a sociology professor as prime minister
|Mr Kaczyński didn't succeed in ousting the PM, but he did cause a stir by presenting a speech by his party's candidate, Piotr Gliński, on an iPad|
Only 137 MPs in Poland’s 460-member lower house of parliament, the Sejm, voted to support opposition party Law and Justice’s motion to replace Prime Minister Donald Tusk with Piotr Gliński, a sociology professor. In effect, only Law and Justice MPs supported the motion while MPs from the Democratic Left Alliance and Solidarna Polska abstained, bar one.
Meanwhile members of the socially liberal Palikot’s Movement party left the parliamentary floor before the vote in protest. Their leader, Janusz Palikot, said the party would not take part in a “charade.” “The choice between Tusk and Gliński is no choice at all,” he said.
Before the vote, Law and Justice leader Jarosław Kaczyński raised eyebrows by standing at the podium while holding an iPad on which a video of a speech from Mr Gliński played. Mr Kaczyński said it was the only choice he had left, since the parliament’s presidium had not agreed for the sociology professor, who is not an MP, to address the chamber in person.
The ‘Mount Everest of bad governance’
After that, Mr Kaczyński addressed parliament himself. He criticized Mr Tusk’s government for spending EU funds “irrationally.”
“The government pledged that it would build 3,000 kilometers of highways and expressways before the Euro 2012 soccer championship,” said Mr Kaczyński. “In the end it built 600 [kilometers] and introduced a new term: ‘a drivable but unfinished road.’ ”
He blamed “rigged tenders” for the state of affairs, saying the prime minister had failed to react to the numerous reports of massive corruption in Poland’s highway building process.
“To have a lot of money [from the EU] and still not build the roads, that is the Mount Everest of bad governance,” the Law and Justice leader added.
He also accused Mr Tusk’s government of abandoning Poland’s security by neglecting the army and bungling energy policy.
Poor economic policies
Mr Kaczyński also criticized the government’s economic policy, saying that when Mr Tusk’s Civic Platform took over the reins from the Law and Justice-led government (which ruled from 2005-07), Poland’s economy was in good shape.
“In 2008, when the crisis was not yet in Poland, our budget deficit rose. In 2009 it rose to 7.3 percent of GDP despite an increase in revenues for the government,” said Mr Kaczyński.
“In 2010, the deficit rose to 7.9 percent before dropping to 5.1 percent in 2011,” he added. “But that was because of a 13.2 percent increase in government revenue due to changes in the law.”
He also described the government’s policies as “anti-family and leading to depopulation in Poland,” and lambasted the state of the health care system in Poland. Mr Kaczyński went so far as to question the state of democracy in Poland, saying the government wants to silence its critics and is “expelling critical journalists from public television channels.”
The prime minister responded that Mr Kaczyński and his party’s problem was such that “they do not accept Poland when they don’t win elections.”
“This is the problem of a politician who believes that democracy is respected in a country only when it gives him victory and since that happens very rarely, Law and Justice’s leader permanently questions Poland’s democracy,” said Mr Tusk.
After the no-confidence motion had been defeated, Mr Tusk said, “The voting result showed that ... this was a one-party party, a masquerade.”
“Now we can get back to normal work.”
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