Poland's ruling party agrees to push for early elections

Monday, August 13, 2007

WARSAW, Poland -- Poland's governing party is pushing for early elections after the prime minister said he could no longer work with his two coalition partners.

Poland has been bogged down for weeks because of infighting between Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski's ruling Law and Justice party and the two junior parties in the nationalist government.

"I see no possibility of supporting a minority government, and we don't want to have the kind of government we have had recently," Kaczynski said at a news conference Saturday.

"Let the elections be a plebiscite in which people will say what kind of Poland they want," he said, citing Oct. 21 as a possible date for the vote.

Early elections can be triggered by a vote of self-dissolution in parliament or by the president's decision to dissolve parliament. The next regular elections are due in 2009.

Since Kaczynski's twin brother, Lech Kaczynski, currently holds the office of president, the premier's push for early elections seems likely to succeed. The president is also the authority who sets the date for the vote.

Jaroslaw Kaczynski also hinted that some ministers from his Cabinet would soon be dismissed, as had been suggested earlier by his deputy, Roman Giertych.

Giertych, head of the nationalist League of Polish Families, and leaders of the farm-based Self Defense party have suggested that Kaczynski is trying to break up the coalition following his firing last month of the former agriculture minister and deputy premier, Andrzej Lepper.

Lepper heads Self Defense, one of the two junior parties in the coalition government.

The investigation of the Agriculture Ministry led to other firings, and last week the country's top security official, Janusz Kaczmarek, was dismissed for allegedly leaking classified information and obstructing an investigation into bribery in the ministry. He denied the allegations.

That led to the resignation of the country's national police chief, who answered to Kaczmarek.

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