Poland is back in the news — and as has been the case since the end of 2015 it is mostly a function of enraged globalists looking to pressure and ultimately stifle the conservative government from reforming the last generation of post-Communist coercion.
At the end of 2015 the PiS government attempted, and succeeded, in bringing reform to the Constitutional Tribunal. This court, much like the Supreme Court of the United States, served as the ultimate arbiter of constitutionality in Polish legislative disputes after 1989. At least that was its raison d’etre.
More often than not, however, it served as a protector of the post-Communist cohort. These elites were formerly Communist but post-1989 were fully amnestied and given power sharing by Lech Walesa after the round table talks in 1989 (without condition of transparency, responsibility, or even acknowledgement of former crimes against the Polish people).
The process of opening of past records, called lustration, was foiled time and again by this Tribunal of post-Communist protectionists. The new government reversed a brazenly unconstitutional and illegal pre-election stacking of the bench by their opposition, then the incumbents, the eurocentric Civic Platform party (PO). At the time 14 of 15 judges had been placed by PO.
This initial reform in December 2015 gave the international media their primary cudgel with which to beat the newly elected government.
The attacks by globalists and their political counterparts in Brussels has been unceasing, centered around the idea that Polish rule of law is under attack and the hard-fought Polish democracy is seeing a “backslide.”
Granted, with the legislative majority PiS possessed in both the upper (Senat) and lower (Sejm) houses of the Polish parliament, the way the PiS government pushed through this reform was less than artful. But the motives and the desired outcome of this judicial reform, as well as in the pending wide ranging reforms across the entire Polish judicial structure, are widely supported by the people on the ground.
Deputy PM (and Finance/Development Minister) Morawiecki recently stated that 80 per cent of Poles support judicial reform and your correspondent believes this figure to be accurate.
Last month, the PiS government presented to parliament their next judicial reform proposal — a wholesale restructuring of the entire court system.
The Justice Minister, Zbigniew Ziobro, presented a reform bill that would give his office (the Justice Ministry, akin to the Department of Justice in the United States) unilateral say in which justices are removed from the bench of the Supreme Court and the selection of their initial replacements, a nuclear option. This would set a precedent on judicial selection that would abrogate a constitutionally enumerated power.
Up until now this has been the purview of the judges themselves, and their lack of interest in democratising their own ranks has led to a deep distrust in them by a clear majority of Poles.
Ziobro has a history of grasping for ever more political and judicial power, and the first iteration of his reform bill was a perfect example thereof.
His draft bill proposal was so aggressive in its centralising of power that it galvanized protests — seized upon by the global media — that were not entirely unreasonable, at least when juxtaposed to previous protests led by agitprop protest groups connected to Soros and his web of NGO’s and “think” tanks.
Many of the protesters this time around were (and are) supporters of judicial reform, but seeing the scale of takeover of the entire justice system by one man (“the prince of darkness” as he became known during his time as an MEP in Brussels), they were rightfully worried.
The watered-down version of the bill passed the Sejm and the Senat, proceeding to President Andrzej Duda’s desk to sign into law. To the shock of almost all involved, President Duda vetoed two of the three bills and proposed his office would take a month to redraft it.
In the interim, two dynamics have developed.
Firstly, the Justice Minister has gone to war in the media against President Duda for not rubber stamping his bill. He has given multiple interviews and made comments that this is an incorrect act by the President. Even his 32-year-old deputy minister, Patryk Jaki, who is absolutely no one in Polish politics, has attacked the president head on in the media and social media. Ziobro and Jaki have engaged in this public turf war even as PiS party chairman Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the most important politician in the country, has called for unity to work through this process democratically.
Ziobro’s bill in his desired state would have made him the most powerful politician in Poland — despite the President receiving a larger popular mandate than the PiS party in government — and would have undercut the powers of the President and even subjugated presidential authority on jurist selection and validation to the Justice Minister.
The second outcome of this imbroglio is that the unelected globalist EU commissioners in Brussels have their next cudgel with which to attack Poland and its government.
As usual with Frans Timmermans and his merry band of sovereignty-underminers, the way the elected Polish politicians govern their nation state and engage in reform has opened the door for Brussels to launch an “infringement procedure” against the Poles after ignoring multiple Brussels entreaties to cease and desist with their judicial reform.
The reasoning behind this procedural sanction is cartoonish: since Poland has lowered the retirement age from 67 years to 65 years for men and 60 years of age for women this is “contrary to gender equality in employment” and would affect judges as well as all other vocations. In reality, Poles and Eurosceptics everywhere know the real reason for any attempted EU sanction on any Central and Eastern European member state: lack of pliancy when it comes to Brussels open border migrant/refugee resettlement injections by fiat.
Even the U.S. State Department weighed in with their predictable warnings on “rule of law”.
In the end, the conservative Polish government will continue with its reforms, and ideally, the country’s Justice Minister and his deputy will be sacked.
There is no greater organ that represents the historical lack of repentance and accountability than the judiciary, and Poles have had a ringside seat to it over the past 27 years. They desire reform greatly, but they care about their democratic systems with separation of powers remaining intact.
Despite a flawed constitution (written in the post-Communist period by many “former” and “reformed” Communists), checks and balances worked via President Duda’s veto. If anything, much to the chagrin of the EU alarmists, this is a sign that Polish democracy is working well, and not a sign that the European Union needs to further intervene in the nation’s affairs.