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Skalski, Ernest

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Rzeczpospolita - Poland | 05/05/2006

Andrzej Lepper appointed deputy prime minister

President Lech Kaczynski is to officially appoint Andrzej Lepper, leader of the populist Samoobrona party, as deputy prime minister and minister of agriculture on May 5. This comes after the conservative PiS, Samoobrona and the right-wing clerical party NKP agreed on April 27 to form a coalition which, however, until now still lacks 13 MPs to obtain a parliamentary majority. Commentator Ernest Skalski says the new alliance will not last long: "Deputy Prime Minister Andrzej Lepper has no interest in the coalition achieving a majority and chalking up a victory which the PiS would claim as its own. On the other hand, if the coalition is defeated, Samoobrona will cleverly distance itself by abandoning the coalition and the government... It's to be expected that (PiS head) Jaroslaw Kaczynski will now finally manage – after doling out many posts and paying the price of increasing dissatisfaction within his own party – to build a majority consisting of bribable MPs of shaky allegiance. However, the political stalemate will continue."

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