“The iron broom in Poland shows that democrats can fight back,” writes the Financial Times. This is one of many comments by the foreign press on the situation in Poland. The media mainly focus on the conflict between “the pro-European government of Donald Tusk and the ultranationalist president Andrzej Duda.” There are words about a huge crisis in the state.
The BBC indicates that the first battlefield of the new and old authorities was the public media, but now there are more such conflicts. “There is a battle for control of the media that is dramatic in itself. But it is part of a much broader struggle for power that began when last autumn’s elections ended eight years of populist rule,” explains the BBC. The deepening power struggle between Polish leaders threatens to derail Donald Tusk’s pro-EU program and turn state institutions against each other – warns the Financial Times, adding that the growing dispute between the prime minister and the president may favor the creation of a “dual state”. “Since taking office a month ago, Tusk has struggled to deliver on his campaign promises, and Duda has shown an appetite for disruption. The president first delayed Tusk’s nomination as prime minister, then vetoed his December budget bill, and last week turned the dispute over two convicted parliamentarians PiS is in a constitutional crisis,” emphasizes the Financial Times.
Euronews, describing Tuesday’s Sejm proceedings disrupted by PiS politicians, also draws attention to the deepening conflict between Donald Tusk and Andrzej Duda, and the Brussels portal EUobserver estimates that the defeated PiS is now playing the “martyr” card. “No longer embodying the specter of authoritarianism and departures from democracy, PiS now considers itself a victim of Tusk’s ‘dictatorship’. This defeat gave the party an excellent opportunity to outline its new position as potential ‘defenders’ of Polish democracy, which in the case of PiS is an ironic turn , because until recently the party itself was accused of undermining the same democracy,” EUobserver reports.
Evaluation of the performance
The unfeasible cohabitation of Duda and Tusk is paralyzing Poland, summarizes the Spanish daily “La Razón”, describing the actions of the “ultranationalist president”, who – according to the newspaper – is blocking the reformist program of the pro-European government. “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,” it can be read. “Duda, who comes from the ultraconservative Law and Justice party, put every possible stick into the reform program with which Tusk ran in the October elections,” writes “La Razón.”
Spanish journalists add that the biggest problem the new government faces today is restoring the independence of the courts “after eight years of attempts by Jarosław Kaczyński’s party to control the justice system.”
German media specify that the biggest opponent of these reforms is the Polish President. Andrzej Duda is considered the last bastion – says the news daily “Tagesschau”, referring to the president’s recent statements about the “terror of the rule of law”. “‘Terror of the rule of law’ – these words of Duda are perceived by many in Poland as revealing. After all, the president covered up almost every intervention of the PiS government in the courts for eight years,” notes “Tagesschau”.
“Where the president calls the rule of law ‘terror'” – this is the title under which “Süddeutsche Zeitung” also refers to the situation in Poland, writing about the approaching climax of the conflict between the president and the prime minister. “At the moment, the division of roles is as follows: President Andrzej Duda with veto power, the PiS party and the Constitutional Tribunal on one side, and Donald Tusk with his government on the other. They are joined by some independent judges and prosecutors who criticized PiS’s violations of the law in recent years,” reports “Süddeutsche Zeitung.” Journalists of “Süddeutsche Zeitung” interpret the recent actions of the new opposition clearly – Law and Justice does not want to give up power. They add that both PiS and Andrzej Duda will probably continue this spectacle even until the European Parliament elections scheduled for June.
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Main photo source: PAP/Paweł Supernak