News / Europe

Polish PM Seeks Confidence Vote After Tape Scandal

Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk, left, and Deputy Prime Minister Janusz Piechocinski listen to lawmakers in the parliament in Warsaw, Poland, June 25, 2014.
Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk, left, and Deputy Prime Minister Janusz Piechocinski listen to lawmakers in the parliament in Warsaw, Poland, June 25, 2014.
VOA News

Prime Minister Donald Tusk said on Wednesday he would seek a confidence vote from parliament after secret recordings of senior officials plunged Poland into its worst political crisis for years.

The opposition immediately called on Tusk to resign, but he has refused.

“I'm ending my statement with a motion to the parliament speaker to conduct the confidence vote as soon as possible,” Tusk told parliament, over a week after Polish news magazine Wprost started publishing the tapes.

With 235 seats in the 460-member parliament, Tusk's two-party governing coalition -- the Civic Platform (PO) and junior partner Poland's Peasants Party (PSL) -- is likely to survive the vote.

The vote may take place later on Wednesday.

Options for Tusk

Earlier this week Tusk said he would not be forced by the illegal surveillance into changing his cabinet.

“There are two possibilities. One is election ... but between elections there's (the question of) a parliamentary majority,” Tusk told members of parliament on Wednesday.

Dissolving parliament, the trigger for an early election, requires two-thirds of the votes in parliament, but no bloc controls that many seats.

“Starting tomorrow in Brussels I need to be certain that I'm holding a majority,” Tusk said. “Without this mandate I will not be effective.”

The Polish premier will go to Brussels to attend the first European Council meeting after European Union elections on Thursday and Friday. Poland hopes to secure more say in the new EU structures.

Tapes, transcripts

Wprost first dropped a bomb when it released a secret recording of the central bank chief purportedly telling the interior minister he would support the government's economic policy if the then finance minister resigned.

The weekly has since released transcripts of other juicy exchanges, including one in which Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski allegedly calls Poland's U.S. ties "worthless" and blasts British Prime Minister David Cameron as "incompetent on EU affairs."

The private conversations allegedly took place at chic Warsaw restaurants over the past 18 months.

In his speech, Tusk reiterated that he believed a criminal group was behind the recordings, aiming to undermine Poland's position and influence its commodity and energy markets.

He linked the eavesdropping to Poland's role over neighboring Ukraine, where it fiercely opposes Russian intervention, and to Warsaw's growing weight inside the EU.

“The background is wide and concerns several occurrences that you could observe recently,” Tusk said. “They relate to people who acted in the sphere of gas links between Poland and Russia.”

“There's an element concerning the coal trade from the east,” he added. “The association seems obvious ... the situation in Ukraine and Europe is part of that.”

Two charged

Polish prosecutors said on Wednesday they had charged two people, a restaurant manager and a waiter, with illegally recording conversations and were questioning two more.

Analysts welcomed Tusk's comments on Wednesday.

“I think that the prime minister's decision is good, because the market was worried over the possibility of an early election,” BZ WBK's senior economist Piotr Bielski said.

“If the prime minister gets a vote of confidence, all speculation will be stopped. Our assets, zloty and debt, would positively react.”

Some information for this report provided by Reuters and AFP.

You May Like

US Imposes Sanctions on Alleged Honduran Drug Gang

Treasury department alleges Los Valles group is responsible for smuggling tens of thousands of kilograms of cocaine into US each month More

At 91, Marvel Creator Stan Lee Continues to Expand his Universe

Company's chief emeritus hopes to interest new generation of children in superheroes of all shapes and sizes by publishing content across multiple media platforms More

Photogallery New Drug Protects Against Virus in Ebola Family

Study by researchers at University of Texas Medical Branch, Tekmira Pharmaceuticals is first looking at drug's effectiveness after onset of symptoms More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebolai
X
George Putic
August 20, 2014 8:57 PM
While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ferguson Calls For Justice as Anger, Violence Grips Community

Violence, anger and frustration continue to grip the small St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Protests broke out after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager on August 9. The case has sparked outrage around the nation and prompted the White House to send U.S. Attorney Eric Holder to the small community of just over 20,000 people. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas has more from Ferguson.
Video

Video Beheading Of US Journalist Breeds Outrage

U.S. and British authorities have launched an investigation into an Islamic State video showing the beheading of kidnapped American journalist James Foley by a militant with a British accent. The extremist group, which posted the video on the Internet Tuesday, said the murder was revenge for U.S. airstrikes on militant positions in Iraq - and has threatened to execute another American journalist it is holding. Henry Ridgwell has more from London.
Video

Video Family Robots - The Next Big Thing?

Robots that can help us with daily chores like cooking and cleaning are a long way off, but automatons that serve as family companions may be much closer. Researchers in the United States, France, Japan and other countries are racing to build robots that can entertain and perform some simpler tasks for us. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.

AppleAndroid