March 18, 2006

Polish ruling right eyes snap election

By Pawel Kozlowski

WARSAW (Reuters) - Poland's ruling conservatives said on
Saturday they would file a motion to dissolve parliament, their
most serious threat yet to bring forward elections they hope
could strengthen their grip on power.

Law and Justice leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski said his
month-old power-sharing pact with fringe groups had been
unreliable and that Poles needed to vote again to decide who
runs the biggest post-communist European Union member.

To dissolve parliament, Law and Justice needs a two-thirds
majority -- meaning support from the second largest party, the
pro-business Civic Platform, and at least one other group.

"We will submit this motion (to dissolve parliament)
shortly so that elections could take place before the Pope's
visit to Poland (on May 25-28)," Kaczynski told his party

The conservatives won power last year pledging to protect
the poor, weed out corruption and what they call a network of
vested interests that has ruled since communism collapsed.

They already wield considerable power, controlling the
government, key parliamentary posts and the presidential

But they lack a parliamentary majority and have to flex
their muscle to pass legislation or engage in rows with their
unruly partners who are hostile to the EU and market reforms.

"If they play this right, Law and Justice may benefit from
a new election but the most likely scenario is another hung
parliament and more tough coalition talks," said Marek
Migalski, political analyst at Slaski University in Katowice.

Law and Justice's all-or-nothing style has also pushed it
into battles against independent institutions such as the
media, top judges and banks -- which critics say reveals the
conservatives' appetite for power and disregard for democracy.

"We want to strengthen democracy. When conflicts cannot be
solved in parliament they should be solved by citizens," said
Kaczynski, whose twin brother Lech is Poland's president.

"I call on (Civic Platform leader) Donald Tusk to support a
motion by Law and Justice for parliament to dissolve itself."

In response, Civic Platform deputy Bronislaw Komorowski
said: "The issue is too serious to comment on before our
leaders meet and make a decision. If after these elections
there will be another bad parliament then it would not make any

Recent opinion polls show support for the conservatives and
their government inching lower after their shift to nationalist
rhetoric and constant bickering with fringe allies, who surveys
show may be ejected from parliament if elections were held now.

"I will absolutely not support this motion. The government
enjoys support, we have a parliamentary majority, so why all
the manipulation?" Andrzej Lepper, head of far-left
Self-Defence party in the power-sharing pact, told public