Polish government faces second confidence vote over bugging scandal
July 11, 2014
PM Donald Tusk, Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski and Internal Affairs Minister Bartlomiej Sienkiewicz
Polish MPs will vote on the motions for a constructive vote of no-confidence against the government and for the dismissal of Internal Affairs Minister Bartlomiej Sienkiewicz on Friday, following the tape scandal.
At issue is Poland's wire-tapping affair which has in recent weeks dominated the political discourse. Illegal recordings, obtained and published by Wprost weekly magazine, include conversations between Poland's top government & non-government officials and businesspeople.
In the most controversial recording so far released, central bank president Marek Belka and Internal Affairs Minister Bartlomiej Sienkiewicz discussed potential terms for the central bank help the government finance the budget if the economy didn't appear on track to pick up in time to keep opposition party PiS from an election victory.
The no confidence motions were put forward in parliament by the main opposition conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party calling on the government to step down.
While the former motion is sure to fail, likely supported only by the right-wing opposition parties, the latter will require the governing coalition to close ranks in the face of entire parliamentary opposition united in an effort to sack the embattled minister.
PM Donald Tusk, leader of the ruling Civic Platform (PO) party, faced his rival Jaroslaw Kaczynski, leader of PiS, during a parliamentary debate on a vote of no-confidence against the government on Wednesday in the first direct clash after the wire-tapping scandal outbreak. Kaczynski, who spoke first, presented a scolding review of the ruling coalition's seven years in power, category by category, criticizing both internal and foreign policy. PiS leader focused mostly on social issues in his criticism of Tusk's government. He criticized bad allocation of funds on healthcare and the government's housing policy, complained about future pensions amounting to just 32% of the last salary, and noted that 1.8 million Poles were welfare beneficiaries. Kaczynski's criticism also touched upon "stagnant" economic growth in Poland, poor farming policy and lack of necessary vocational reforms in the education system.
Tusk addressed each of the charges, accusing Kaczynski of lies and lust for power, while also calling him a coward for supporting a "technical" PM candidate instead of showing readiness to take the responsibility himself. He also reminded his rival corruption and wire-tapping scandals during PiS's term in government.
Polish PM Donald Tusk had already secured a vote of confidence he called himself on June 25.
Left-wing opposition parties Democratic Left Alliance (SLD) and Your Movement are planning further motions for the vote of no-confidence against Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski and their own constructive vote of no-confidence against the government.