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Polish president dismiss deputy PM

Polish President Lech Kaczynski on Monday sacked Deputy Prime Minister and Agriculture Minister Andrzej Lepper, the leader of a coalition partner, in a move that could lead to new elections.

President Lech Kaczynski recalled Andrzej Lepper from his post after a motion by Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski, Polish government spokesman Jan Dziedziczak told Polish PAP news agency. “The decision was made in relation to facts revealed by the Central Anti-corruption Office in connection with proceedings concerning large-scale corruption. Two persons have been detained in the case,” Dziedziczak said.

Polish Prime Minister J. Kaczynski added later in the night that 3 million-zlotys ($1.1 million) in bribes were involved. J. Kaczynski said on Monday night that early elections would be the only option if there was no majority government. In an interview aired by TVP public TV station the prime minister added that aggressive opposition made it impossible for a minority government to rule the state. Referring to corruption charges he said that Andrzej Lepper might be a suspect in the case.

Meanwhile, Lepper, who is leader of Self-defense Party, said that “a dirty game” had been going on around him. Lepper told TVN24 TV station he “does not imagine other decision than leaving the coalition.” “We, Self-defense, will not be present in this government,” Lepper said. Lepper added the two people detained in the case had allegedly said that they had such good relations with the agriculture ministry that they might arrange a change to the status of allotments.

Acting head of Self-defense caucus Krzysztof Sikora said the party council had resolved later in the night to leave the coalition, Krzysztof Filipek of Self-defense added the party's caucus would meet to discuss the matter and make the final decision on Tuesday morning. In May 2006, the Polish right-wing governing party, Laws and Justice, formed the majority coalition government with Self-defense and the League of Polish Families. On September 22 last year, Lepper was dismissed by the president because of disputes within the coalition but was reappointed in the second month. (