Poland decided in favor of the veto partially in light of the EU’s activation of Article 7 on December 20, 2017. The Polish government is attempting to justify the veto by stating that it is defending itself and thereby affirming its power.
The Law and Justice Party (PiS) has used three consecutive electoral victories in Poland to polarize society around the “gender ideology” issue, leading to the government’s unanimous opposition of every policy proposal that mentions “gender” or “gender equality”.
Bulgaria had its autumn of discontent. The mass protests proclaimed as a crusade against corruption and state capture have failed, while the prospects for reform of the oligarchic model from within are bleak at best. Hence, Bulgarians are looking at a winter of stagnation and political blockage.
The Polish government’s war with both Brussels and a significant part of the Polish population over the rule of law is against Poland’s national interests. On October 26, the European Parliament adopted a resolution criticizing the Polish Constitutional Tribunal’s decision to ban over 95% of legal abortions in Poland.
In democratic societies, elections are determined by the vote of the people. The democratic process in the United States elected President Trump in 2016. Four years later, after all legal votes are counted and verified, the same process may require that he peacefully transfer that power to someone else.
Demonstrations were held not only in Kraków, Katowice, Wrocław, Szczecin, and Gdańsk, but also in smaller cities. On Friday evening, crowds marched again to the house of Kaczyński, then to the house of Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki. According to estimates, no less than 15,000 people took part in this “walk”.
In times when public trust in traditional institutions is in decline in many countries and relations between countries are under strain, open channels of communication and willingness for cooperation across borders are more essential than ever.
Poland’s incumbent president, Andrzej Duda, a nationalist and conservative, topped the first round of the presidential election on June 28 with 43.5%. However, on July 12 he will go up with his liberal challenger, Rafał Trzaskowski, Mayor of Warsaw, who got 30.5% in the first round. Numerous polls suggest that the race is too close to call.