Democratic Backsliding in Poland
After the collapse of the Soviet Union and the democratization of the former Soviet states in Central Eastern Europe, Poland’s strong economy and internal stability primed it to be a leader in the region and make it a post-communist success story – but this optimism would not last. The election of the Law and Justice Party (Prawo i Sprawiedliwość in Polish, PiS for short) in 2015 marked a significant downturn in the quality of the country’s democracy. In this paper, I examine Poland’s democratic backsliding at the hands of PiS through three of their most prominent anti-democratic actions: the decreasing freedom of the press, the erosion of judiciary independence, and the party’s increasing Euroscepticism, relying on data from international organizations such as Freedom House’s Nations in Transit and Reporters Without Borders’ World Press Freedom Index to measure just how much the quality of democracy has changed in Poland. Finally, I provide a brief explanation of how Poland’s citizens have begun to resist the Law and Justice Party, proving that there is still a chance for democracy to thrive.
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