EU “Yes” Vote Kicks Off Political Frenzy


Artykuł pochodzi z pisma "New Warsaw Express"

President Aleksander Kwasniewski did a happy jig when the results of last weekend’s European Union entry referendum were announced on Sunday, but soon changed his tone, announcing a broad effort to ensure Poland will be ready to enter the EU on May 1 next year.
“We have only 11 months and only one path to follow, because there is no room for mistakes or delays,” he told public television after the evening’s celebration.
On Monday and Tuesday Kwasniewski conducted talks with Prime Minister Leszek Miller and leaders of most parliamentary opposition parties. Before then, however, Miller took the political initiative from the president. At a meeting of the Democratic Left Alliance’s (SLD) General Council on Monday morning Miller outlined plans to introduce a flat-rate income tax and said he would move the government’s economic decision-making centre from the Finance Ministry to the Economy Ministry. The latter was a clear blow to Finance Minister Grzegorz Kolodko, who handed in his resignation two days later.
In a move that stunned most pundits, Miller also announced he would ask parliament to pass a vote of confidence for his cabinet, which has reached record lows in opinion polls recently. The Sejm will take up the motion on Friday.
During their talks with the president, a number of opposition leaders, including Donald Tusk from the Civic Platform (PO), encouraged him to come out publicly against the government and ask MPs to reject the confidence vote. Kwasniewski, however, took a milder stance and declared he would allow the parliament to make its own decision on the matter.
The Miller government’s fate now hangs on a thread. It can count on a maximum of 233 votes in the 460-member house. In addition to his own 200 SLD votes, the premier can count on support from his coalition partner, the Union of Labour, a number of independent and German Minority MPs. Most opposition parties have declared their intention to vote against the motion, but everything depends on the voting discipline on both sides. To Miller’s disadvantage, leading SLD MP Izabella Sierakowska told Radio Zet on Tuesday that she would abstain from voting on Friday, claiming a difference of opinion with her colleagues. If other SLD MPs follow her lead, Poland could be in for early elections this summer.
Simon Cygielski

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