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MPs debate new PM Tusk's plans for government

12.12.2023 16:00
Polish lawmakers have discussed the policy plans of the country's new Prime Minister Donald Tusk, offering a mixture of support and criticism of his proposals.
Photo:PAP/Paweł Supernak

MPs held the debate on Tuesday afternoon, following Tusk's policy speech, Polish state news agency PAP reported.

Tusk laid out his government plans after MPs chose him as the country's new head of government on Monday night, Polish state news agency PAP reported.

In his address, the new prime minister had vowed to ensure Poland regains its "rightful position" in the European Union, and he also promised to raise public sector pay and to maintain support for Ukraine's defence against Russia's invasion.

Conservative politician Mariusz Błaszczak told parliament that Tusk's speech "lacked policy specifics" and announced that his Law and Justice (PiS) party, which previously governed Poland for eight years, would vote against giving Tusk's new Cabinet a vote of confidence.

Błaszczak, a former defence minister, argued that Poland's new pro-European coalition government was "engulfed in chaos" and "driven by a desire to seek revenge," the PAP news agency reported.

Meanwhile, Patryk Jaskulski from the Civic Coalition said that Tusk's government represented a "hope for normalcy in a Poland that is democratic and open towards its citizens."

He noted that the new parliament had passed a citizens' bill on state funding for in vitro fertilisation, reversing a policy by the previous conservative majority, the PAP news agency reported.

Władysław Kosiniak-Kamysz of the centre-right Third Way alliance, who is set to be Tusk's deputy and defence minister, told parliament that the new governing coalition would be a "coalition of values and concrete policies."

Krzysztof Bosak of the far-right Confederation party predicted that Tusk's Cabinet would approve the abolition of the principle of consensus in EU decision-making, "thus allowing Poland to lose sovereignty," and vowed that his group would vote against the new government, private broadcaster Polsat News reported.

After the debate, at around 2 p.m., Tusk set out to answer MPs' questions, with 254 lawmakers registering to query the new prime minister, according to news outlets.

This meant that the vote of confidence in Tusk's Cabinet had to be postponed from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the earliest, Polsat News reported.

Tusk returns as Poland's PM

Tusk returns to his role as prime minister after a hiatus of nine years, backed by a coalition of pro-European opposition parties that won Poland's parliamentary election in October.

His election by MPs ended eight years of rule by the right-wing Law and Justice (PiS) party.

President Andrzej Duda met with Tusk on Monday night and declared he would swear in the new Cabinet at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, according to an aide.

The new prime minister could then represent Poland at a crucial EU summit starting in Brussels the next day.

Last Friday, Tusk said the summit would make decisions "of great importance to Poland's interests."

EU leaders are expected to discuss the war in Ukraine and protest by Polish haulers at the border with Ukraine, among other topics.

Tusk was Poland's prime minister from 2007 to 2014 before becoming president of the European Council, a role he held until 2019.


Source: PAPPolsat News