How Democracy Dies (in Poland): A Case Study of Anti-Constitutional Populist Backsliding

A dramatic change occurred in Polish constitutional politics in 2015: a combined presidential and
parliamentary victory of the populist Law and Justice party [PiS] began a series of deep political and
legal changes which turned the constitutional order on its head in many respects.
In this paper, I provide a detailed account of how comprehensive and momentous the legal changes
are, in particular going so far as to dismantle institutional checks on the government (including
paralysis the Constitution al Tribunal, and then conversion of it into an active supporter of the government) and
to erode a number of individual and political rights, such as the right to assembly and privacy.

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The Commission takes a step back in the fight for the Rule of Law

Clearly, the Commission has decided that in view of the crisis of the Rule of Law, only the political pressure of other Member States under the procedure based on Article 7 TEU has the capacity to provide a feasible solution.

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Poland’s government is undermining the rule of law

Last month, the new Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki pushed two bills through parliament that gave his government and his party increased control over Poland’s courts. Just before the laws were signed by Polish President Andrzej Duda on Dec. 20, Morawiecki chose to address the American people and defend this decision in the pages of the Washington Examiner.

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2017 Independence Day March in Warsaw and freedom of assembly in Poland

Expressing opinions opposing the authorities draws repressions. Supporting the authorities ensures impunity. Inequality of treatment becomes a fact

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The President did not start the constitutional debate. An open society has on-going debates

The President doesn’t open the constitutional debate, he narrows it. Women who took the Black Protest to the streets, protesters against the assault on courts – that was the debate

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So called “Good change” in the Polish system of the administration of justice

Rule of law in Poland. State of play in October 2017. Analysis by judge Dariusz Mazur and judge Waldemar Żurek.

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The position of the Board of the Faculty of Law and Administration at the Jagiellonian University of 8 May 2017 regarding the proposed amendments to acts concerning the judiciary

On 8 May 2017, the Board of the Faculty of Law and Administration at the Jagiellonian University expressed its position on the compliance of two draft acts currently undergoing legislative processes with the Constitution of the Republic of Poland.

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Freedom House Report “Nations in Transit” 2017 – Poland’s democracy score declines

The report “Nations in Transit”, published yearly by Freedom House, analyses key factors of democratic rule in post-communist countries in Europe and Central Asia. The report’s 2017 edition shows a clear decline of democracy in Poland. The country was doing worse in the fields of National Democratic Governance, Judicial Framework and Independence, Independent Media, Civil Society and Local Democratic Governance

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Poland: Independence of public service media – report by ARTICLE 19 and Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights

ARTICLE 19 and HFHR find that freedom, independence and pluralism of the media are under severe threat in Poland. The new legislation and administrative actions related to media companies and personnel restrict freedoms and increase or introduce political or executive branch control over National Media Council, media expression and management of media companies. Only international pressure has momentarily slowed down further government capture of independent media.

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2nd European Commission recommendation on the rule of law in Poland

On 21 December 2016, the European Commission decided to issue a second Rule of Law Recommendation. The Commission consideres that whereas some of the issues raised in its last Recommendation of 27 July 2016 have been addressed, important issues remain unresolved, and new concerns have arisen in the meantime

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