Poland stepped back from the edge yet

One of the assistants Jaroslaw Kaczynski in the ruling party, which he controls, stopped his relentless attack on democracy in Poland. To everyone’s surprise, the devotee Kaczynski President Andrzej Duda, a former ordinary member of the party “law and justice”, vetoed two bills that would put an end to the independence of the judiciary and undermined the rule of law. Good news, but it’s not the end of the story.

After two weeks of mass demonstrations and comprehensive consultations with scholars, historians, philosophers and other President Duda stated that although Poland and in need of judicial reforms, it must be a “wise” changes, not proposals that would allow the ruling party to appoint all judges. According to him, the decision was particularly affected by one of the discussions — conversation with She Romaszewski (Zofia Romaszewska), a former activist of the “Solidarity against the Communist state,” which told the Dude that I would not like to go back to the time when the courts followed the will of the rulers of the country.

Is that Kaczynski, despite his obsessive hatred of communism, it seems, unable to understand. For him, the opposite of authoritarian Communist rule, is a right-authoritarian government, not a democracy. After the return of his party “law and justice” to power in 2015, he systematically worked on the restrictions for free press, public meetings, non-governmental organizations and other aspects of a democratic society. The judicial system has long been his goal — one of his first battles was the battle against the constitutional Tribunal, which monitors the constitutionality of actions of the government; Kaczynski reduced to an ordinary stamp.

Bills that Duda vetoed, targeting the last independent Bastion of democracy — the courts. One of them called for the resignation of all Supreme court judges (more than 80) and a replacement selected by the Minister of justice; the second would allow Parliament to appoint the Council which elects the judges. The President actually signed the measure, according to which the Minister of justice supervises local courts.

No matter how inspiring the actions of the President of Duda, the Polish opposition has the right to remain cautious. Kaczynski and the party “law and justice” will not abandon its efforts to eliminate opposition and they still enjoy great popularity.

A recent visit to trump in Poland in the beginning of this month, perhaps even have stimulated anti-democratic, nationalist, anti-immigration aspirations. However, on Friday the State Department has warned Poland against attempts to control the judiciary.

Hasty retreat of Poland’s democracy under the leadership of the Kaczynski is of particular concern given the enthusiasm with which the country celebrated the accession to the European Union in 2004 and its initial economic and political success.

Frans Timmermans (Frans Timmermans), first Vice-President of the European Commission, the Executive Director of the Union, said that the attack on the courts brings Poland to article 7 of the contract unit, which warns the country against breaches of the fundamental values of the EU and threatens her with sanctions and the loss of the right to vote.

We can hope that the courageous veto Duda demonstrates the determination to keep Poland from transition to autocracy. But the values of European democracy, which Kaczynski and his associates in Hungary, Prime Minister Viktor Orban deliberately threaten, now need protection more than ever. Protection should include the credible threat of the application of article 7, if the Polish government will resume its attack on the rule of law.