Poland is on the brink of a constitutional crisis economic

Poland is on the brink of a constitutional crisis economic scenarios

Polish President Andrzej Duda accuses the new government of creating “terror,” a “terror of the rule of law,” and cites a series of legal violations by new Prime Minister Donald Tusk that he has allegedly committed since he was sworn in in mid-December.

From the perspective of Prime Minister Donald Tusk's coalition, exactly the opposite is the case: for him, the decisions made are necessary steps to free the country from the “regime” that the legally elected previous government led by PiS would have created over the eight years, in which he was in government. Meanwhile, the PiS leadership presents a Manichean verdict on Tusk's team.

These are not just rhetorical skirmishes. A quarter of a year after the PiS's defeat in the parliamentary elections, Poland is sliding into a constitutional crisis that could become a national crisis. The president and the government are increasingly arguing over which laws should be enforced and which should not, which court decisions should be recognized and which should not.

Chaos is spreading in the justice system

The situation in the judiciary remains: two parts of the Supreme Court have made contradictory rulings on the same politically sensitive issue, denying each other the right to decide on the matter. In the public prosecutor's office, two men give instructions and pose as the legitimate leader – a PiS man and one appointed in his place by the new government.

Over the past eight years, PiS has reorganized the judiciary, public media, state-owned enterprises and public services in the service of the party. In doing so, it has obviously made its own rules and appointed its own men, as any governing party would have done, just look at what is happening in France, for example. He was supported in this by President Duda and the Constitutional Court, which has brought the PiS under its control since the beginning of his government. After all, in no European country have we seen a government that has put its own opponents at the head of the institutions.

The Constitutional Court (obviously) follows the previous government

The elections have changed the government for the time being, but they cannot eliminate the positions appointed by the PiS, the “spail system” does not exist in Poland, just as it unfortunately does not exist in any European country. Each government inherits the bureaucratic apparatus or judicial system set up by its predecessors, and the same applies to Poland.

If the new government alliance wants to keep its election promise to depoliticize the justice system or to repoliticize it according to its own model and model and thus bring it closer to the standards desired by Brussels, it must change numerous laws passed by the PiS. But there are two obstacles: the President and the Constitutional Court. Both continue to act in full line with the PiS party line, which is opposed in the power struggle.

Duda will remain in office until the summer of 2025 and the majority of judges loyal to PiS will remain on the Constitutional Court at least until 2027. The new government's majority in parliament is not enough to override the president's veto. If Duda continues to maintain a confrontational stance, a permanent deadlock will be unavoidable.

The government has the opportunity to bypass the Constitutional Court, question its composition and act as an armed wing of the European courts. For this reason, the government has already ignored two Constitutional Court rulings in the dispute over the restoration of public media. In other cases, decisions were made that denied the validity of PiS-era norms. However, in doing so, the government is creating a gray area in which its affirmed respect for the “rule of law” is disappearing.

Germany obviously supports the new Tusk government in this direction, but this makes it more fragile domestically and undermines its claim to only act to restore the rule of law and the constitution. If this must be respected, it must be respected for everyone, it cannot be respected only when it is convenient. The diverse coalition that supports Tusk has opposition to PiS as its raison d'être, but is far less organic. It is not a given that he can lead his own presidential candidate to victory in 2025. If this were not the case, the stalemate would continue and Europeanism would be unable to compromise, even if the state structure was at risk.

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