The Polish cohabitation between the pro-European government of Donald Tusk and the ultranationalist president Andrzej Duda has led to an institutional crisis that threatens to paralyze the country. Duda, from the ultra-conservative Law and Justice party (PiS), has thrown all his weight into the reformist agenda with which Tusk ran in the elections last October.
Before Christmas, in a first pulse, The Polish president blocked the budget of public radio and television in protest of the Government’s decision to dismiss the leadership appointed by PiS, accused of manipulating the public entity’s information.
However, the biggest problem that the Government, a heterogeneous coalition between conservatives, liberals and social democrats, is facing is in its plan to recover judicial independence after eight years of attempts for controlling the judges by Jaroslaw Kaczynski’s party. This Monday, Duda once again challenged Tusk by refusing to accept the dismissal of the national prosecutor, Dariusz Barski, who remains in his office despite having lost the confidence of the Government.
Barski, appointed by former Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, had been dismissed on Friday after the Ministry of Justice presented a law to reform the election mechanism of Polish judgesa first step to restore judicial independence in the face of criticism leveled against Poland by the European Commission.
The President of the Republic, who met with Tusk yesterday, accuses the Government of not respecting the lawwhich requires that he be consulted about the dismissal or appointment of the national prosecutor, the second in the ranks of the Public Prosecutor’s Office after the attorney general.
Illustration of this court case in which Poland has settled is imprisonment last week for a case that dates back to 2007 of former PiS deputies, including a former minister. The head of the Interior in the previous Government, Mariusz Kaminski, and his close collaborator, Maciej Wasik, were detained in the presidential palace where they had taken refuge at the invitation of Duda, who describes them as the first political prisoners in Poland since the fall of communism. in 1989.
“It is an unknown situation in any other democratic country, when the president hides people convicted by the courts and does not recognize the verdict of the courts,” he considers. Stanislaw Mocek, director of the private university Collegium Civitas in Warsaw.
In 2015, both politicians were sentenced to prison for having prepared eight years earlier, when they headed the Anti-Corruption Office, a false file against senior political officials. They were then pardoned by Duda, even before the court’s decision, which was later questioned by the Supreme Court, came into effect.
The Constitutional Court, controlled by the PiS, rejected the verdict of the Supreme Court and authorized the head of state to affirm that his grace remains valid for life. This last court has also started a new “grate procedure”, different and longer than the previous one.
«The president adds more fuel to the fire, while claiming to want to reach a compromise. The only possible compromise is the rule of law», insists Mocek. Duda, for his part, does not hesitate to publicly denounce “the terror of the so-called rule of law”, at a time when Tusk considers it a “primary principle” that he will follow.
It is likely that the confrontation between the pro-European government and the populist nationalist oppositionsupported by the Polish president, will last until Duda concludes his second term in 2025.