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Poland’s imperiled democracy

By Yascha Mounk

08 Jun 2023 · 6 min read

informed Summary

  1. Poland's governing Law and Justice party has instituted a commission to investigate Russian influence on Polish politics, but the commission is partisan and has the power to disbar anyone from public office for up to 10 years.

A core component of liberal democracy is that the opposition must have the right to field the candidate of its choice, giving it a fair chance to oust the government at the ballot box. In Poland, which has become one of Europe’s most important economic and military powers, that axiom is under attack.

At the end of May, the governing Law and Justice party instituted a commission to investigate Russian influence on Polish politics. Given the ways in which the Kremlin has tried to wield power over European political parties, including Germany’s Social Democrats and Italy’s Lega (formerly Northern League), a nonpartisan commission to investigate such links in Poland would certainly make sense. A body with the authority to propose formal charges, to be investigated by independent courts, for people who are suspected of breaking existing laws would be perfectly appropriate.

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