Poland's parliament is widely expected to pass a motion on Friday triggering an early election pitting the ruling conservative Kaczynski brothers against the main, pro-business opposition party.
The three biggest parties favor ending parliament's term two years earlier than scheduled after the collapse of the coalition government.
Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski, whose twin brother Lech is the president, wants a clear mandate for traditional social policies and a program to rid the establishment of what he calls a corrupt post-communist elite.
But markets hope for a strong showing by the centre-right Civic Platform, which wants to speed up reforms in central Europe's biggest economy, move more quickly to adopt the euro currency and patch up strained relations with EU partners.
The vote is due at 7 a.m. EDT but could be delayed. Parliament began debating a series of other measures beforehand.
"I believe this is a good day. I hope we will be able to dissolve this parliament," said Grzegorz Schetyna, a senior deputy from the Civic Platform.
No party looks set to win enough parliamentary seats to be able to form a coalition easily, meaning staunchly Catholic Poland could be in for another spell of political turbulence before a new administration is in place.
After trailing for months in opinion polls, the ruling Law and Justice party has started to swing back to favor and came top in a survey earlier this week. But, if Law and Justice wins most seats, it may still have trouble forming a coalition because the Kaczynskis have alienated many potential partners.
A poll published on Friday gave the Civic Platform a 3-point lead and financial markets are betting it will be at the heart of a new government, with its hands on economic posts.
Despite political turbulence, the economy has thrived, growing at its fastest for a decade with gross domestic product rising at about 7 percent a year.
Unexpectedly high revenues mean the budget deficit could be less than half the most recent finance ministry estimate, but economists say they are worried there will be a sudden surge of spending ahead of the election.
The campaign is expected to be bitter. Opposition parties accuse the Kaczynskis of abusing their position to use the state apparatus to spy on opponents and discredit them.
A court said on Thursday that last month's detention of a former interior minister, an outspoken critic of the twins, had no legal justification and one of the judges said there could have been an ulterior motive.
President Lech Kaczynski's term ends in 2010 so even if Law and Justice loses the election, he would be in a position to obstruct the work of the new government by vetoing legislation if he chose.
Last Mod: 07 Eylül 2007, 12:05