chapter  9
16 Pages

Poland: The Vanguard of Change

ByAurel Braun

This chapter examines the problems and the dangers of extremism in Poland. To assess the danger, it examines five areas: the problem of momentum; transformation; the "majority as victim" syndrome; the status of minorities; laws and legality; and policies on refugees. With Aleksander Kwasniewski (who had been chairman of the Constitutional Committee) as president, the chances for a new constitution have improved. With the slow movement in professionalizing the judiciary and ensuring judges' competence and impartiality, and given the populist instincts of the government, there are reasons to be concerned about legality in Poland. Given the enormous sacrifices the Polish people have made, the great strides that they have taken toward the achievement of democracy, and the high degree of political legitimacy that has been achieved, clearly the odds are in Poland's favor. A great deal more remains to be done, however, before Poland achieves the level of democratic development reached in Western Europe.