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Polish Parliament Confirms Government of New Prime Minister

The center-right government of Poland's new prime minister, Donald Tusk, has won a vote of confidence in the lower house of parliament.

Lawmakers voted 238 - 204 with two abstentions Saturday to support the coalition government of Mr. Tusk's pro-business Civic Platform Party and the centrist Polish People's Party. The vote was largely considered a formality - the coalition controls 260 of the 460 seats in the lower house (Sejm).

Mr. Tusk took office earlier this month. He outlined his plans for the new government in a policy speech Friday, saying he wants to bolster the economy and push for adoption of the euro as Poland's currency.

The prime minister also said he plans to follow through on his campaign promises to lower taxes, reduce Poland's deficit and move the country toward adopting the euro as soon as possible.

The confidence vote originally had been expected to take place Friday night, but the session ran late following the prime minister's three-hour policy speech. Political veterans say Mr. Tusk's address was the longest by a Polish prime minister since the fall of communism.

Following the vote Saturday, Mr. Tusk announced that his first trips abroad as prime minister will be to Lithuania Friday, followed by Brussels on December 4.

Mr. Tusk has said he will consult with Poland's neighbors about a proposed U.S. defensive missile base located on Polish territory - a plan that Russia sharply opposes. He also has pledged to withdraw Poland's 900 troops from Iraq next year, but he says Warsaw will keep its 1,200 soldiers in Afghanistan.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.