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Polish right-wing coalition rift could prompt new elections

POLAND’S governing coalition looked set to collapse today after junior partner United Poland voted against an animal welfare Bill.

“The coalition at the moment does not exist,” Marek Suski of the ruling Law and Justice party declared.

“Our former coalition partners should be packing up their desks.”

The party’s parliamentary leader Ryszard Terlecki said party leaders would meet for talks on Monday to determine whether new elections were needed, which could happen if the minority administration cannot pass legislation.

The rift occurred over a welfare Bill proposed by Law and Justice leader and former PM Jaroslaw Kaczynski, which would ban fur farms, restrict use of animals in circuses and limit ritual slaughter practices required by certain religions.

The opposition have attacked the Bill as likely to cost thousands of jobs and United Poland voted against it.

The smaller party is led by Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro, who yesterday said the European Union was waging an “attack on democracy” for questioning the independence of Poland’s judiciary and criticising the Polish government’s declared hostility to gay rights.

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