Kiszczak is a career army officer who graduated from the General Staff Academy in Warsaw and also studied in Moscow. He was elected a deputy member of the Communist Party Politburo in 1982 and a full member in 1986.
Unlike previous Polish prime ministers, Kiszczak is not a member of Parliament. He was among the party and government leaders on an uncontested 'national list' in the June elections who failed to get the 50 percent vote needed to win a seat.
The Sejm, Poland's lower house, confirmed Kiszczak's nomination Wednesday on a 237-173 vote with 10 abstentions. Most of the opposition came from the 161-member Solidarity caucus but several members of the communist-led government coalition also cast 'no' votes.
Solidarity leader Lech Walesa had on Monday urged Solidarity deputies to oppose his nomination but did not disclose his reasons.
One deputy, describing the 'musical chairs' under way in the Polish leadership during the past week, offered one possible explanation.
'The first secretary became president, the prime minister became first secretary. If the interior minister becomes prime minister, society won't stop laughing at us,' the deputy said.
Kiszczak replaced Prime Minister Mieczyslaw Rakowski, who on Saturday had replaced Gen. Wojciech Jaruzelski as Communist Party first secretary. Jaruzelski became state president July 19 by a narrow vote of Parliament.
Four weeks ago, Kiszczak thought he might end up as state president when Jaruzelski temporarily bowed out of the running for the position he had tailored for himself at the round-table talks.
At the time, Kiszczak outlined what he would look for in naming a prime minister: political qualifications, expertise and personality.
'I represent the view that the time of amateurs has passed forever,' he said.
In his acceptance speech, he was forced to address his own inadequacies, noting he is not an economic expert at a time when Poland's economic disarray is the most important issue.
Kiszczak has a wife and a grown son and daughter, and says his greatest joy is his first grandson. He lives in an unimposing house in Mokotow, a more affluent section of Warsaw.
In a recent interview with the party newspaper Trybuna Ludu, Kiszczak said he rarely has free time.
'But if I manage to squeeze a day or two for leisure, I go somewhere deep inside the forest and take delight in the peace and calm.'
He also spoke ofPoland's pressing problems.
'The most immediate task is to elect state authorities capable of ruling effectively, who have sufficient support.'
Without Solidarity's support, Kiszczak will have to lay a lot of groundwork before he even begins to tackle the difficult economic decisions needed in coming months.