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Timothy Garton Ash in “The Guardian” about the situation in Poland

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“Evolution or revolution?” – asks Timothy Garton Ash in the introduction to an extensive commentary on the situation in Poland published on Tuesday in “The Guardian”. He writes about the difficult task the Polish authorities are currently facing. “Poland’s tragic and inspiring history has been recycled in the form of a grotesque parody,” he notes.

“The world should draw conclusions from Poland’s tragedy. Rebuilding democracy is even more difficult than creating it,” writes Timothy Garton Ash in The Guardian. In the opinion of a historian from Oxford who specializes in our part of Europe, the last weeks in Polish politics have been dramatic, angry and bizarre. In this context, he writes about convicted ministers who found refuge in the president’s palace. “When Duda went to another meeting, the police stopped them in the palace and took them to prison,” he describes, also quoting the president’s words about “political prisoners” and “the terror of the rule of law.” He notices the protests PIS using Solidarity iconography and words Jarosław Kaczyński calling the convicts heroes. “Poland’s truly tragic and inspiring history has been recycled in the form of a grotesque parody,” he concludes.

SEE ALSO: “Poland is a test of how to revive a broken democracy”

“Donald Tusk must resist temptation”

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As Timothy Garton Ash estimates, the current situation is “simultaneously easier and more difficult” than the original establishment of democracy in our country. Easier externally because – unlike in 1989 – Poland does not remain in the Warsaw Pact and Comecon, but instead FOR THIS and the European Union. However, it is more difficult internally – due to the lack of unanimous consent of citizens to carry out changes “through a peaceful revolution”.

In the commentary, he notes that Kaczyński and Tusk, who have played key roles in Polish politics for a quarter of a century, “dislike each other.” It also emphasizes the role Andrzej Duda. In his opinion, the Polish president is “weak, vain, easily influenced by others and usually ends up following Kaczyński’s orders.” “During the difficult transformation of the state, instead of playing the important role of a neutral head of state, (Andrzej Duda) became even more biased,” he says.

Professor Timothy Garton Ash TVN24

Representatives of the new government “maintain that they want to quickly clean out the Augean stable before focusing on Poland’s future,” but “it is easier said than done,” says the historian. And it points to factors that may cause difficulties in this “cleansing” – the president’s powers in the form of, among others, veto rights and the potential desire of PiS politicians to maintain the atmosphere of chaos “as long as possible.” However, the biggest challenge for Tusk and his co-coalitioners will be, in Garton Ash’s opinion, something else – resisting “the temptation to simply turn the situation to their advantage and install their own supporters” in the places previously occupied by PiS people.

“In short, Poland must rebuild itself better. By the end of this term in 2027, the impartiality of public media should be more securely secured, the courts should be fully independent, the office of the president should be clearly cross-party, state-owned enterprises separated from political parties, and public administration and services truly independent security – and not only in comparison to the PiS governments, but also to the previous ones, including Tusk’s government,” he says in a commentary for “The Guardian”.

The well-known historian recommends following closely how Poland will cope with the current situation, as it may say something about “the future of democracy in other EU member states.” And also constitute “a preview of the challenge that the United States may face at the end of a possible second term of Donald Trump.”

SEE ALSO: Foreign media about the situation in Poland: institutional crisis that threatens to paralyze the country



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