Poland's new government led by Prime Minister Donald Tusk won a parliamentary vote of confidence on Saturday after he vowed to push through tough reforms to shield the economy from the euro zone crisis.
In the 460-member lower chamber, the Sejm, 234 deputies backed the two-party coalition -- comprising Tusk's centre-right Civic Platform and the small agrarian Peasants' Party -- and 211 voted against. Two abstained and others were absent.
Ahead of the vote, Tusk said his reform programme, which includes hiking the retirement age and eliminating many tax and pension privileges, would yield some 10 billion zlotys (1 billion pounds) in annual savings from 2013.
Nearly all of the opposition leaders, even if they would not vote for the government, have said they were ready to work together on some of my proposals, Tusk told the parliament.
I didn't propose anything that would buy easy popularity. I put forward very hard and difficult tasks. This is a very good sign for the public and international opinion, he added.
Presenting his plans to parliament on Friday, Tusk said the government would gradually raise the retirement age to 67 years from the current 65 for men and 60 for women and phase out special pension arrangements for various occupational groups including farmers, miners, policemen, firemen and priests.
Ahead of the Saturday vote, Tusk defended a plan to implement a mining tax expected to raise about 2 billion zlotys annually after shares in state controlled copper miner KGHM shed as much as 14 percent on the news.
The drop pushed Warsaw's main stock index 2.3 percent lower on Friday, although the Polish zloty firmed as investors welcomed the new belt-tightening measures.
Markets will now await the reaction of rating agencies, which had said they could raise Poland's rating if the new government shows a strong commitment to serious fiscal reforms.
The new programme aims to reduce the budget deficit to below 3 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) next year from an expected 5.6 percent in 2011. Tusk said the government targets a deficit of 1 percent of GDP by the end of his four-year term.
(Reporting by Pawel Sobczak; Writing by Chris Borowski; Editing by Gareth Jones and Sophie Hares)