Three parties in Poland's right-wing conservative ruling coalition are expected to begin make-or-break talks Monday at noon, which, if they fail, could trigger an autumn election.
The future of the government led by Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski's conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party was thrown into doubt three weeks ago when Kaczynski axed coalition partner Andrzej Lepper from the post of deputy prime minister and agriculture minister over allegations of corruption.
Leader of the populist Samoobrona farmers' party, Lepper insists he is innocent and that Poland's Anti-Corruption Bureau (CBA) tried to frame him in order to destroy him and his Samoobrona party.
He has called for a special parliamentary committee to investigate the activities of the CBA which he claims is being used as a political police force.
Kaczynski stipulated a list of conditions that the PiS's junior coalition partners must accept in order for the coalition to continue and thus avoid an early election.
One of Kaczynski's key conditions is that Lepper drop his demand for a parliamentary commission to investigate the CBA operation which led to his dismissal.
In keeping with a tactic he has used extensively since becoming prime minister a year ago, observers note Kaczynski has threatened early elections to keep Lepper's populist Samoobrona farmers' party and the League of Polish Families (LPR) junior coalition partner in line with PiS's wishes.
Both Samoobrona and LPR are marginally popular and risk falling under the 5-per-cent voter threshold required to enter parliament in a fresh ballot.
Lepper has refused to pull his party out of power despite being axed from his senior posts.
He and Roman Giertych, the controversial leader of the Catholic- nationalist LPR, recently announced they intend to campaign together as Liga and Samoobrona (LiS) should Kaczynski force an early ballot.
The acronym LiS means "fox" in Polish.
Kaczynski's PiS came to power in late 2005 after a narrow victory over the liberal Civic Platform. Poland's next regularly scheduled election is in the autumn of 2009.
Current opinion polls show the opposition would likely win an early election should one be called.
Güncelleme Tarihi: 30 Temmuz 2007, 14:35