News - January 14, 2016

Meanwhile in Poland

In the news: the rightwing Law and Justice party (PiS) won a majority in the recent elections in Poland. The party is now proposing drastic changes which the European Union says are undemocratic. How do Poles themselves see it?

Commentary by Barbara Sienkiewicz, student of Geo-Information Science

‘Opinion is divided. One group of people is against the Law and Justice party coming to power, and another group is happy about it. I think a lot of people voted for the PiS in protest. They wanted to show that they no longer supported the old government.

The Polish media are in disarray. The new media law means the government can sack the board of the public broadcasting corporation. Then they can appoint whoever they want. The media now say what the PiS wants them to say. That is not acceptable.

There are other big changes too. The PiS wants to do away with the legislation the previous government introduced. What is even more scary is that they want to change the constitution. Then the PiS will be able to pass laws which do not comply with the constitution. The party is against the EU and western Europe. So what will happen next?

I was against the previous government myself, but this is not perfect either. I share some views but some are too extreme for Poland. There isn’t a party I really feel at home with. Many politicians struggle for power, money and their own positions, but not for the country.  Poland isn’t taking many refugees. I wonder whether refugees even want to go to Poland. They would rather go to Germany. There is pressure to take in refugees but neither the government nor the people want to. People fear the consequences. We took in refugees in the past and treated them well. In the end they left for Germany without so much as a thank you.

Change will not be fast. The government came to power democratically and will stay. In Poland 39 percent of the population voted in the election. The remaining 61 percent are complaining now. Instead of complaining they should have voted when they had the chance.’