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Poland's Lepper slams PM, says will return to cabinet

Interview

Andrzej Lepper, Polish deputy prime minister and agriculture minister, whose recent dismissal by President Lech Kaczynski has provoked a government crisis, said he plans to return to the cabinet.

In an interview with the Russian Information Agency - RIA Novosti, he said that he intended to get reinstated as deputy prime minister, but not agriculture minister, as he felt he would have more freedom, but he did not go into any detail as to how he would get his post back.

At the request of his brother and Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski, Kaczynski dismissed Lepper Monday night from the position of deputy prime minister and agriculture minister. Following his dismissal, Lepper's Self Defense party, whose parliamentary faction is ranked fourth for MP numbers - 46 out of 460 - decided to leave the coalition. Self Defense has the second largest number of posts in the Cabinet.

Poland's public television channel TVP1 said Tuesday, Lepper was dismissed following an investigation by the country's Central Anticorruption Bureau. The official's two aides were arrested. But Lepper rejected the charges and accused the Kaczynski government of corruption. He demanded to be shown the evidence against him, vowing to challenge it in court. The Self Defense leader said his party is "categorically against the deployment of a US base in Poland."

"The party will insist on a nationwide referendum on this issue," he said. "The people are against the US base, and I am sure that they will vote accordingly." Lepper also proposed considering the resumption of Polish meat exports to Russia bilaterally without any third parties. Kaczynski's government holds the opposite opinion on both issues. Poland's opposition party SLD, which has the third largest number of seats in parliament, has already called for its dissolution.

SLD leader Wojciech Olejniczak said his party would submit proposals to dissolve parliament and call snap elections in August or September. The Polish president previously dismissed Lepper in September 2006. After almost a month-long crisis Lepper was reinstated as deputy prime minister and agriculture minister. (en.rian.ru)

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