Election in Poland: EU parliamentarians for OSCE observer mission
Before the parliamentary elections in Poland, there are doubts about the democratic process in the Eastern European country. One new law in particular is in focus. Now EU politicians are speaking out.
A large majority of the parliamentary groups in the EU Parliament are calling for an observer mission from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) for the parliamentary elections scheduled for autumn in Poland.
“We come from different political groups and from different countries, but we all share the concern that the elections will not be conducted according to the highest democratic standards,” said a letter signed by the leaders of five of the seven political groups in the European Parliament Director of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, Matteo Mecacci. Only the conservative ECR parliamentary group – to which the Polish PiS party also belongs – and the right-wing national parliamentary group Identity and Democracy did not sign the letter.
Concern about the survival of democracy
The letter was signed by the leaders of the Greens, the Christian Democratic European People’s Party (EPP), the Social Democrats, the liberal Renew Europe group and Die Linke. In the EU and NATO country of Poland, many government critics fear that the national conservatives, who have been in power since 2015, could cling to power and set the course so that they cannot be replaced by the opposition after the election. Concern about the continued existence of democracy is growing.
The letter goes on to say that other worrying developments had been observed ahead of this year’s election: new polling stations would only be set up in small towns and villages, areas that would typically vote for the current governing coalition. A law recently passed by the Polish governing party PiS, which provides for the appointment of a commission of inquiry into Russian influence, has also been criticized.
Law to the detriment of the opposition?
It is feared that the main purpose of the commission is to prevent members of the opposition from taking office if elected, it said. According to observers, the law seems tailor-made to discredit opposition leader Donald Tusk during the election campaign or even to ban him from political life.
Against this background, it is crucial to have election observers follow all important aspects of the Polish election process. In addition, an election observation mission should monitor the election campaign, the role of the media, voting, counting on election day and post-election complaints.