Civil Development Forum (FOR) presents the third report on the crisis of the rule of law in Poland. This part deals with the rule of law and the functioning of the legal system during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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”.
Polish laws on abortion are the strictest in Europe. The government refuses the right to safe abortion to people with wombs, allowing for abortion tourism and self-induced miscarriage. This wasn’t enough for religious fundamentalists in the Polish parliament.
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.
The crisis of the rule of law in Poland endangers the proper functioning of the international organizations Poland belongs to. That risk depends directly on the level and scope of integration and the importance of mutual commitments.
It is not the first time that November 11th – Poland’s Independence Day to commemorate the restoration of its sovereign state in 1918 after 123 years of occupation by the German, Austrian-Hungry and Russian empires – had been hijacked by far-right groups wreaking havoc in the streets.
After the PiS government declared it is going to “repolonize” media, the US and German ambassadors to Poland, respectively Georgette Mosbacher and Arndt Freytag von Loringhoven, have met to discuss the freedom of press.
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 the midst of a pandemic, an unstable situation beyond our eastern border, disastrous relations with the EU countries, and uncertainty about the future of Poland’s key military ally, i.e. the United States, power focused on factional wars is a scenario that Poland simply cannot afford.