Tusk’s government wins vote of confidence after announcing massive investment program
October 15, 2012
PM Donald Tusk
The government headed by PM Donald Tusk secured a vote of confidence in the Parliament on Friday, after a whole-day debate following Tusk's second policy speech setting out key tasks for the remainder of the term of office.
Of the 452 present MPs, 233 voted for, 219 voted against and no one abstained from vote.
PM Tusk called for the vote of confidence to bolster a mandate for a new economic program which he said is needed for what could be a rough 2013. "Nothing suggests that 2013 will be easier," Tusk said opening the policy speech billed as his "second inaugural. "So let the matter be clear and legible for all: What I have to present today requires a parliamentary majority."
Tusk's one-hour policy speech included talk of hundreds of billions in investment spending across the spectrum of infrastructure, energy and fuels plus select spending on childcare and families, albeit all with a vow that Poland's fiscal targets are inviolate.
Poland will create financing for both public and private investments outside its public finance sector, capitalizing and leveraging a special purpose vehicle to be managed by state bank BGK. Shares in state firms will be handed over to create PLN 40 billion in financing capacity to 2015 and a total of PLN 90 billion to 2018.
On labor policy, Tusk vowed to keep the labor code employer-friendly to minimize job losses going forward. The PM specifically rejected calls to eliminate or cut back on so-called 'junk contracts' - civil contracts for specified tasks which escape select social security costs.
Admitting that the government's popularity has suffered during the first year of its second term, Tusk offered select new spending on family policy.
Parental leave will be extended to include the possibility of a full-year's leave at 80% benefits from the current six-month at 100% pay level, Tusk said. Poland will offer bits of new spending to ensure more day-care and pre-school locations to ensure that "in 2015 the problem of childcare in Poland will be definitively solved." A housing program is in the works.
The policy speech comes at the one-year anniversary of the government's swearing in for a second term and as poll figures show the gap to the main opposition conservative Law and Justice (PiS) closing quickly. After a week in which PiS organized a well followed public debate on economic policy and presented its academic candidate for Prime Minister, a few polls even put PiS in the lead amongst potential voters.
PiS has said that it will plow forward with its own constructive vote of no-confidence, irrespective of the result of today's vote. The hurdle for PiS is higher: it must secure an absolute majority of 231 votes and the sympathy of the left-wing opposition and a rightist splinter party Solidary Poland which is sporting a PM candidate of its own.