Polish president warns on opposition coalition

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WARSAW, Oct 16 (Reuters) Poland's conservative president made clear today he was ready to make life hard for the two main opposition parties if they tried to set up a coalition government after Sunday's early election.

President Lech Kaczynski's brother Jaroslaw is fighting to remain as prime minister, but opinion polls indicate the opposition parties have a better chance of forming a coalition to run the European Union's biggest former communist country.

The president's comments suggested the country of 38 million could face renewed political turmoil if the main opposition parties join together after the October 21 parliamentary election -- an alliance political analysts believe is possible.

The president, who can veto legislation and does not face re-election until 2010, said in a newspaper interview he would find it hard to work with a coalition of the centre-right, pro-business Civic Platform and a leftist bloc.

''It would be a government of difficult cohabitation,'' Kaczynski told Rzeczpospolita daily. When asked whether he would use his veto, the president replied: ''I will use my constitutional rights.'' An opinion poll today put the Kaczynskis' Law and Justice party level on 33 per cent with the Civic Platform. The leftists were behind on nine percent with the Peasants' Party in fourth place on seven percent.

The Kaczynskis have said they would favour a coalition between their party and the Civic Platform, but the opposition party appears wary. The prime minister's last coalition crumbled amid infighting, forcing the election two years early.

The only way a coalition of opposition parties could trump the presidential veto would be to secure three-fifths of the seats in the 460-seat parliament. It is far from certain they can.

Law and Justice is campaigning on an anti-corruption and nationalist platform. The Civic Platform is favoured by businesses because it wants a more liberal economy, but markets are also wary of more political turmoil.

The president told Rzeczpospolita one reason he opposed a coalition between the Civic Platform and the leftists was because it might be soft on Germany. The eurosceptic twins have had particularly difficult relations with Berlin.

REUTERS GL PM1610

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