Through its solidarity movement, Poland was at the forefront of the collapse of communism by the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) in most of Eastern Europe. The country has remained steadfast in building its democracy but may be witnessing a democratic reversal considering increasing attempts by its populist government to flout the constitution. Populism in Poland is becoming a threat to the country’s democracy. An article in Democracy Digest has argued that it is time to place pressure on Poland to redress this situation and respect the rule of law, contending that there may be dire consequences for the country’s democracy if this is not done.
Dozens of former Polish ambassadors are warning that Poland’s democracy is at risk and urging the U.S. to pressure the country’s populist government during a coming visit to respect human rights and stop flouting the constitution. President Trump’s forthcoming visit follows recent revelations the justice ministry encouraged an online hate campaign against judges who have been critical of the government, AP reports:
It also comes as the ruling party, Law and Justice, and the country’s powerful Catholic church have been depicting gays and lesbians as threats to Polish society and to families. That appears to be a campaign ploy ahead of parliamentary elections on Oct. 13 to appeal to the conservative heartland in a country where many people cling to their traditional Catholic values, and feel that they are under attack from EU membership and liberal Western mores.
“The division of powers is being dismantled and the independent judiciary is being destroyed. Human rights are curtailed, and the growing repression of political opponents and various minorities, be they ethnic, religious or sexual, is not only tolerated by the government, but even inspired by it,” they write. “Your powerful voice calling for tolerance and mutual respect, as well as compliance with the provisions of the Constitution and other laws, may have historical significance.”
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