Prof. Zoll: The May elections will not be a celebration of democracy, but its burial. The State Electoral Commission should resign


Everything you need to know about the rule of law in Poland


The former chairperson of the State Electoral Commission (PKW), Professor Andrzej Zoll fiercely criticised the aim of the ruling camp to hold the presidential elections by post. He stated that the PKW should tender its resignation, while the situation today is worse than during the times of the People’s Republic of Poland.

The text appeared in Polish in, 22 April.


The former Commissioner for Human Rights, former chairperson of the Constitutional Tribunal and former head of the State Electoral Commission, Professor Andrzej Zoll, was Radio ZET’s guest. When asked how he would vote in the forthcoming presidential elections, he said that these will not be elections, but voting.


“Elections take place if they are in compliance with the constitution, whereas what is being prepared for May has nothing in common with the constitution. The Polish constitution requires that this is the period from the announcement of the date of the elections until the elections are actually held. In other words, the whole of the electoral process must be strictly defined and must not be changed during this time. However, in our case, during these few months, we had several changes in the provisions of the electoral code. Changes which were, after all, conducted in a manner that violates the legislative process,” said Prof. Andrzej Zoll.


The former head of the PKW stated that holding elections exclusively by post is “absolutely on conflict with the constitution”.


“I have to say, perhaps quite brutally, that I don’t want anything to do with such a farce. And I shall certainly not go to vote now in accordance with such a system that the authority has prepared for us here,” said Prof. Zoll.


Prof. Zoll in favour of introducing a state of natural disaster


The former head of the PKW emphasised that there is a way of postponing the elections. That is to introduce a state of natural disaster. Prof. Zoll emphasised that, although this is not formally such a state, civic rights have been so restricted as if such a condition were in force.


“All these restrictions are being introduced by regulations whereas these are, after all very drastic restrictions; they are depriving us of certain fundamental rights. And this can be done, the constitution allows for it, but only if a state of natural disaster or other emergency has been introduced,” said Prof. Zoll.


Prof. Zoll: The May elections will not be a celebration of democracy, but its burial.


Prof. Zoll said that, although we are being told that the elections are a celebration of democracy, presidential elections organised in the way in which they are currently being organised will be the burial of democracy. He stated that the PKW has been deprived of its powers, while the elections are to be supervised by the executive authority, which is clearly associated with one party.


“This is absolutely inadmissible in a democratic state, in the system we had built. Even from the formal point of view – I’m not talking about a substantive solution – but from the formal point of view, this is much worse than it was in the times of the People’s Republic of Poland, because in those times, there was no situation that the State Electoral Commission did not have control over the whole course of the election process,” said Prof. Zoll.


The former head of the PKW also stated that the State Electoral Commission has become a “square peg in around hole” and should tender its resignation. In his opinion, the elections could be rigged.


“Matters have been turned upside down. This is being done to achieve a certain election result. They are to be won by a specific person, more precisely President Duda, who is currently in office. The elections are being conducted for him,” said prof. Zoll.


Presidential elections 2020


Let us reiterate that the 2020 presidential elections are scheduled for 10 May. Although the opposition and many experts are calling for them to be postponed, the United Right [Zjednoczona Prawica] government is striving for the elections to take place this spring, but by post. Preparations for voting are in full swing, although the Act on the presidential elections has not yet been passed. The Senate has until May 6 to handle them. The Sejm will probably outvote it on 7 May, which is three days before the planned elections.


Translated by Roman Wojtasz


Everything you need to know about the rule of law in Poland



April 23, 2020


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