Daniel Freund

7. June 2023 Democracy

"Seriously worrying developments": Parliamentary group leaders call for independent election observers in Poland

The leaders of the five largest pro-European political groups in the European Parliament have written to the OSCE calling for a full-scale election observation mission to be sent to Poland. The letter, signed by Terry Reintke and Philippe Lamberts (Greens), Manfred Weber (Conservatives), Iratxe Garcia-Perez (Socialists), Stephane Sejourne (Liberals) as well as Manon Aubry and Martin Schirdewan (Left), states that they are concerned about the election not being held according to the “highest democratic standards”. Most recently, the Polish government passed laws that change the electoral system in favour of the ruling PiS party and can make it more difficult for opposition candidates to accept their mandates. In addition, the independence of the judiciary has been de facto suspended in Poland and independent media are under enormous pressure. Parliamentary elections in Poland will take place in autumn 2023. The letter to the OSCE was initiated by the Green Group.

Daniel Freund, MEP for the Greens, comments:

It is more than doubtful whether the Polish parliamentary elections can be held freely and fairly under the current circumstances. The recent laws of the PiS government deliberately curtail the rights of the opposition in Poland. The democratic playing field is tilted towards the ruling party. Without an independent judiciary, democratic checks and balances in Poland are dysfunctional. The Supreme Court chamber responsible for electoral disputes has already been declared non-independent by the European Court of Human Rights. We need an independent analysis of the elections in Poland. The government in Warsaw must know that we will not accept manipulation. For us, the demand for independent observers is linked to the demand to the Polish government to guarantee a free and fair ballot. Those who tamper with the electoral laws in their favour are leaving the democratic sphere.