PM Tusk easily survives confidence vote

Image : M. Śmiarowski/KPRM

Polish PM Donald Tusk asked Polish parliament for the vote of confidence following the wiretap scandal which included several members of his cabinet. “When I’m in Brussels tomorrow I need to know I have full confidence of this house, so I am proposing to hold a vote of confidence now. … Without this mandate, I will not be effective, the government will not be able to clarify the bugging affair in a satisfactory manner and keep a handle on state interests,” he said during his speech in Sejm. PM Tusk survived the vote with ease, with 237 votes in favor and 203 votes against.

Prime Minister decided to ask for a vote of confidence after the tape scandal rocked Polish political scene in the last couple of weeks. Weekly Wprost, released a number of recordings of private conversation involving several members of the cabinet, including MFA Radosław Sikorski and Interior Minister Bartłomiej Sienkiewicz, CEOs of state-owned companies and other top officials, including NBP head Marek Belka. The conversations, recorded at several Warsaw restaurants were private and featured officials criticizing or making derogatory comments about world leaders, government members and other Polish politicians.

The government has said that the remarks of the officials, who were recorded secretly, were taken out of context, and that they had not broken the law.

During his speech, PM Tusk accused unnamed businessmen involved in illegally selling imported Russian coal of releasing the tapes to hurt the government which was, according to Tusk, cracking down on their activities. “Trading Russian coal on a big scale is in the background to recent events,” Tusk said. “I know that people linked with those who stood behind eavesdropping are involved in businesses toward which the Polish government has recently taken certain steps,” he added.

So far, two people have been charged, both workers of the restaurants where recordings have been made. Prosecution have also detained two other people. Marek F. (full name withheld as a result of Polish privacy laws), majority shareholder in Poland’s biggest coal retailer and Krzysztof R. his brother-in-law. Prosecution suspects that they bought the tapes from the restaurant employees. At press time, no charges have been filed against them.

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