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The BBC's Jan Repa
"The court ruled today that Mr Kwasniewski had no case to answer"
 real 28k

Thursday, 10 August, 2000, 14:34 GMT 15:34 UK
Polish president cleared
Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski, left, talks to his lawyer Czeslaw Jaworski during the hearing
Aleksander Kwasniewski, left, is hoping for re-election
A special Polish court has cleared President Aleksander Kwasniewski of accusations he collaborated with the Communist-era secret police.

He will now be free to stand in the October elections, at which he has a strong chance of winning of a second term in office.

A ruling in the case of former president and Solidarity leader, Lech Walesa, could come as soon as Friday.

Former Polish president Lech Walesa
Former Solidarity leader Lech Walesa must also be vetted
The Nobel laureate's reputation hangs on that verdict - he is accused of spying on fellow dissidents for the police but has firmly denied the charges.

Under a law brought in two years ago presidential candidates must declare whether they collaborated with the Sluzba Bezpieczenstwa (SB), the communist secret police.

A Vetting Tribunal was set up in Warsaw to screen candidates and decide if they did anything during the Communist era which would disqualify them from high public office.

Mr Kwasniewski, a junior minister in Poland's last Communist government in the late 1980s, declared he never collaborated with the SB, but archive documents surfaced which suggested he had.

If he had been found guilty he would have been disqualified from the election and faced a 10-year ban on holding public office.

Poll favourite

On Wednesday several former SB agents testified that Mr Kwasniewski was not a collaborator.

"President Aleksander Kwasniewski was not my agent," Zygmunt Wytrwal told the court.

The special prosecutor, Boguslaw Nizienski, conceded there was not enough evidence and asked the court to close the case without a ruling, which would still allow him to stand for re-election.

Poland's current secret police, had accused Mr Kwasniewski of being agent "Alek" in the mid-1980s because the serial number on the Alek file and Mr Kwasniewski's were the same.

The president had said the accusations were aimed at ruining his re-election campaign but according to the latest poll he is well ahead of his rivals, with 54% support.

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See also:

02 Aug 00 | Europe
Walesa faces collaboration charge
18 Jun 00 | Europe
Walesa in new bid for presidency
28 May 00 | Europe
Coalition collapse in Poland
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