Pawel Broszkowski – vice-president of the Warsaw KIK has outlined the current situation in the European Union as seen from the Polish perspective. In his statement he said among others, that “Political parties active in many European countries like in France, Netherlands or the United Kingdom and those who came to power in such countries as Hungary and recently in Poland, display nationalistic and xenophobic mood and openly show their unfriendly attitudes toward the EU”.
Unfortunately, actions taken by the winning party that is currently in power in Poland arouse anxiety among many Polish citizens including the members of the Club of Catholic Intelligentsia – not only because of the „unfriendly attitudes toward the EU”. It is worth reminding that only 50% of eligible voters took part in the general vote in Poland and out of this number 37% voted for the victorious party. In our opinion, this result does not authorize anybody to change the political system of the country without changing the constitution.
Today, we face the process of weakening of the institutions being on guard of the law and order as well as of the civil rights. Besides the Constitutional Tribunal this concerns also the office of the Ombudsman of Poland. At the same time, the Government gains strong instruments to keep citizens under surveillance without proper independent court supervision, practically liquidates civil service.
An attempt to limit the independence of the Constitutional Tribunal, authoritarian and arrogant way of governing, showing disrespect to the protesting citizens – have caused numerous protests in Poland. Such movements as Committee for the Defence of the Democracy were initiated by ordinary citizens. Pickets, marches and demonstrations come to the streets in Warsaw and other Polish cities. There were over 80,000 participants marching under the banner “We, the people” in Warsaw on 27th February, 2016.
Many critical comments appeared abroad – reducing credibility and importance of Poland. Internal situation in Poland was a subject of first such dispute in the European Parliament, while the US – second, after the EU, most important ally of Poland, has sent diplomatic mission to Poland to acquaint with the status of Polish democracy.
The Club of Catholic Intelligentsia in Warsaw, that is not political association, announced its position in relation to crippling the Constitutional Tribunal. The document was accepted and published by the Board. Among other things it states that “Division of power into judicial, legislative and executive is the foundation of democratic state of law. In particular, the judicial power (regardless of its possible imperfections) must be autonomous. This concerns also – and perhaps primarily – the constitutional judiciary, being on guard of civil liberties and assuring that activities of all governing bodies are in agreement with the constitution”.
Provisional adjudication of Venice Commission regarding the Constitutional Tribunal that was revealed recently, confirms criticism voiced by the Polish lawyers and numerous groups in the society regarding the blockade of this Tribunal. “The role of Constitutional Tribunal becomes particularly important during large advantage of one political party.” – found the Venice Commission.
Moreover, KIK reacted to the current attempt to deprecate Lech Walesa and his great achievements. In a letter to the former president, the Board of KIK has written: “We wish to express our solidarity and encourage you during this difficult time for you and our country, when history is manipulated and is becomes part of political war. To us, you will always remain the creator of “Solidarity” and the leader of transformations of the year 1989, therefore, a symbol of the victorious struggle for freedom and democracy (….). We want to assure you and other participants of the “Solidarity” events of the eighties that we shall oppose, as far as possible, all attempts at turning the history away, destroying recognized authorities and deforming the image of Poland as a leader of democratic changes in Europe”.