Central bank head cleared for 2nd term

Glapinski, an ally of the ruling party Law and Justice (PiS), was supported by 234 MPs in the 460-member lower house and 223 MPs voted against, mainly members of the opposition, while no deputies abstained. Radek Pietruszka/PAP

Adam Glapinski, the governor of the National Bank of Poland (NBP), has been approved by the Sejm, the lower house of parliament, for a second six-year term of office.

Glapinski, an ally of the ruling party Law and Justice (PiS), was on Thursday supported by 234 MPs in the 460-member lower house and 223 MPs voted against, mainly members of the opposition, while no deputies abstained.

Glapinski has been criticised for mismanaging inflation which exceeded the central bank's official target of 2.5 percent plus/minus one percentage point already in April 2021.

The NBP slashed the reference rate to 0.1 percent in the spring of 2020 in reaction to the coronavirus crisis but kept it at the record-low level until November 2021, when inflation seemed to be already out of control, reaching nearly 8 percent.

Just two months before, when inflation data already showed a 5.5 percent reading for August, Glapinski insisted that raising rates at that moment would be "a school mistake".

The latest inflation data for April 2022 show a CPI of 12.3 percent while the reference rate is still far behind it, at 5.25 percent, after a series of hikes.

In late January, President Andrzej Duda, also a PiS ally, moved to nominate Glapinski for a second term of office.

Piotr Cwik, Duda's aide, said the president was satisfied with the positive vote.

"We're hoping for a second term that will be good for Poles," he said.

Sebastian Kaleta, a PiS MP and a deputy justice minister, said "it was a good decision."

"In those difficult times we need stability and many decisions that Governor Glapinski has made in previous years allowed our economy to grow effectively," Kaleta said.

Borys Budka, caucus head of the main opposition group, the centrist Civic Coalition, said "Glapinski's appointment is heaven for bankers and poverty for millions of Poles.

"This man is co-responsible for high prices and inflation and he discredited himself as the NBP governor. But because he knows (Jaroslaw) Kaczynski (leader of PiS - PAP), because he is his pal, he got a second term as a reward," Budka said.

Krzysztof Gawkowski, caucus head of The Left, called Glapinski "the biggest vermin of the Polish economy in the last 20 years."

Gawkowski accused Glapinski of stirring "the biggest inflation in 24 years and exorbitant mortgage payments."

Wladyslaw Kosiniak-Kamysz, leader of the pro-farmer Polish People's Party, said that "if a governor who says that the inflation target is 2.5 percent, and now we have 12.5 percent, was employed in a private company, he would be fired on the spot."

Glapinski became NBP governor in June 2016. His second term will end in 2028.