PiS’s politics has left Poland looking down the barrel of a health and economic crisis that can result in widespread discontent. Instead of focusing on protecting its citizens, the party is further supplying the country with an additional constitutional crisis.
The restructuring of the state in a latently authoritarian direction is being pushed even further. The government’s worrying trend is particularly evident in the way it is trying to instrumentalize the COVID-19 crisis for the upcoming presidential elections on May 10.
Amid the pandemic outbreak of COVID-19, the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party in Poland shows no intention of postponing the presidential elections scheduled for May 10. The outcome is likely to be deemed illegitimate. Will this be the last straw for Polish democracy?
Coronavirus in Poland still bears the hallmarks of novelty, curiosity, or even a kind of ludic or fun phenomenon. At the same time, in other countries these reactions have already been replaced by completely different emotions.
The year 2020 in Poland is going to be very busy, politically. A presidential election, attempts to change party leaders, or a new political group. From the point of view of the state and citizens, a spectacle awaits us all. From the point of view of party leaders, it’s going to be a fight for survival.
In recent years, the system of disciplinary punishment of judges has also changed. It was made very dependent on the Minister of Justice. It enables disciplinary proceedings against judges and their harassment for disobedience to the authorities and criticism of actions harmful to the rule of law.
All three Polish members of the 4Liberty.eu Network – Civil Development Forum (FOR), Liberté! Foundation, and Projekt: Polska – signed an open letter to the President of Poland Andrzej Duda with an appeal “to protect Polish Constitution and the rule of law which it guarantees”.
On July 26, 2017, Marek Tatala, Vice-President of the Civil Development Forum, spoke at the U.S. Helsinki Commission briefing about democracy in Central & Eastern Europe, which was organized in Washington D.C. In his speech, Tatala emphasized challenges to democracy and rule of law in Poland, including independence of judiciary.
A letter from American senators to PM Beata Szydlo, a visit from the Venice Commission, a debate about the situation in our country in the European Parliament: what else has to happen for the Law and Justice’s government to open their eyes and see what is going on?
One thing is certain: Polish politics will change radically after the October elections. At the moment, a conservative and populist government seems likely. The strategy to secure the postulates of leftist and liberal movements can no longer rely on the “lesser evil” argument. It’s high time for new initiatives.