Source AP ©

Walesa to be fitted with pacemaker

Solidarity founder Lech Walesa’s heart troubles will make him be fitted with a pace maker, an assistant said Wednesday.

Steps are being taken toward fitting Walesa with a pacemaker, Donata Turska, one of his assistants, told The Associated Press. She gave no other details.

Walesa himself, also reached by phone by The AP, declined to give details about any planned medical treatment, but did say that his heart is showing some signs of wear.

"I go through medical tests every four years and they have shown that the heart has been worked hard," Walesa, 63, said from his office in Gdansk, on the Baltic coast. His last test was in August.

But his condition was not too serious, he said.

"I am fine and I am still active in politics," said Walesa, a former president and Nobel laureate who frequently comments on Poland's political life and lectures in the United States.

And he couldn't resist one of his trademark quips: "I still want to live, but they are asking for me on the other side. Maybe I could start Solidarity up there?"

Walesa, a former Gdansk shipyard electrician, led a workers' strike in 1980 that grew into the nationwide Solidarity freedom movement against Poland's communist authorities.

In 1989, Solidarity toppled Poland's communist regime and went on to serve as Poland's first democratically elected president from 1990-95.

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