Poland’s Law and Justice party won the October’s parliamentary election with over 39% of the vote. The result allowed the conservative party to rule alone and they’ve used it quickly to perform several controversial actions, that some people even called “Putinist”.
The new media law is strongly criticized by the opposition. They claim it will destroy media’s independence and it will allow the government to influence on polish public radio and television. The president office claims that he signed to make polish media “impartial, objective and reliable” but no one actually believes that. Most people think this law is harmful and shouldn’t appear in a modern country, and it’s really hard to prove them wrong. Especially when we take all the latest events into consideration.
First of all, right after the new right-wing government took over, they pardoned Mariusz Kaminski, the notorious head of the security services who was appealing a three-year sentence for abuse of his office while Law and Justice were in power back in 2007. Next, Law and Justice halted a play in a Wroclaw Theater because it was “pornographic” and inappropriate. That was a sign of censorship for some people, but the biggest affair is yet to come. Just two weeks after the election, the winning party have entered a battle with the Constitutional Court. That was something that made many people think that the democracy in Poland is dying. Thousands of people took to the streets in order to protect it. This whole “Constitutional Court” perturbation is still going on for the constitution, and what is more important, that Poland’s democracy clearly won’t be harmed in any way. Despite this, all over Europe, people have started to think that Poland might follow the “illiberal democracy” path set by Hungary.
Europe is beginning to think that Poland won’t be as cooperative as before, and to a certain extent that’s true. For example, unlike the previous government, the new one is absolutely against pouring more refugees into the country. To be honest, this is the will of nation, because, according to a survey over 56% of people polled don’t want to have refugees in the country. Though it is not something that the European Union would like to hear, using words like “Putinisation” to further their point, it’s pretty clear that Poland won’t be cooperative in this matter.
Last but not least, the Polish military police have raided a NATO-owned building in Warsaw about a month ago. I know it sounds like something from a movie but it couldn’t be more true. The Polish military police have raided the NATO-affiliated counterintelligence centre in Warsaw, and this whole action took place in the middle of the night. New polish Defense Minister, Antoni Macierewicz, entered a building using a duplicate key. The staff of the building called a center director, Krzysztof Dusza, but he was prevented from entering the facility. Former polish defense minister, Tomasz Siemoniak, made the following comment: “Nothing like this has happened in the history of NATO, that a member state attacks it’s own NATO facility.” This was one of the strangest actions of Polish police for many years and it’s no wonder it was strongly criticized by many people around the world.
To sum it up, there is a lot going on in Polish politics lately. I think many comments describing Poland as a “new Hungary” or talking about a Polish “Putinisation” are ridiculous overstatements. This is still a quickly developing, modern country and it will continue to grow strong in full cooperation with Europe, and with the full respect of it’s democracy.