During his first few days of office as the new secretary of the Polish Communist Party, Mr.
During his first few days of office as the new secretary of the Polish Communist Party, Mr. Edward Gierek has been visiting industrial centres and meeting the workers. One of his visits was to a coal-mine where he decorated several workers.
Mr. Wladyslaw Gomulka resigned as Polish leader for reasons of health on Sunday night (December 20), after a week of violent disturbances in several cities over rising food prices. Mr. Gierek, a 57-year-old technocrat, has promised to examine the nation's economic policies and also the possibility of raising workers' waged. One of his first acts as the new leader was to announce a complete freeze on food prices for two years.
Mr. Gierek made his political reputation in Poland as the man who brought prosperity to the Mining region of Silesia, South Poland. He was himself a miner and later was chiefly responsible for coal output--which was of-fifth of Poland's national product and for the social conditions of the me. He scored and outstanding success in Poland's generally poor economic condition in the early sixties by maintaining an acceptable level of prosperity among the miners. He success in the Katowice region was such that the area was named "Poland's Katanga"--after the copper-rich region of the Congo.
In the wake of the recent riots, there have been top-level changes in the ruling Politburo. Marshal Marian Spychalski was replaced as Polish head of state by the Prime Minister Mr. Jozef Cyrankiewicz. Deputy Prime-Minister Mr. Piotr Jaroszewicz succeeds Mr. Cyrankiewicz as Prime Minister.
The task of facing Mr. Gierek is one of winning the confidence of the Polish people, of reorganising structurally the economic framework of the country with the participation of the workers and managers, and the formulation of a five-year plan. He has his roots very much with the workers--he left school at 13 to work down the mines--and has in Silesia used rewards related to increased productivity and reduced costs as a method to combat inflation. There has been much speculation that he will adopt recently put into effect by the Gomulka administration.