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Poland: A Flawed Democracy - According to the Economist Intelligence Unit

7 July 2012. The other day I asked an American colleague about the results for Poland in an international survey of constitutional law. It turns out, the survey doesn’t look at Poland. Reason: Poland is not on the list of “Full Democracies” in the Democracy Index 2011 published by the Economist Intelligence Unit.

by Filip Wejman

According to the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), Poland is among “Flawed Democracies”, on position 45 (see also: Wikipedia).

EIU is part of The Economist Group. It’s sister organization is The Economist, one the most serious and influential periodicals on the planet. My favorite periodical. I can’t say it’s unreasonable for anyone in their research to rely on data from the EIU.

Still, the result boggles my mind. Not that I am objective. Intuitively, the EIU Index seems way out of touch with reality on ground here and in some other countries I know. But it would be silly to engage in finger-pointing about flaws that other countries have, or claim that Poland is better than someone.

Rather, let’s take a hard, cold look at institutions and political culture here in Poland, and put the right pressure. (Poland scored particularly low on political culture in the Index). At INPRIS, in concert with other NGOs and companies, we contribute by:

  • monitoring the election process for the Constitutional Court and several other public institutions (Ombudsman, Personal Data Inspector);

  • offering an on-line, interactive map of the legislative process that allows people to track down draft laws, expert opinions etc., so that they can interact with the government or parliament; our ambition is that the application is as user-friendly as consumer products (launch: autumn 2012);

  • producing a game on law-making that teaches high school students how law is made, and how citizens can intervene (launch: autumn 2012);

  • designing and promoting examples of infographics on legal problems: we want to encourage the political class, experts and media to bring home information about law and law-making to the average lay-person; topics: (1) government proposal for a law on the notice & take-down procedure for materials illegaly posted on the Internet; (2) liability for anauthorized use of payment intruments (launch: summer 2012).