Sunday, October 14, 2007

Polish PM pleads voters for time to root out corruption

Poland's prime minister on Monday appealed to voters to grant him more time to continue his government's fight to root out corruption, as a new poll showed his party keeping its edge over its main rival less than two weeks before snap elections.

Parliament dissolved itself last month after Premier Jaroslaw
Kaczynski's socially conservative Law and Justice party pushed for new elections as a way to end months of political instability.
«We are changing Poland for the better,» Kaczynski wrote in an editorial published Monday in the Fakt daily.

He argued that during its two years in power, Law and Justice proved in «concrete actions that it wants a transparent, honest and truly European Poland.

«If we win elections, we are going to have to dedicate a lot of work to finish this process of change,» he wrote.

Kaczynski has made rooting out corruption from public life the chief goal of his government and a key element of Law and Justice's campaign.

After trailing in polls in previous months, Kaczynski's Law and Justice has rallied in recent weeks to overtake its main rival, the pro-business Civic Platform.
According to a PBS DGA survey published Monday in the Gazeta Wyborcza daily, Law and Justice would win 36 percent of votes in the Oct. 21 elections, while Civic Platform would trail with 32 percent support, a result that is fairly consistent with many recent polls.

Only two other parties would surpass the 5 percent threshold for entering parliament according to the survey: the Left and Democrats, an alliance of ex-communists and center-right parties, with 15 percent support, while the Polish Peasants' Party has 7 percent.

Law and Justice won 2005 elections, but without the strength to govern alone. As a result, it has ruled either as a weak minority government or in coalition with populists and the far-right _ an alliance that has sparked some alarm abroad and alienated many Poles.

As a way out of unending crisis, parliament voted last month to dissolve itself, forcing the elections two years ahead of schedule.

The PGS DGA poll questioned 1,083 people Oct. 4-6. It gave no margin of error, but surveys with such a sampling size generally have an error margin of about plus or minus 3 percentage points.