Adam Bodnar, the Polish Ombudsman for Citizen Rights who was ousted by the Constitutional Court on April 15, warned on Saturday in an AFP interview that Poland is becoming “undemocratic,” and slammed the European Union for its slow response to the Polish government’s violations of the law.
Bodnar said that the powers that be in Poland are “trying to incapacitate or take over additional power mechanisms one by one.”
Bodnar’s five-year term of office expired in September 2020, but since the two chambers of the Polish parliament (the Sejm and the Senate) could not agree on a successor, Bodnar held on to his post, in keeping with Polish law. On April 15, the country’s Constitutional Tribunal, which is controlled by the governing Law and Justice party (PiS), ruled that Bodnar could stay in office for three more months at most.
Bodnar blamed Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission since December 1, 2019, for the shift in the EU’s strong executive decisions that earlier improved Poland’s democracy.
“I get the sense that there has been this constant search for a supposed compromise, consensus, and dialogue with the Polish government… which hasn’t really accomplished anything,” Bodnar told AFP, suggesting that “meanwhile the government used that time to introduce and solidify changes and to increasingly strive toward pushing the boundaries regarding the subordination of the judiciary.”
The governing party, which has 198 out of 460 seats in the lower house (Sejm), and 44 out of 100 in the Senate, accused Bodnar of being biased in favor of the opposition parties.