Poles march for and against new government

By bne IntelliNews December 14, 2015

Tens of thousands walked the streets of Warsaw on December 12-13 to protest or support the actions of the Law and Justice (PiS) government, which has provoked a storm of criticism since it took office a month ago.

The demonstrations came in the context of the constitutional crisis that has been rocking Poland since early December. Critics claim PiS is trampling democracy as it performs a crude power grab. PiS claims it needs a friendly constitutional court to make sure its reforms are not blocked, and that the government is simply dismantling traps set by the previous Civic Platform (PO) administration.

Set up in opposition to PiS, the Committee for the Defence of Democracy (KOD) Facebook group organised a march on December 12. A reported 20,000-50,000 - the lower estimate from the police, the other from city hall – walked through the centre of Warsaw, including many prominent opposition politicians.

"Today, it's an assault on the constitutional court, tomorrow, it could be an assault on our freedom," Ryszard Petru, the head of the new pro-market party Modern Poland, told the crowd according to Reuters.

The following day, PiS gathered 17,000-45,000 of its own supporters. "We won the election, but we have no right to set laws and remodel Poland," PiS chairman Jaroslaw Kaczynski told the crowd.

The opposing demonstrations illustrate the dangers of a growing divide in Poland. During the election campaign, PiS skillfully tapped into the reactionary mood reaching across Europe, and the split in Poland between the major cities and a conservative and strongly Catholic electorate mainly based in rural areas.

However, despite bringing thousands onto the streets in protest already, PiS is nonetheless faring well according to polls. The party retains support of around 35%, equal to combined popularity of Modern Poland and PO. That suggests the constitutional spat is of little concern to many voters.

Related Articles

Poland isolated again as it threatens to block EU declaration

Poland will not sign the Rome Declaration if its demands for moulding the EU’s future are not reflected in the document, Prime Minister Beata Szydlo threatened on March 23. The statement could ... more

Polish ruling party's poll lead hit by EU spat

The popularity of Poland’s ruling party Law and Justice (PiS) has fallen below 30% for the first time since mid-2014, a poll showed on March 20. The survey, published by liberal newspaper ... more

Enea buys French utility out of Poland

Enea has acquired a 100% stake in Engie Energia Polska - the Polish business of French power company Engie - for PLN1.26bn (€290mn), the state controlled Polish utility said on March 14. The ... more

Register here to continue reading this article and 2 more for free or purchase 12 months full website access including the bne Magazine for just $119/year.

Already a subscriber or registered - click here to recover access.

If you a IntelliNews Pro user - click here to login.

Thank you. Please complete your registration by confirming your email address.
A confirmation email has been sent to the email address you provided.

To continue viewing our content you need to complete the registration process.

Please look for an email that was sent to with the subject line "Confirmation bne IntelliNews access". This email will have instructions on how to complete registration process. Please check in your "Junk" folder in case this communication was misdirected in your email system.

Already a subscriber or registered - click here to recover access.

If you a IntelliNews Pro user - click here to login.

If you have any questions please contact us at sales@intellinews.com

Subscribe to bne IntelliNews website and magazine

Subscribe to bne IntelliNews website and monthly magazine, the leading source of business, economic and financial news and commentary in emerging markets.

Your subscription includes:
  • Full access to the bne content daily news and features on the website
  • Newsletters direct to your mailbox
  • Print and digital subscription to the monthly bne magazine
  • Digital subscription to the weekly bne newspaper

Already a subscriber or registered - click here to recover access.

If you a IntelliNews Pro user - click here to login.

bne IntelliNews
$119 per year

All prices are in US dollars net of applicable taxes.

If you have any questions please contact us at sales@intellinews.com

Register for free to read bne IntelliNews Magazine. You'll receive a free digital subscription.

Already a subscriber or registered - click here to recover access.

If you a IntelliNews Pro user - click here to login.

Thank you. Please complete your registration by confirming your email address.
A confirmation email has been sent to the email address you provided.

IntelliNews Pro offers daily news updates delivered to your inbox and in-depth data reports.
Get the emerging markets newswire that financial professionals trust.

"No day starts for my team without IntelliNews Pro" — UBS

Thank-you for requesting an IntelliNews Pro trial. Our team will be in contact with you shortly.

Dismiss