Sex scandal leaves Polish government on brink

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The Independent Online

Poland was facing political paralysis as a sex scandal left its beleaguered right-wing government fighting for survival - and nervously waiting for the results of a paternity test.

The latest crisis to hit the country's nationalist government erupted earlier this week when a political colleague of one of Poland's deputy prime ministers, Andrzej Lepper, claimed that she had sex with him in 2001 to get a political job.

Aneta Krawczyk, an employee of the ultra-nationalist Self-Defence party, also said that to keep her post, she was required to have sex with another leading figure in the party, Stanislaw Lyzwinski, whom she said fathered her daughter.

Both Mr Lepper and Mr Lyzwinski deny the allegations and suggested they were invented to destabilise the coalition and bring down the government. Yesterday Mr Lyzwinski underwent a voluntary paternity test at a medical institute in the central city of Lodz and said that the results were expected on Monday. Meanwhile, the authorities continue to collect evidence.

Another scandal emerged when a Polish newspaper, Dziennik, published a home video damaging to another coalition party, the ultra-Catholic League of Polish Families. The film purported to show party supporters at a rally ritualistically burning a large swastika and chanting the Nazi salute "Sieg heil." An aide to a top party member was dismissed after she was photographed at the rally.

The incidents are merely the latest problems to beset the government led by the identical twins Lech and Jaroslaw Kaczyinski, who are President and Prime Minister respectively.

Renowned for his volatility, Mr Lepper has already left the government once only to be reinstated. During that crisis in September, the Prime Minister said Mr Lepper had "been given a chance, but after a short while, returned to his old practices, to trouble-making." Mr Lepper hit back describing the action of Mr Kaczynski, and his twin as "boorishness, boorishness and again boorishness".

Shortly after, Poland suffered a second convulsion when a senior aide to the Prime Minister was filmed secretly offering financial inducements to persuade an MP to switch parties.

Without a majority, Mr Kaczynski's Law and Justice party depends on the smaller allies to get legislation through parliament. Yesterday his party rejected a proposed short-term pact with its main opposition rival.