How has the PiS changed Poland?
Poland's national-conservative PiS government has been in power for one year. Under its leadership a series of laws reforming state institutions have been passed and the EU has launched legal proceedings against the country. Plans to introduce a total ban on abortion were dropped in the wake of protests, however. Taking stock of the PiS government's performance over the past year, commentators are as divided as the country itself.
Country made dysfunctional in just one year
Nothing positive has happened in the past 365 days, Gazeta Wyborcza criticises:
“The PiS's derogatory attitude to the EU and particularly to its democratic values has done much to isolate Poland. It has lost its position in the European community. We can rely on support neither from Germany nor from France, as both countries have been snubbed by the Polish government. And we can rely even less on the UK, which is grappling with its own issues after the Brexit vote. Furthermore, an enormous question mark hovers over the alliance with the US after Trump's victory. ... With the help of President Duda and Prime Minister Szydło, Kaczyński has destroyed within a single year the organs of Polish democracy that were created over decades. They have shamelessly violated the constitution. ... This was Poland's worst year in more than a quarter of a century.”
Protecting the family takes second place
The Catholic web platform Gość Niedzielny gives the PiS government a mixed review:
“The main success of the PiS's first year in office is that it has kept its election promises. It has reformed the state to make it present more solidarity once more. Its failure is that there have been no changes in the laws governing moral issues. The PiS fought its election campaign to ensure a fairer distribution of assets and more prosperity for families. It has undoubtedly kept these promises. … However, in preceding legislative periods when they were in the minority in the Sejm, the PiS MPs voted for a complete ban on abortion and artificial insemination. And they were against gender ideology, the Council of Europe's conventions against domestic violence, and registered partnerships. Now that they have a majority they're not bothering at all with these issues.”
Social policy acceptable once more
The PiS has finally put social justice back on its agenda, the conservative tabloid Super Express writes in delight:
“From the people's point of view social policy is the most important issue: the flagship of the PiS leadership. It's clear that the PiS has reversed former trends on this issue. Since the start of the transformation, the welfare state has collapsed. A large part of the population is no longer provided for. Kaczyński's team has now set another priority: not only has it decided in favour of active state policy, it has even managed to win the support of the Poles. In so doing it has shown that it rejects liberal social Darwinism. ... The PiS deserves praise for this change.”
Poland has been turned into a religious state
Together with the Church the PiS has destroyed the constitutional state, the liberal news magazine Newsweek Polska writes:
“We don't know what role religion plays in the life of Jarosław Kaczyński. And we don't know what he thinks about Jesus Christ. Kaczyński is as silent as the grave on this subject. But we know precisely what role the Church has assumed in his political project. He never stops talking about that. The last year has shown what the bond between the altar and the PiS's throne means. The Church is a political instrument used to mobilize its followers and the voters. This union is aimed above all at fomenting negative emotions. … So we have seen how spreading the Gospel, compassion and charity have been replaced by a nationalist Catholic heresy. This bond between throne and altar has turned the democratic constitutional state into a religious PiS state.”