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Last Updated: Friday, 6 May, 2005, 10:45 GMT 11:45 UK
Polish PM's resignation rejected
Marek Belka
Mr Belka had said he would resign if elections were not forthcoming
Poland's president has rejected a resignation offer made by Prime Minister Marek Belka earlier on Friday.

Mr Belka had made the expected offer following parliament's refusal to back a call to bring forward elections.

Mr Belka, who has led a caretaker coalition since last May, wants the poll now in fulfilment of a promise that he would only serve one year.

However President Aleksander Kwasniewski's decision is likely to force him to remain until the autumn.

Mr Belka had said he would offer his resignation if parliament voted down an opposition call for early elections, which it did on Thursday.

"I decided to decline to accept the resignation," Mr Kwasniewski told reporters after a private meeting with Mr Belka to discuss his resignation letter.

Political stalemate

In recent weeks Mr Kwasniewski had repeatedly said that he would reject any attempt by Mr Belka to quit, saying he wants to avoid a power vacuum when Poland hosts a Council of Europe summit in Warsaw on 16-17 May.

It is now likely the prime minister will remain in office until elections take place as planned in five to six months' time.

Mr Kwasniewski himself will stand down in October.

Poland's parliament has been hamstrung for the past year by a split in the governing former communists, the SLD, who were torn apart by a series of scandals.

The political stalemate has prevented the government from passing major legislation, including urgent budget reforms.

In the face of falling SLD popularity, Mr Belka has said he will join a new formation, the Democratic Party, but it is not clear when.

Polish PM seeks early elections
03 Mar 05 |  Europe
Polish PM wins confidence vote
24 Jun 04 |  Europe
Profile: Marek Belka
11 Jun 04 |  Europe
Country profile: Poland
13 Jun 04 |  Country profiles
Polish PM keeps promise to quit
02 May 04 |  Europe

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