Solidarity legislators Saturday urged Lech Walesa to run for president but the union leader said he would back Interior Minister Czeslaw Kiszczak for the job.
Solidarity's parliamentary deputies and senators, who will vote in the election for the new president next week, issued a resolution pointedly saying they had an obvious candidate but could see no possibility of proposing him.The statement did not name Walesa but Solidarity sources said legislators had pressed Walesa to run.
Heated discussions erupted when top Solidarity officials replied they could not present a candidate under a government-opposition understanding union that the powerful new presidency should be held by a communist, the sources said.
They said legislators applauded Walesa when he backed Kiszczak as a trustworthy partner in the democratization process.
"Kiszczak gives guarantees of continuity. I will support Kiszczak because he guarantees free (parliamentary) elections," Walesa was quoted as saying.
"Perhaps sometime there will be another candidate but today I would have my picture taken with Kiszczak."
During Poland's recent partly free elections all Solidarity candidates used posters showing them with Walesa. All were elected.
Solidarity's 260-strong parliamentary group - the largest in the 560-member National Assembly that will elect the president - have decided to delay taking a stand on the election until Wednesday at the earliest.
Communist leader Gen. Wojciech Jaruzelski said Friday he did not intend to run because of his unpopularity. Heproposed Kiszczak, his interior minister since 1981, who negotiated Poland's sweeping reforms with Solidarity.
However, some communists consider the reforms a betrayal and the Central Committee is apparently reluctant to accept Kiszczak. It has urged Jaruzelski to reconsider his withdrawal.