WARSAW — Poland's Solidarity government survived a tense parliamentary confrontation with ex-Communists on Saturday when Parliament refused to accept its resignation.
The vote strengthened the government of Prime Minister Jan Krzysztof Bielecki and eased a three-day standoff that had threatened Poland with its worst political crisis since the overthrow of communism in 1989.
It removed the prospect of a period of weak government and political instability in the prelude to the country's first fully free postwar parliamentary elections set for Oct. 27.
Bielecki expressed surprise at the broad margin of his victory but said serious issues raised by the confrontation still remain to be settled.
He said the Sejm's (lower house) overwhelming rejection of the government's resignation by a vote of 211 to 114 with 28 abstentions opened up a new political situation.
But the government is still facing a crisis over its real ability to exercise power, and the Cabinet will quickly present proposals to Parliament to make its actions more effective, Bielecki said in a statement.
A government source said the 40-year-old prime minister plans to ask the Sejm for special powers to facilitate its rule but gave no details.
President Lech Walesa, other pro-government politicians and the Solidarity-dominated Senate on Friday called for the government to be given limited powers to issue economic decrees to keep up the momentum of free-market reforms.
Bielecki presented his government's surprise resignation Friday after many deputies criticized its tough, free-market economic policies during a budget debate and indicated they would not approve the large spending cuts it proposed.
The ex-Communists withdrew their motion to dismiss Bielecki after the house rejected his resignation.
Bielecki had charged the Sejm with obstructing his government's ability to act during a time of deepening economic recession, which is causing public unrest in advance of the elections.