Poland. The acting government chief, Prime Minister Marek
Belka, announced at the beginning of the year that he
intended to step down and announce early elections. However,
Parliament did not agree to an earlier election, and
President Aleksander Kwaśniewski refused to accept a power
vacuum at the Council of Europe Summit in Warsaw in May.
Belka therefore stayed at his post until the autumn's
When the Polish-born Pope John Paul II was dying in
March, large crowds of Poles gathered to watch and pray for
his recovery. In Karol Wojtyła's old archbishop's seat in
Kraków, the pope's favorite team Cracovia set football
matches. When the obituary arrived in early April, almost an
entire nation mourned Poland's great son, and in Kraków a
mass was held in Cracovia's arena, which was renamed John
Paul II's stadium.
At the beginning of the year, US Secretary of State
Condoleezza Rice came on a short visit to Warsaw and praised
Poland's military efforts in Iraq. But the Polish defense
minister declared in April that Poland planned to withdraw
its 1,700 soldiers from Iraq by the end of the year.
stakes in Iraq were not popular among the electorate, which,
before this autumn's parliamentary and presidential
elections, gave very low opinion figures to the parties in
the left-wing government.
Instead, the polls gave success to the opposition within
the right-wing Citizens' Platform (PO) and the Nationalist
and Conservative Party Law and Justice (PiS). Law and
justice were led by the twin brothers Lech and Jarosław
Kaczyński, and it was speculated that the positions of
president and head of government would fall within the same
The parliamentary elections received a record low
participation of just over 40% and became a clear victory
for the bourgeois parties. PiS, which partly emerged as
EU-skeptical and promised action against poverty, was the
largest with 155 seats in the lower house, the Sejm,
followed by PO with 133 seats. The government's loss was
staggering. The leading ruling party Democratic Left
Alliance (SLD) shrank from 216 to 55 seats.
However, PiS leader Jarosław Kaczyński refrained from
becoming a new head of government, citing his twin brother
running for president. The task of forming a new government
therefore went to the market liberal economist Kazimierz
Marcinkiewicz of PiS.
Since the SLD candidate withdrew from the presidential
election, the battle was between PO Party leader Donald Tusk
and PiS candidate Lech Kaczyński, who was mayor of Warsaw.
The favorite Tusk won the first round, but in the final
round the more conservative Kaczyński won the most votes and
won with about 54% of the votes. In December, the new
president was installed in his office.
The government negotiations between PiS and PO were
delayed and eventually collapsed. Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz
and PiS therefore formed a minority government. It was voted
on with the support of the EU hostile right-wing
self-defense and Polish families' associations, while the PO
voted against what they called the "anti-European" forces.
In December, outgoing President Kwaśniewski demanded
information that the US intelligence service CIA was
detaining or detaining suspected terrorists in a Polish
In January 2012, a court sentenced former Interior
Minister Czeslaw Kiszczak to 2 years conditional
imprisonment for his role in the imposition of military
emergency in the country in 1981.
In November 2013, Poland hosted the COP-19 conference on
reducing the world's CO 2 emissions. Poland's
choice of host country was highly debated as the country,
with its large coal production, is itself a major CO 2
emitter. During the conference, 132 of the world's poorest
countries emigrated in protest that the rich Western
countries that have created global warming would not
compensate the world's poorest countries for the damage
caused by the heat in the form of floods and natural
disasters. On the last day of the conference, they were
joined by the world's NGOs who also emigrated. Not even the
violent hurricane over the Philippines during the
conference, which cost 10,000 lives, made the Western world
In August 2014, the EU announced to the Commission that
Donald Tusk would become new President of the Council of
Europe. A week later, he filed his farewell petition. The
post of prime minister was taken over by his party partner
Ewa Kopacz. In November, she also assumed the chairmanship
of the party.
In December 2014, the United States Congress published a
600-page summary of a 5,000-page secretly stamped report on
the CIA's torture program since 2001. Poland participated
very actively in this program, and as a state was guilty of
violating the torture convention. Poland, together with the
CIA, operated a torture center in Stare Kiejkuty in the
period 2002-05 under the code name Detention Center Blue. As
early as July 2014, the European Court of Human Rights
issued two rulings on this center, which the Polish
Government, however, appealed. Amnesty International urged
the Polish government to bring the guilty to justice and to
pay compensation to the victims. In February 2015, the
European Court of Human Rights rejected Poland's appeal and
ordered the country to pay compensation to the victims. The
country's foreign minister, Grzegorz Schetyna subsequently
stated that it would follow the court's order and pay €
100,000 in damages to Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri and € 130,000
to Abu Zubaydah, both of whom had been tortured. Abu
Zubaydah's lawyer subsequently told his client he would
donate the compensation to other victims of torture.
Poland- Russia relations deteriorated drastically during
2014 in the wake of the right-wing coup in Ukraine in
February. After Crimea in March conducted a referendum on
joining Russia, Poland took the lead in sanctions against
Russia. Following a July Malaysian Airlines plane crash in
eastern Ukraine, Poland canceled the planned Polish-Polish
Mutual Year and Russia Year in Poland, scheduled for 2015.
As the EU tightened its sanctions on Russia, Russia
responded again with sanctions against the EU. It went,
among other things. in addition to Polish agricultural
exports. Russia was previously the main export market for
Polish apples, and this trade was now completely stopped.
In January 2015, Poland caused international scandal in
marking the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the
Auschwitz concentration camp. It was Russian troops who
liberated the camp from the Nazis in January 1945, but to
avoid inviting the Russians, the Polish government claimed
that it was Ukrainian soldiers who had liberated the camp,
and instead invited Ukraine. The scandal was twofold because
it was Nazi Ukrainian soldiers who during World War II
helped the German Nazis with the massacre of the Jewish
ghetto in Warsaw.
Andrzej Duda won the presidential election in May 2015.
In the first round he got 34.8% of the vote and in the
second round 51.6%. His main counterpart, the incumbent
President Komorowski had to settle for 48.4%. Duda's
electoral victory was the preliminary culmination of the
right-wing advance in Eastern Europe. He led the election
campaign on both tax cuts and state social spending,
continued privatization, constitutional changes, increased
military spending, resistance to refugees and EU
integration, as well as restrictions on the right to
abortion, active euthanasia and gay marriage.
In September, the President categorically rejected
proposals in the EU for the establishment of a common
refugee quota system, thus helping to tighten the Union's
handling of the refugee crisis in 2015. Poland was
fundamentally unwilling to accept refugees - although the
country would accept a smaller number Christian refugees,
but no Muslims. The president also went out with the judge.
In the fall of 2015, he declined to approve new judges to
the Constitutional Court and instead appointed his own
judges. In June 2016, he refused to approve 10 new judges
recommended by the Polish National Judges Council. The
president's action was criticized by the country's Ombudsman
for contravening the constitution, by national NGOs and
international human rights organizations.
The October 2015 parliamentary elections became a
landslide victory for the National Conservative and
Right-wing Party of Law and Justice Party PiS, which secured
an absolute majority in both the Sejm and the Senate. PiS
rose 78 seats to 235 out of the Sejmen's 460 seats, and 30
seats to 61 out of the Senate's 100 seats. The Social
Democratic Alliance, the United Left, lost all of its 67
seats in the Sejm, thus solely comprised of right-wing and
right-wing parties. PiS Vice President Beata Szydło was
appointed Prime Minister in November. Observers considered
that PiS's landslide victory was possible because it was the
more moderate Szydło who was running for office and not the
party's chairman, the rabid Jarosław Kaczyński. As an
expression of PiS '
One of the PiS government's first official acts was to
enact legislation so that the government itself could
directly appoint leaders to posts in the state media.
Critics of PiS in the media were then purged. By the end of
2016, 216 journalists and administrative staff had been
fired, forced to resign or relocated to worse positions
according to the report. the country's journalist
association. One consequence of the regime's war on the
media was that from 2015 to 16 Poland fell from an 18th
place on the World Press Freedom Index to a 47th place.
PiS, in collaboration with the Catholic Church, organized
demonstrations against abortion in a large number of Polish
cities in May 2016 demanding a total ban on abortion.
Existing 1993 legislation was already extremely restrictive
and allowed only abortion in cases of rape, incest where the
mother's life was at risk or the fetus malformed. Therefore,
only approx. 2000 legal abortions a year. The number of
illegal abortions was unknown, but it was estimated that
100-150,000 Polish women were aborted annually in
neighboring countries. However, PiS was on a collision
course with the population. Opinion polls indicated that 51%
of Poles wanted less restrictive abortion legislation and
civic groups began collecting 100,000 signatures to get the
Sejmen to process a proposal for less restrictive abortion