FOREIGN POLICY: “Poland Isn’t a Democracy” Because It Takes Democratic Elections Seriously, or Something
Seán Hanley and James Dawson, (c) 2016, Foreign Policy
One election, it seems, really can change everything.
Once feted for having bucked both the populist trend and the global recession, Poland is facing international condemnation. Recent moves by the Law and Justice government have come straight out of the playbook shared by the likes of Hungarian strongman Viktor Orban. It’s moved quickly to neuter the constitutional court; to take control of the state media; to defund unfriendly NGOs or regulate them into irrelevance; to put its own people in charge of public institutions; and has given every sign of being prepared to ride out waves of protests and ignore international criticism.
In other words, there was an election in Poland and the party that won a majority of the seats has taken control and hired its supporters for key jobs, such as in the state media. The elected government even stopped giving taxpayer money to the losing party’s pet NGOs!
That kind of Jacksonian behavior is completely undemocratic. As everybody knows from seeing Hamilton (you have seen Hamilton, haven’t you?), the essence of democracy is unchecked lifetime employment of, by, and for elites.