Why the deep rifts in Polish politics?

At the latest since the clash over Poland's judicial reform it has become clear just how deep the divisions between the government and the opposition are. Europe's press looks at how the current political crisis in the country has been determined by events of the past.

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Lidové noviny (CZ) /

The winner takes it all

Lidové noviny is less irritated by the judicial reform than by the fact that new governments keep making the same mistake:

“The deep rift in the country didn't emerge after the elections in 2015. Back then there was much talk of purges in the public media, but there were also demonstrations against them. Similar cleansing operations had been carried out after every change of power, only hardly anyone demonstrated against them or turned to the European organisations for help. All the governments of the past 20 years or more have such political excesses on their conscience. All winners wanted everything for themselves - as if they would be in power forever. These governments forgot that they were only elected for a certain amount of time and that there was no point in destroying everything they inherited from their predecessors. This problem has become exacerbated with the judicial reform.”

Ta Nea (GR) /

Liberal spirit and nationalist soul

For Ta Nea, Poland's political crisis is rooted in the past:

“What is going on in Poland right now is a consequence of the post-traumatic stress of the times of totalitarianism from which the country was freed almost 30 years ago. The causes can also be found in the historic divide, the constant conflict between the liberal spirit and the nationalist soul. Poland is divided and at the moment the insular, anti-European section of the population is in power, embodied by Kaczyński's marionettes, President Duda and Prime Minister Szydło. … The president's veto gives Poland's disrupted constitutional order what it needs: the necessary clout and prestige for its judicial system. So that the latter isn't entirely discredited and drags the whole constitution down with it.”

Gazeta Wyborcza (PL) /

All thanks to Trump

The fact that Poland's government risked going so far is also due to the US president's recent visit, writes left-wing journalist Sławomir Sierakowski in Gazeta Wyborcza:

“Trump came and affirmed his commitment to Article 5 of the Nato Pact, which for obvious reasons is vital to Poland. … There couldn't have been a more opportune moment for implementing radical reforms. … Trump has become a 'useful idiot' for Kaczyński. In exchange for a little applause the US president gave Kaczyński a success which he has used to launch an attack on Poland's democracy. … It would be good if Washington were aware of what it took part in. And if it stopped being silent on issues which it itself considers to be of fundamental importance.”