‘Developments in Poland unbecoming to democracy’ – head of Lithuania’s constitutional court

“Developments [in Poland] would be hardly imaginable in a democratic state, including Poland. A year ago, hardly anyone could have predicted these processes – the Polish government completely ignoring the Constitutional Court’s rulings, proclaiming them null and void, which in itself is a violation of the rule of law. It reeks of attempts to usurp and undermine the functions of constitutional justice,” Žalimas tells LRT.

The Polish government has refused to announce the Constitutional Court’s rulings.

The government in Warsaw, led by Jaroslaw Kaczynski‘s right-wing Law and Justice party, argues that it has the popular mandate to govern and overturn rulings by an unelected body.

Such a view is a perversion of democracy, Žalimas says.

“Democracy is not just the rule of the majority. Democracy is not just a dictatorship by the majority. Democracy is also submitting to laws. In the end, democracy is a system of breaks and balances,” he says.

Žalimas is also critical of the Polish government’s ambitions to change or completely replace the country’s current constitution, which came into force in 1997.

“I’ve heard in unofficial talks that, back in 2010, they drafted a document for a new constitution for Poland which envisaged a super-presidential republic, concentrating much power in the hands of the head of state,” Žalimas says.

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