WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Poland's new prime minister, Marek Belka, who had urged patience for free-market reforms and his country's mission in Iraq, lost a parliamentary confidence vote Friday.

The lower house voted 262-188 against Belka, who was appointed prime minister May 2 after his unpopular predecessor, Leszek Miller, stepped down. There were no abstentions, but 10 lawmakers were absent.

The result raised the prospect of a political vacuum in Poland, the largest of the former Eastern bloc countries that joined the European Union on May 1. But observers said Poland's involvement in Iraq, where it leads a multinational force including about 2,400 of its own troops, was unlikely to change.

"It shouldn't affect Poland's presence in Iraq, because all the central parties favor the Polish presence there," said Michal Czaplicki, a political analyst with the Institute of Public Affairs.

President Aleksander Kwasniewski also has pledged to stay the course in Iraq.

Belka, who had asked lawmakers for a "one-year contract" to carry out his agenda, was expected to remain in power in a caretaker capacity.

Parliament now has two weeks to select and vote on a candidate. If that fails, Kwasniewski, who appointed Belka, has a final chance to present a candidate before he is required to dissolve parliament and call early elections.