Walesa glee as parties fall out

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The Independent Online
President Lech Walesa of Poland took a back seat in the country's political crisis yesterday, watching with satisfaction as the two parties in the governing coalition fell out among themselves.

Mr Walesa, who has been calling for the head of the Prime Minister, Waldemar Pawlak, indicated that he intended to hold fire on his threat to dissolve parliament until the end of the week.

But it was clear that he was keenly awaiting the outcome of a meeting of the parties in the governing coalition last night at which the possible replacement of the Prime Minister was high on the agenda.

President Walesa's increasingly strident attacks on the 35-year-old Mr Pawlak have helped to fuel tensions between the Prime Minister's Polish Peasants' Party (PSL) and its coalition ally, the Democratic Left Alliance (SLD).

While Mr Walesa accuses Mr Pawlak of putting the brakes on economic reform and of trying to encroach on his own presidential powers, SLD MPs accuse Mr Walesa of failing to consult them fully over important key decisions. As the senior partner in the coalition, they now feel that their leader, Aleksander Kwasniewski, should take over as prime minister.

Mr Walesa has wasted no opportunity to seize on the split within the government's own ranks, publicly endorsing Mr Kwasniewski's candidature and advising Mr Pawlak to take a long holiday.

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