The European Parliament Tuesday elected former Polish Prime Minister Jerzy Buzek as president of the 736-member assembly.

Mr. Buzek is the assembly's first president from the former Eastern bloc, which was under Soviet domination for nearly 50 years.

He called his election a tribute to the millions of people who he says did not bow to a hostile system.

Poland joined the European Union in 2004.

Buzek was a member of the Solidarity trade union that helped bring down communism in Poland. He was Polish prime minister from 1997 until 2001.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.