Elected by a landslide in Poland's first popular presidential vote, Lech Wa-lesa got right to work Monday on his pledge to build this young democracy into an economically sound "pillar of peace."
Walesa, who led the decadelong struggle that ended authoritarian Communist rule, acknowledged that "terribly difficult tasks" lie ahead as he attempts to complete the painful transition to a market-based economy."I want to work because there is a lot of work to be done," the former shipyard electrician told reporters at his Gdansk headquarters after defeating emigre businessman Stanislaw Tyminski in Sunday's runoff.
The president-elect, who will probably be sworn in next week, went to work in a new government car with three police vehicles in escort.
Later, he made a sentimental pilgrimage to the former Lenin shipyard, his former workplace and birthplace of Solidarity. Walesa told workers he wouldn't forget that he once wore overalls.
"I am going to return here often," he said.
The Solidarity chief's margin of victory was 74 percent to 25 percent for Tyminski, according to full unofficial results released Monday by the national election commission. It said Walesa received 10.6 million votes to 3.7 million votes for his opponent.
Two bitter and divisive rounds of voting strained the nation, splintering the Solidarity movement a year after Poland ousted the Communists and embarked on the most ambitious economic reform plan in Eastern Europe.
Walesa said he would decide by Wednesday which of seven possible candidates to select to succeed Prime Minister Tadeusz Mazowiecki. The former Walesa ally was eliminated by Tyminski in the Nov. 25 first round of presidential voting.
In a taped address to the nation Sunday night, Walesa repeated his campaign theme of speeding up the dismantling of communist-collective industries and encouraging private enterprise.
"In Poland there is enough work for everyone. We must change and modernize much," he said. "Europe will appreciate us for this. An economically developed Poland will be one of the pillars of peace and calm in Europe, whereas a poor Poland will meet a wall of disapproval at all borders."
Walesa sipped champagne for the TV cameras and gave an awkward but affectionate kiss to his wife Da-nuta at the insistence of photographers.
He said he thought Tyminski would "fade away quickly," but was worried about the wellspring of anger the emigre businessman apparently harnessed in his come-from-nowhere campaign.
Turnout in Sunday's vote was about 53 percent, compared to about 60 percent in the first round, according to preliminary results.
Tyminski's best showing was among rural voters - where he obtained about 35 percent. The quixotic challenger who returned to Poland in September after 21 years in Peru and Canada had promised prosperity in a month, finding support in people frustrated by economic hardship and rising unemployment.
Tyminski declined to concede defeat immediately, saying voters had been intimidated by Walesa's camp.