Europe’s illiberal democracies have gained a new member, and the world has taken notice, analyst Henry Foy observes.
Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the leader of the Law and Justice party had been in power for just one month. But the boundaries of Poland’s democratic institutions were already getting on his nerves, he writes for The American Interest:
Clearly, the Law and Justice Party has brought its own brand of illiberal, reactionary rule to the largest country in Eastern Europe. Despite some internal rumblings, its tenure seems secure on the basis of a potent political formula that happens to resemble that of most interwar era East-Central European regimes: a paternalist and populist form of corporate nationalism….
Polarization plays into Kaczynski’s hands, for he is a politician expertly skilled in the arts of division. Maintaining a climate of conflict and instability keeps his supporters engaged. The outrage and condemnation from the liberal opposition, foreign powers, and faceless EU bureaucrats bolsters his image as the defender of the “true Poland.” For now, aggression and provocation are shoring up his Party’s popularity, not diminishing it.