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Parliament rejects no-confidence motion against defence minister

Poland's Defense Minister Accused

The Polish parliament on Wednesday rejected a motion to hold a vote of no confidence against Defence Minister Antoni Macierewicz put forward by the opposition Civic Platform (PO) party.

A total of 190 MPs voted in favour of the motion, with 238 voting against. The latter included 230 of the 234 PiS deputies who hold a majority in parliament. The other four PiS MPs did not vote.

In the motion, MPs from the opposition Civic Platform accused Macierewicz of “destroying the potential of the army’s soldiers, slowing down the process of equipping the armed forces with modern weapons and equipment, as well as forcing through the malicious concept known as the Territorial Defence Forces.”

Macierewicz has served as defence minister since the conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party won the 2015 general election and has often come under fire from the opposition.

Prime Minister Beata Szydło defended Macierewicz’s record, saying he was “rebuilding that which was ruined” by the previous coalition government led by the PO, which ruled for eight years.

Former defence minister and PO MP Tomasz Siemoniak said on Wednesday: “It is the ruling party which would like Antoni Macierewicz to be dismissed, and many opposition politicians would enjoy the fact that someone who provides so many scandals continues serving as defence minister for as long as possible.”

Under Macierewicz, Poland announced that talks had ended with France’s Airbus Helicopters for 50 Caracal aircraft. It also introduced new Territorial Defence Force military units.

Meanwhile, Polish media reported that there has been an exodus of high-ranking army officials. All those moves drew criticism from the opposition.

Macierewicz has said that the wave of resignations in the country’s armed forces was eclipsed by that seen during the previous government.

Szydło said on Wednesday that Macierewicz was “making changes that restore Polish military strength and Poland’s security.”

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