Tusk’s second expose fails to impress voters and analysts - report
October 16, 2012
PM Donald Tusk
A public opinion poll carried out by TNS Polska after Prime Minister Donald Tusk's key policy speech delivered on October 12 shows that ruling liberal Civic Platform (PO) was outpaced by the main opposition conservative Law and Justice (PiS) with voter support at 35% for PO and 40% for PiS, which reflects the recent trend of declining approval for Tusk government.
The Democratic Left Alliance (SLD) was supported by 13% and the Palikot Movement by 7%. The junior coalition partner Polish People's Party (PSL) got 2% of votes much below the 5% of the vote required for parliamentary representation.
Tusk’s ”second expose” has drawn much criticism both from the Polish media as well as analysts.
“Poland will impose an excessive influence of the state on the economy as the ideas presented by PM Donald Tusk Friday are tantamount to creating state capitalism”, the daily Rzeczpospolita writes in a critique of the proposals. The changes will likely provide wider opportunities for misuse or waste of public funds, and will spoil the market, the paper adds. The daily added that even some ruling party PO's MPs criticized the speech.
The planned measures are a reversal of ruling party PO's earlier liberal direction and its trust in the market, the paper Polska The Times wrote.
The weekend issue of the daily Gazeta Wyborcza concentrated on what PM Donald Tusk omitted or merely mentioned during his Friday address. The daily stressed that the PM failed to explain how the government is going to fight unemployment.
The government also promised PLN 300 billion from the new EU budget, but the PM did not mention what should be the shape of EU Poland wants to belong to.
The daily lists also culture, in vitro and civil unions as topics that were omitted though are very important to the part of society which supports the governing party.
DM BZ WBK analyst Pawel Puchalski said that the announcement by PM Tusk of the governemnt’s plan to invest some PLN 60 billion in key energy projects by 2020 failed to surprise the markets. PLN 50 billion to be put in shale gas investments by Polish and foreign firms by 2016 is a high amount, but necessary to get things rolling, economists believe. Experts also stressed that the PM failed to mention nuclear power, which means shale gas will be Poland's energy priority.
Citi Handlowy analysts estimated, based on Tusk's declarations, that Poland will spend on average 2.4% of GDP a year on investments. However, the bank's economists said that investments had long been planned and they do not constitute an additional injection into the economy and thus do not affect Citi Handlowy's GDP growth forecasts for Poland. A potential boost to the economy is unlikely to take place in 2013 as the plan for the state bank BGK to borrow money for investments will need time, ING BSK economists added. Experts also pointed to the risk of introducing political influence to investment projects financed by BGK.
Experts also said that the Polish gov’t was right to "finally" notice the demographic problem, but the solutions presented by Tusk, among others extending state-supported maternity leave to one year, are not sufficient. Moreover, the PM failed to give any details on e.g. financing the scheme, they added.