Poland: Law and Justice Party Should Stop Constitutional Crisis

Washington

In response to recent actions by Poland’s ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party that threaten the constitutional order, Freedom House issued the following statement:

“Since taking office a year ago, PiS has openly targeted Poland’s basic democratic institutions – the media, the Constitutional Tribunal, nongovernmental organizations, and now parliamentary procedures,” said Robert Herman, vice-president for international programs. “These actions amount to a coordinated assault on the rule of law and require a strong response from the international community. The European Union, especially, should ensure that there are consequences when one of its members attacks democratic institutions.”

Background:

In mid-December, PiS pushed through a vote on Poland’s 2017 budget outside the parliament’s main hall while denying entrance to the room to opposition MPs. On December 20 — as a result of a year-long battle that included clearly unconstitutional actions — judges appointed by the PiS gained a majority on the Constitutional Tribunal.

Poland is rated Free in Freedom in the World 2016, Free in Freedom of the Press 2016, and receives a democracy score of 2.32, on a scale of 1 to 7, with 7 being the worst possible score, in Nations in Transit 2016.

Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.

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