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

    Hope Remains for Rio Olympic Games

    Facing a host of problems, Rio prepares for holding the games but experts say some risks, like Zika, may not be as grave as initially thought

    IS Use of Social Media to Recruit, Radicalize Still a Top Threat to US

    Despite military gains against IS in Iraq and Syria, their internet propaganda still commands an audience; US officials see 'the most complex challenge that the federal government and industry face'

    ‘Time Is Now’ to Save Africa’s Animals From Poachers, Activist Says

    During Zimbabwe visit, African Wildlife Foundation President Kaddu Sebunya says poaching hurts Africa as slave trade once did

    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.
    Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolatei
    X
    July 29, 2016 4:02 PM
    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolate

    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Tesla Opens Battery-Producing Gigafactory

    Two years after starting to produce electric cars, U.S. car maker Tesla Motors has opened the first part of its huge battery manufacturing plant, which will eventually cover more than a square kilometer. Situated close to Reno, Nevada, the so-called Gigafactory will eventually produce more lithium-ion batteries than were made worldwide in 2013. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Polio-affected Afghan Student Fulfilling Her Dreams in America

    Afghanistan is one of only two countries in the world where children still get infected by polio. The other is Pakistan. Mahbooba Akhtarzada who is from Afghanistan, was disabled by polio, but has managed to overcome the obstacles caused by this crippling disease. VOA's Zheela Nasari caught up with Akhtarzada and brings us this report narrated by Bronwyn Benito.
    Video

    Video Hillary Clinton Promises to Build a 'Better Tomorrow'

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton urged voters Thursday not to give in to the politics of fear. She vowed to unite the country and move it forward if elected in November. Clinton formally accepted the Democratic Party's nomination at its national convention in Philadelphia. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more.
    Video

    Video Trump Tones Down Praise for Russia

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is toning down his compliments for Russia and Vladimir Putin as such rhetoric got him in trouble recently. After calling on Russia to find 30.000 missing emails from rival Hillary Clinton, Trump told reporters he doesn't know Putin and never called him a great leader, just one who's better than President Barack Obama. Putin has welcomed Trump's overtures, but, as Zlatica Hoke reports, ordinary Russians say they are not putting much faith in Trump.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora