Poland's main opposition party proposes early elections amid governmental scandals

Poland's senior coalition party on Friday rejected a proposed pact from its main opposition rival, offered as a way out of a spiraling government crisis brought on by scandals.

The Civic Platform had proposed earlier in the day that it would cooperate with the governing Law and Justice party, providing that it dismiss the heads of its junior coalition members and call early elections in the spring.

"We reject certain elements of Civic Platform's proposal," said Ludwik Dorn, deputy prime minister and member of the ruling Law and Justice party, citing the firing of coalition partners and early elections.

Dorn said the government intends to continue as a three-party coalition with the conservative Catholic League of Polish Families and the rural-based Self-Defense, but stressed that his party "welcomes with joy" Civic Platform's offer to support the budget in parliament and other key legislation.

The maneuvering comes as Law and Justice's two minority coalition parties have been rocked in the last week by allegations of impropriety.

One scandal erupted Monday when Self-Defense party employee Aneta Krawczyk alleged in a newspaper interview that she had sex in 2001 with party chief Andrzej Lepper, who is now deputy prime minister, in exchange for a political job. She said that to keep the job, she was required to sleep with a lawmaker from the party, Stanislaw Lyzwinski, who she said fathered her daughter.

Both Lepper and Lyzwinski deny the allegations and have suggested that Krawczyk was put up to them by others in an attempt to bring down the governing coalition, though they have not said who might be behind them.

Lyzwinski underwent a voluntary paternity test Friday, telling reporters after leaving the medical institute in the central city of Lodz that results are expected on Monday. Meanwhile, chief prosecutor Janusz Kaczmarek said authorities continued to collect evidence and question witnesses in the case.

Another scandal emerged last week when the Polish newspaper Dziennik published a home video allegedly showing supporters of the League of Polish Families party at a rally ritualistically burning a large swastika and chanting "Sieg heil" a salute used by the Nazis, meaning "Hail victory."

An aide to a top party member was dismissed after she was photographed at the rally, and prosecutors are investigating, reports AP.

On Friday, the leader of the opposition Civic Platform proposed a pact with the ruling Law and Justice party to hold early elections in the spring in return for Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski firing Lepper and the head of the League of Polish Families, Roman Giertych.

"For a joint commitment to early elections in the spring of 2007, the dismissal from the government of Lepper and Giertych is necessary," Tusk told a news conference. "The minority government and budget, if it doesn't hold unacceptable things, would have the support of Civic Platform until the elections."

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