Polish opposition lead as election campaign ends

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WARSAW, Oct 19 (Reuters) Poland's centre-right opposition cemented its opinion poll lead over the conservative party of the ruling Kaczynski twins today, the last day of campaigning before a snap parliamentary election on Sunday.

The election could end the Kaczynskis' turbulent two-year grip on the government in the country of 38 million, the biggest former communist country in the European Union.

Polls published today showed the ruling Law and Justice party between 4 and 12 percent behind the centre-right Civic Platform, which had the support of up to 43 per cent of Poles and is favoured by markets for its economic reform plans.

Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski and his brother Lech the president, who does not face re-election until 2010, have rule during a period of growing economic prosperity but continuing political infighting.

The election was called after the prime minister's last coalition fell apart in September amid acrimony over a corruption probe. today is the last day on which politicians can campaign openly.

The fight against what the Kaczynskis call a corrupt post-communist elite has been at the heart of their campaign and the ruling party has stepped up attacks -- saying the opposition would condone corruption and its policies hurt ordinary Poles.

''The Civic Platform wants a return of the scenario of the 1990s, to that liberalism after communism,'' Kaczynski said in an interview with the Dziennik daily.

The Kaczynskis also say they have succeeded in tough negotiations with European Union partners. The president said he had secured all that Poland wanted in an agreement on a new EU treaty today. He had earlier threatened to delay the talks.

The Civic Platform says the Kaczynskis have ruined Poland's name among key allies and that their zeal to uproot corruption has prevented them from concentrating on economic reforms and improving the dilapidated infrastructure.


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