Poland: Court rejects election complaint

Poland's Supreme Court has rejected a complaint brought by the opposition party Civic Platform (PO) and declared the results of the recent presidential election valid. The Court explained the decision saying that the PO had failed to provide sufficient evidence that the state apparatus, and in particular the public media, had favoured incumbent President Andrzej Duda. The ruling provokes outrage among some commentators but relief among others.

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Rzeczpospolita (PL) /

Judges missed their chance

Rzeczpospolita is disappointed with the judges:

“The Court even pointed out that it is 'good practice' for the authorities and the media to take a neutral position on the candidates in the election campaign. ... It's a pity the Court didn't have the courage to address the bad practices at all. But that would only kill the mood when Duda is sworn in once again. The manner in which Supreme Court judges - who were all appointed in a controversial procedure involving the politicised National Council of the Judiciary - dealt with voting rights doesn't say much for their credibility. Perhaps the best way to gain such credibility would have been by giving a convincing explanation for their decision.”

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (DE) /

Politicised justice

For the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung the ruling is particularly revealing in one respect:

“The reasons given for rejecting the complaint that the candidates were not given equal treatment in the media highlight how dangerous the PiS government's politicisation of the judiciary can be for Polish democracy. Because if in their view the hate campaign against Trzaskowski in the public media took place within the boundaries of honest reporting, we can't rely on these judges reining in those in power if push really came to shove.”

Polityka (PL) /

At least don't create even more confusion

For Polityka this was the only viable decision:

“Would the judgment have been different if the deciding chamber had not been composed solely of judges chosen by the government? Should they have declared the election invalid and forced it to be repeated? No. The errors should have been corrected earlier: in recognition of the fact that the election was not held on 10 May the Electoral Commission should have stated that it was to be held within the constitutional period, but after 6 August, when Andrzej Duda's term of office expired. As this has not been done, there is no need to create additional confusion since there is no constitutional way out of this situation.”