When two years ago I said in an interview that the Law and Justice party (PiS) was a threat to democracy, many journalists took the position of symmetrists and, in a mockery tone, asked me whether in my opinion democracy was coming to an end. I replied at the time that it was not the case that democracy will end in one day, and instead tried to explain that it is a process that the Law and Justice party had just begun.
But today, I have some very bad news. Yes, this is the end of democracy in Poland. Yesterday (parliamentary elections 2015), the votes of Poles began this process, today it is in the middle, and tomorrow (parliamentary elections 2019), it may end with the death of the free Republic of Poland as we know it.
If We Lose, We Win Anyway
Such a point of view is often expressed (mostly behind the closed doors) by the Law and Justice politicians in Szczecin, by the most faithful soldiers of the successor to the throne, Jarosław Kaczyński, namely Joachim Brudziński. Can the Law and Justice party falsify the elections?
This may be the case, and as the opposition we must now answer the most important questions about the future of democracy in Poland, Poland’s presence in the EU, the free functioning of opposition parties, and the real existence of the tri-partite division of power.
Fraud will not take place at electoral ballot boxes. There is too much risk of falling into disrepute. The worldview of Law and Justice politicians is losing on popularity aborad and thus it is ever more important for the govenment to maintain at least the appearances of a democracy.
If PiS wanted to commit fraud, they would simply change the final results of the election in the protocols in the District Election Commissions. I often hear from my colleagues on the opposition benches that it is impossible, that it would be too difficult.
I heard the same thing when the Law and Justice party prepared the introduction of its people to the Constitutional Tribunal and the National Court Register, when it ordered the repetition of the lost vote in committees, when it gave its members unsubstantiated bonuses and when (contrary to political logic and law) it shortened the terms of office of the Supreme Court judges, the length of which is enshrined directly in the Constitution.
If we are deluding ourselves into believing that the opposition’s idea of stopping Law and Justice from electoral fraud by a means of an unlikely divine intervention is feasible, we must be aware of the fact that the teachings of Pope Francis are not welcome in Poland. I would therefore like to remind us that the Evangel is to go before the Constitution, and not the other way round, as Archbishop Wacław Depo said a few weeks ago during his homily.
None of the prominent hierarchs of the Church denied his words. And so the Law and Justice party received additional support and a kind of alibi from the Church to continue their wrongdoings.
Let Hungary Be a Warning
In the April parliamentary elections in Hungary, the electoral coalition Fidesz -KDNP won almost 50% of votes, which translated into 133 seats in the 199-person parliament and gave PM Orban the constitutional majority of two thirds of the votes.
What followed in Hungary was shutting down or taking over private media and amending the law on parliamentary elections so as to maximize the chances the Hungarian government – much like what the Law and Justice party did at the expense of the antagonized and still dispersed opposition.
Dismantling public institutions, which had the potential to prevent Law and Justice demonstrators from legalizing fraudulent elections seems, however, not possible, right? Well, it did happen in Constitutional Court and the National Council of the Judiciary and it is currently happening in the Supreme Court.
Together against Law and Justice (Even with the Razem Party)
The example of Hungary shows all too clearly that consolidation gives politics a synergy effect that turns into an electoral success. I am a dogmatic opponent of the Trotsky-Marxist demands of the Razem (Together) party , with their flagship projects advocating the introduction of a 75% tax for Poles earning over PLN 500,000.
The Razem party wants Poland to remain a member of the EU, to maintain the division of powers, to make the Constitution the most important legal act in the Republic of Poland, and to make the Catholic Church dominant in the sphere of sacrum, leaving the secular matters of the state to politicians and politics.
It is a good idea to fight together with other opposition parties for the power to be taken away from the hands of PiS.
Citizens’ Coalition with Biedroń, Zandberg, and Czarzasty
The fact that Grzegorz Schetyna (the leader of Civic Platform), Katarzyna Lubnauer (the leader of the Nowoczesna party), and Władysław Kosiniak-Kamysz (the leader of the Polish Peasant’s Party) will reach an electoral agreement before the parliamentary elections is probably already obvious to any political observer, but it is not enough.
Winning these elections and preventing the attempts at fraud of the likes of Joachim Brudziński and Zbigniew Ziobro will recquire a mobilization of the entire opposition.
Full consolidation, contrary to many internal programme contradictions, and a clear message to Poles that Law and Justice is an evil that must be overcome over the mutual animosities and ambitions of leaders, are a must.
The left is very much needed in Poland. A modern left, such as Labor Party, is even more crucial. Creating it with Włodzimierz Czarzasty (Democratic Left Alliance) and Roberta Biedroń (Twój Ruch), inviting also Adrian Zandberg and Barbara Nowacka is necessary. This is not the time for small-mindedness.
If you think that by receiving 20% of vote in combination with even 30% result of Civic Coalition (Koalicja Obywatelska) we would combat the Law and Justice party, then that is not likely the case.
The PiS would then simply falsify the elections by telling voters and the world that it was they who won and that our support was just a premature manipulation on the opposition’s exit poll results. If we achieve together, as one list, 50% of the voters’ support, we will win. They will not dare to claim otherwise.
Freedom Often Ends
There are few nations in the world that have been slaughtered as a result of such betrayals as the Targowica Confederation or decisions made by their allies, such as those at the Yalta Conference, who surrendered their partners to the clutches of their enemies. But we, Poles, have already experienced it and we already know how and why it is happening.
Today, we still have a chance to decide about our own destiny and, while this sounds pompous, we as a nation must rise to the challenge of defending our rights and liberties.
We must realize that it is the wisdom and size of today’s and tomorrow’s opposition parties that will determine whether we will be able to do so. Freedom is a right to be different. If we lose, our differences will no longer be significant, because there will be no freedom that could allow us to differ.