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Did Poland make a success of its return to the democracy?

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  1. The actions of the Executive over the Legislature
    1. Censorship
    2. Dissolution
  2. The actions of the legislature over the executive
    1. Procedure issues
    2. Limits of a vote

Poland, the fatherland of Nicolas Copernicus, Frederic Chopin and Jean-Paul II, is widely regarded as an icon of the emancipation of the people's democracies of Central and Eastern Europe with respect to the USSR. More still, Poland appears in the international imagery as an effective illustration of a rapid democratic transition after Soviet totalitarianism. It was the first people's democracy to organize a trade-union opposition and first to organize free elections.

Poland was the pioneer in transition of democracies of Central and Eastern Europe to liberal democracies. Protest crises that occurred in the 1970s magnified in 1980 with the creation of the Solidarity trade union emblematized by the worker Lech Walesa, who then organized major strikes in the shipyards of Gdansk (shipbuilding being practically the only productive sector of the country as part of the policy of economic specialization that the Soviet Union imposed upon its various states and sister countries).
The regime change was so evanescent and non-violent.

Faced with popular unrest fueled by Solidarity and the country's economic deterioration, the Workers' Party (affiliated with the CPSU) signed agreements with the opposition during the roundtable of April 5, 1989. With this organization holding free elections (a first in the Soviet bloc), what resulted was the victory of Solidarity in June 1989.

Tags: Lech Walesa, Polish Workers' Party, CPSU

[...] Has Poland managed its return to democracy? Poland, the birthplace of Nicolas Copernicus, Frederick Chopin and John Paul II, has become an icon of emancipation among the democracies of Central and Eastern countries vis-à-vis the USSR. Moreover, Poland appears in the international imaging as strong country with a rapid democratic transition after the Soviet totalitarianism. The first popular democracy to organize a union opposition and the first free elections in Poland, did not even progress towards full integration at the heart of democratic European Union. [...]

[...] Moreover, it has found the relative weakness of the Parliament before the Kaczynski twins last two years. Finally, we also note the power of the Church which maintains a relative salience of politics in the country, as we see today, with the fiery debate for the teaching of creationism on par with the Darwinian theory of evolution, or with the controversy over the legalization of abortion. The Catholic Church seems to have supported the movement of Lech Walesa in the 1980s very efficiently, especially since Pope John Paul II, who had been inducted in 1978, was Polish (besides being the first Pope who is neither Italian nor French). [...]

[...] Legislative Sejm may file a motion of censure against the government. The President takes a strong legitimacy of his election of five years by direct universal suffrage (Lech Walesa from 1990 to 1995, Aleksander Kwasniewski from 1995 to 2005 and Lech Kaczynski since 2005), appoints the government, and has a veto that cannot be lifted by a majority. There is, however, a shift of the system towards primary ministerialism today. (It was clearly seen under the government of Jaroslaw Kaczynski from 2005 to 2007). [...]

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