Poland is standing on the edge of a cliff. After this election, it will either slip into authoritarianism or chart a path back to consolidated democracy. The fate of our deeply polarized country will be determined by a tiny margin of votes. To paraphrase Winston Churchill: never before in the post-1989 history of Poland has so much depended on so few.
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The dismantling of the rule of law in Poland is now almost complete. The current president has contributed time and again to its destruction. There is no need to remind our readers about the suppression of judicial independence and the oppression of judges, the trampling of parliamentary rules and the constitution, the politicization of public media, the impunity and rampant privileges of people in power, the looting of the state, the contempt for LGBT+ and other minorities and people with disabilities, the suppression of civil society, the alliance of the altar with the throne.

For five years, the president - a torpid and thoughtless tool serving at the behest of the governing party's leader - made Jarosław Kaczyński's vision of the state a reality.

The state operates according to the ideas of Carl Schmitt, a Nazi philosopher who inspires the ruling camp. The will of the nation is meant to stand above the law, and what constitutes the will of the nation is decided by Jarosław Kaczyński - a man with increasingly loose grip on reality, surrounded by cynics and fanatics. In such a state, the authorities do not respect even those laws which they establish themselves, and the opposition is repeatedly shown the middle finger.

Nothing but a farce

Today, Poland means little on the international arena. It has neighbours, but not friends. It has a subservient business relationship with the USA, instead of a veritable partnership. Despite being the fifth largest member state of the European Union, it has become marginal to EU politics. Instead of following the rules of the European community, it stands in the exit door. After all, "we won't stand for others to dictate our policies in foreign languages"...

This is the fatal outcome of the president's achievements. This is his legacy at the moment of seeking re-election.

Perhaps the style of this presidency is a matter of minor importance, but the shame and embarrassment that the head of state is causing our citizens exceeds wildest expectations. 

"I am a steadfast man," he declared after he was sworn in. But his steadfastness turned out to be nothing but a farce. "I will never be a president who acts as a simple notary of the government." - This proclamation from the early days of his term would be funny if it wasn't for the drastic contradiction between his words and his deeds. Judging by his somber expression, raised voice, and the god-fearing pathos of his speeches, one could be mistaken to believe one sees a thoughtful statesman. However, the real leader is standing somewhere else, making all the decisions from the backseat, while the person we have in front of us is an inflated balloon.

We must fight

For five years, we have heard from people who are afraid to call things by their name that as long as there are democratic elections in Poland, democracy is not under threat. Today even this hypocritical argument is no longer valid. We have recently faced an attack on the very fabric of democracy - the elections. The re-election of the president was originally to be decided by a mail-in plebiscite organized by a minister from the ruling camp and a state owned company he oversees. Thankfully, we managed to prevent this from happening.

Alas, the Supreme Court Chamber in charge of approving the elections, is filled entirely by appointees recommended by the ruling camp. But although these elections do not comply with the provisions of the Constitution, there will be no others. We must fight. If we, the democratic citizens, do not mobilize, the next elections will be as 'democratic' as those held in Belarus, Russia or Hungary.

We are not offering our support to any particular candidate. Our Readers will vote as they see fit, guided by their conscience. The electoral system puts us in a comfortable position when it comes to voting in the first round of presidential election. Several contenders for the presidency respect democracy, human and civil rights, vouch for the rights of minorities and a friendly separation of the Church and the state. They are in favour of strong and proactive Poland within the European Union. They are independent people who - if elected - will hold the highest office in the country with dignity.

But our current Head of State does not meet any of the above mentioned criteria.

Dictatorships grow stronger thanks to the weakness and passivity of their citizens. It is only up to us to allow ourselves to be deprived of our freedom.

Let us vote for a democrat!

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