Polish opposition party says to vote for gov't pension reform
* Leader of SLD party says to back pension legislation
* His support should ensure enough votes for adoption
* Government's own majority in parliament is fragile
By Karolina Slowikowska and Christian Lowe
WARSAW, Sept 13 (Reuters) - Poland's SLD opposition party will vote for the government's hotly-contested pension reform when it comes before parliament, the party's leader said, ensuring it is adopted even if the government cannot muster a majority on its own.
Prime Minister Donald Tusk's majority is down to 232 seats out of the 460 in parliament after three lawmakers quit his party, and some members of parliament still in the party could abstain from the pension vote or even vote against.
However, the support of the left-wing SLD, which has 25 members of parliament, means the measure will get through unless there is a massive revolt by government supporters.
"I believe that Tusk's proposal to give people a choice when it comes to their pension savings is fair, and when a bill is prepared, we will support it," SLD leader Leszek Miller told Reuters in an interview.
Tusk plans to transfer a big chunk of the assets held by private pension funds, known by the Polish acronym OFE, into a state vehicle. It also wants to scrap a requirement for savers to pay contributions into the private funds.
By shifting the assets onto the state's balance sheet, the measure will push down public debt and let the government increase spending, helpful at a time when economic growth is slow and the popularity of Tusk's party is flagging.
The risk is that it will make it harder for Polish companies to find investors. The private pension funds are big players in the Warsaw stock-market, but after the reform their capacity for buying shares will be reduced.
A pension reform bill is likely to be put before parliament in the next month or two.
It will be the biggest test of Tusk's ability to get important measures through parliament since the defections from his party. If parliament rejects it, that could bring down the government and force an early election.
Of the other opposition parties in parliament, the conservative Law and Justice, with 137 seats, has not yet decided how it will vote on the reform, Beata Szydlo, the party's deputy chairwoman, told Reuters.
The ultra-liberal Palikot Movement, which has 36 members of parliament, said it would vote against.
"This is a robbery of people's money... We will be deeply against a nationalisation of people's savings," Andrzej Rozenek, a senior Palikot lawmaker, told Reuters. (Additional reporting by Pawel Sobczak and Pawel Florkiewicz; editing by Ralph Boulton)
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