Rupture or Continuity? On Reception of Rule of Law Standards in Poland 25 Years After the “Democratic” Transition

The Polish democratic transition was portrayed as a shining example of the victory of liberal values over the socialist clientelistic authoritarianism. Yet, for the past two years the ruling Law and Justice party has been actively dismantling the system of checks and balances that was carefully put post-1989 and pre-EU accession. The easiness of this reactive transformation begs for the question as to the actual compliance with the values of the European Union, which is currently questioned through the Rule of Law Framework and Art. 7 TEU mechanism.
This paper aims to engage with the long complete accession and post-accession processes in order to identify the signs anticipating the current backsliding from democracy in the Polish context. It will focus on the judiciary and the Constitutional Court as chief actors, long criticised and unsuccessfully reformed, in order to determine whether the current crisis represents continuity or rupture in Polish democratic processes.