Friday 28 November 2014

Polish PM wins confidence vote

Published 26/06/2014 | 04:52

Polish prime minister Donald Tusk in the parliament in Warsaw (AP)
Polish prime minister Donald Tusk in the parliament in Warsaw (AP)

A Polish government scandal sparked by leaked recordings of officials' private conversations lost some steam when parliament voted its support for Prime Minister Donald Tusk's team.

The 237-203 vote came hours after Mr Tusk requested the vote of confidence to increase his political support as he tries to contain a crisis that has threatened to topple some of his ministers - and even the entire Cabinet.

Mr Tusk had said that without renewed majority support he would not be able to effectively represent Poland in the European Union, where important structural and personnel decisions are being made this week. Poland wants some high EU positions.

"The government has obtained a strong mandate for its future activity and with this strong mandate Prime Minister Tusk will travel to Brussels tomorrow," said Parliament speaker Ewa Kopacz.

The leading opposition party, Law and Justice, kept up its calls for Mr Tusk to resign despite the vote, and vowed to request a no-confidence vote.

Mr Tusk suggested that foreign interests might have been involved in the eavesdropping on ministers and high officials.

He did not name any country, but said businessmen trading coal and gas from Russia were being investigated.

Wprost magazine has released a number of tapes. In one, foreign minister Radek Sikorski criticised Poland's alliance with the US.

In another, Central Bank head Marek Belka and interior minister Bartlomiej Sienkiewicz discussed how the bank could help the governing party win 2015 re-election - a violation of the bank's independence.

Wprost said it obtained the recordings from a businessman.

Mr Tusk has refused to fire the ministers in the scandal, saying he will not be dictated by people involved in "criminal activity" aimed at destabilising Poland. Polish law allows for up to two years in prison for criminal eavesdropping.

Two restaurant employees and two businessmen have been charged in connection with the case.

The chief editor of Wprost was questioned as a witness and said he handed all secret recordings in his possession over to the prosecutors.

Press Association

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