All posts tagged: nationalist-conservative party Law

Poland Shows That Autocracy Is Not Inevitable

Poland Shows That Autocracy Is Not Inevitable

Thirty-four years ago, in June 1989, Poland woke up to a surprise. Despite a voting process rigged to favor the Communist Party; despite decades of propaganda supporting Communists and smearing anti-Communists; despite the regime’s control of the army, the police, and the secret police; the democratic opposition won, taking all of the seats that it was allowed to contest. A team of former dissidents took control of the government two months later—the first non-Communist government in Soviet-occupied Europe. In the decade that followed, Poland slowly decentralized the state and built a democracy. This morning, Poland woke up to a similar surprise. Since first winning power democratically in 2015, the nationalist-conservative party Law and Justice, or PiS, has turned state television into a propaganda tube, used state companies to fund its political campaigns, and politicized state administration. In the run-up to this election, it altered electoral laws and even leaked top-secret military documents, manipulating their contents for electoral gain. Even so, the party appears to have won only just over a third of the vote. Three …