Aleksander Kwaśniewski, was a former member of Poland’s ruling communist party, and was elected president on December 23rd, narrowly defeating  Poland’s first post-communist president Lech Wałęsa.
Under his leadership, Poland was admitted to the NATO in 1999 and to the European Union in 2004. He also supported the US the war against terrorism and even committed Polish troops to assist in the occupation and subsequent reconstruction of Iraq.
Kwaśniewski also made efforts to develop better relations both with the Vatican and the Jews, formally apologizing for a 1941 massacre of Jews at Jedwabne by the Poles, and restoring citizenship to many Jews that were deprived of it as a result of the communist government’s decisions. Having served both constitutionally accepted terms, Kwaśniewski left office in 2005.