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For many western commentators, the electoral success of Poland’s populist right-wing party Law and Justice (PiS) in 2015 came as a surprise. But even more shocking was what happened next. Without self-restraint, Kaczynski’s party started taking over all state institutions, suppressed the media and launched a controversial ‘reform’ of the judiciary.


How was this turn possible after decades of uninterrupted democratic development?

Has Poland cut itself off from the pro-European path, or is the PiS government a passing episode in the country’s recent democratic history?


This book offers a multi-layered analysis tracing Poland's transformation over the past thirty years, including the pandemic and government response to the refugee crisis caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. It familiarises readers with the latest developments in Europe’s largest ‘illiberal democracy’, providing lessons for other countries experiencing the rise of populist right-wing movements.

The New Politics of Poland

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