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ERR in Poland: New government has few levers for effecting change

Donald Tusk.
Donald Tusk. Source: SCANPIX/AFP PHOTO/Miguel Medina

The legality of forceful steps taken by Poland's new government has been called into question. Analysts believe there are few ways to introduce change amicably.

Even though the elections are over, the political struggle in Poland has not calmed.

The sides have changed places – The Civic Platform's coalition holds the majority in the Sejm, with supporters of Law and Justice, now in the opposition, stoking protest moods in front of the parliament.

"They simply took over the public media with a resolution, not through legislative changes or in accordance with the constitution," protester Wojciech said of the new government's decision to liquidate the public broadcaster as part of a restructuring plan. The Constitutional Tribunal has found the move illegal.

The new government quite simply pulled the plug on the public broadcaster, which had become a mouthpiece for Law and Justice propaganda.

"The question is whether it is okay to correct the previous administration's mistakes using methods which are not always in line with rule of law. That is the main debate in Poland today. It has shaped up to be much more difficult, violent and hostile than we anticipated," journalist for the Wprost newspaper Marcin Makowski said.

People appointed to the governing bodies of the public broadcaster by Law and Justice would not have seen their terms end before 2028. What is more, two such bodies exist. The constitutional original that has not been performing its tasks for a long time and the alternative created by Law and Justice.

"There is virtually no way to restore democracy by honoring all of these unconstitutional institutions. There is no such possibility. It is a labyrinth without an exit. You simply need to declare that you will not be adhering to some of these things because they were not introduced in a constitutional manner," said Anna Wojciuk, professor of political science at Warsaw University.

"They (the new government) are trying to circumvent the law, and it is not nice," Warsaw resident Michael said.

"Everything can be done in another way. But what would be the point of doing things slow? Some things simply need to get done, such as putting convicted people in prison, and that's that. I hope it is a new beginning," Urszula said.

A recent poll puts the government's support rating at 56 percent, while 37 percent of Poles see it negatively.

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Editor: Merili Nael, Marcus Turovski

Source: "Aktuaalne kaamera"

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