The sayings of Lech Walesa

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The Independent Online
Whatever the outcome of tomorrow's election, he will have something striking to say. The electrician-turned-president may be a man of limited education, but he is rarely at a loss for words. Typical Walesa-speak combines colour, coarseness, and simplicity. It also often defies the laws of logic, grammar - and good taste. This is the kind of language that Poles have come to know, love - and frequently to ridicule.

"I am both for - and against." The quintessential Walesa quote, covering his stand on wide range of issues.

"I will build democracy - democratically, semi-demo cratically and even undemocratically." Pledge to the nation shortly after the toppling of communist rule in 1989.

"I won't do anything bad, and if I do, I will apologise." Taken from column in the satirical magazine Nie.

"The country needs political balance; the government is its left leg, the parliament is its right leg and I am in between." On being elected President in December 1990.

"I will tell you directly in a roundabout way."

"At a certain moment I had to descend from the trees and stop making faces ... I have simply begun to calculate, to be flexible and smart." On making the switch from trade union leader to politician.

"I will not bring the army or the police on to the streets. I will not shoot at Poles, even if only because I have the Nobel Peace Prize." - response to wave of strikes.

"I know adversaries who must be respected and friends who are worse than enemies." Interview last month.

"My critics say that I should speak better ... that I should read the things they write for me. But I have another principle, gentlemen, and that is to get things done." - Shortly after assuming office.

"The bed was so big that I couldn't find my wife in it", reference to being entertained by the Queen at Windsor Castle during state visit to Britain in 1991.

"My name is President." Freudian slip.