Rightwing Populist Victory In Poland Is A Sharp Warning For Supporters Of Democracy Worldwide

Police State

All of this should give liberal democrats pause. Consider what we’re seeing: rightwing populists’ open attacks on liberal democracy do not deter their supporters, particularly in highly polarized societies. 

By Cas Mudde
The Guardian (10/21/19)

The Polish parliamentary elections last Sunday [10/20] will have profound national consequences but also include political lessons that go well beyond Poland’s borders. The elections disprove important received wisdom about far-right and populist politics, and the results should cause reflection among liberal democrats around the world.

First and foremost, the ruling rightwing populist Law and Justice party (PiS) increased its vote share by 6%, from 37.6 to 43.6%, and regained its majority in the lower house of parliament (Sejm). However, because of a different electoral system and strategic collaboration by the main opposition parties, PiS lost its majority in the upper house (Senat). While the Sejm is the more powerful house, the Senat can veto legislation and plays a major role in the appointment and removal of some key political figures, including the president of the supreme chamber of control, who supervises the bureaucracy.

But even if the political victory did not fully match the electoral victory, the election outcome should be an important wake-up call for liberal democrats around the world. The PiS victory calls into question at least four received ideas common in the fight against rightwing populism. …

Read The Rest