Since 2015, Poland's populist Law and Justice Party (PiS) has been dismantling the major checks and balances of the Polish state and subordinating the courts, the civil service, and the media to the will of the executive. Political rights have been radically restricted, and the Party has captured the entire state apparatus. The speed and depth of these antidemocratic movements took many observers by surprise: until now, Poland was widely regarded as an example of a successful transitional democracy.
Poland's anti-constitutional breakdown poses three questions that this book sets out to answer: What, exactly, has happened since 2015? Why did it happen? And what are the prospects for a return to liberal democracy? These answers are formulated against a backdrop of current worldwide trends towards populism, authoritarianism, and what is sometimes called 'illiberal democracy'. As this book argues, the Polish variant of 'illiberal democracy' is an oxymoron. By undermining the separation of powers, the PiS concentrates all power in its own hands, rendering any democratic accountability illusory. There is, however, no inevitability in these anti-democratic trends: this book considers a number of possible remedies and sources of hope, including intervention by the European Union.
Wojciech Sadurski is Challis Professor in Jurisprudence. He also holds a position of Professor in the Centre for Europe in the University of Warsaw, and was visiting professor (in 2010, 2011 and 2012) at the University of Trento, Italy and in Cardozo Law School in New York. In 2013/2014 he is Straus Fellow and Global Visiting Professor of Law at New York University Law School. In Spring term, 2015, he was Visiting Professor at Yale Law School.
Professor Wojciech Sadurski, Law School, University of Sydney, Australia
Dr Octavio Ferraz, Dickson Poon School of Law, King's College London
Professor Jiri Priban, School of Law and Politics, Cardiff University
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