POLAND’S POLARIZATION

Poland is the biggest success story of post-communist Europe and the leading regional power between an overstretched Germany and a rampant Russia. As Spain and Italy struggle with the effects of the eurozone crisis, and Britain has marginalised itself until its referendum on EU membership, the rest of Europe needs Poland more than ever.
Timothy Garton Ash, The Guardian, 26 Oct., 2015
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The Law and Justice party (PiS) has just won the recent election in Poland, upsetting the party presiding for the past 8 years: the Civic Platform. PiS is conservative in matters of culture, religion, sexual morality, xenophobia, and nationalism. However, the party is almost left-wing in its economic and social promises to the poor of Poland. But will the party be able to keep their populist promises to make generous welfare handouts and reduce the retirement age all while punishing large banks and supermarkets? Will foreign policy be shaped by irresponsible nationalists, or will they recognize that Poland’s real independence depends on maintaining a strong position in Europe? Here are a few thoughts. First, political parties all the way from the center to the left must get their act together in preparation for the next election. Second, the Polish youth who left their homeland should return to aid in the creation of a more politically-modern Poland. Third, every foreign politician and friend of Poland should engage intensively and constructively with the new ruling party. Lastly, the EU must step in and resist the Orbanisation of Poland. Named after Hungarian prime minister Victor Orbán, Orbanisation is abuse by the dominant party which undermines the foundations of liberal constitutional democracy, thereby ensuring that elections are not truly free and fair. If these four conditions are met, Poles may look back from 2020 and realize they are none the worse for wear.

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Law and Justice’s victory should be understood as a continuation of the trends seen across Europe since the crash of 2008. The party is staunchly nationalist and seeks to protect Poland’s interests against the perceived encroachment of European federalism.Stratfor, Oct 26, 2015

Under PiS, which positions itself as a defender of Poland’s Catholic roots, Warsaw is expected to have pricklier relations with the EU and neighbouring Germany: the party strongly opposes tougher climate-change legislation, increased immigration from outside the EU and any warming of relations with Russia.Henry Foy, The Financial Times, Oct 26, 2015

“(Platforma Obywatelska) has reigned for eight years, which only makes people’s case for dissatisfaction with the party stronger. With a secret recording scandal and bribery investigations… it seemed all [the far-right PiS party] needed to sway moderate voters was a bit of rebranding…Danielle Forest, The Krakow Post, Oct 23, 2015
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POLAND’S POLARIZATION

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