Poland under new management | DW Documentary

Poland under new management | DW Documentary

Poland under new management | DW Documentary

Poland may have succeeded in voting out a right-wing populist government, but have the country’s divisions improved?

From the exclusion of LGBT+ people to bans on abortion and the firing of journalists critical of the government – eight years of rule by the Law and Justice party saw Poland drifting ever further from democracy. How do Polish people feel about the recent political change? What do they expect from their new, pro-European government? DW speaks to Poles of different ages in both urban and rural areas, including supporters and opponents of the former ruling party, gathering a range of perspectives on the hopes and fears of the Polish people. A report by Axel Rowohlt.

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Video Transcript

It was a democratic sea change the Polish people voted out the right-wing populists from the law and Justice party increasingly it seems they were nothing more than thieves and Crooks I’m optimistic I feel good about what’s to come the elections have shown that the majority is fed up but the country is divided there’ll be resistance from the right for 8 years right-wing nationalist populists ruled Poland new leader Donald Tusk is liberal in pro- Europe and not everyone is

Happy I don’t accept the election not even the Communists did what the current government is doing so what is the mood like in Poland can the country overcome its divisions here in sherov vitza in Northern Poland birthday celebrations are underway for Christina formela she’s turning 73 it’s also what’s known as fat

Thursday a last chance to eat some treats before the restrictions of Lent kick in fat Thursday is a typical Polish tradition everyone here bakes whatever they can it’s about having a good time together what are these seniors expecting from Poland’s new government and how can Society overcome its Divisions I don’t want to talk about political divisions here we’re building a civil society we want people to get along with each other we just did what we had to do that’s why I believe in this government in these people we ask if anyone here supports

The Old Government led by the law and Justice party we’re told the lady in red does but she doesn’t want to talk to us especially not in front of the camera but this area is strongly pro- Law And Justice around here the law and Justice party gets about 70% in elections but

Their supporters are hiding we do find one in the Town Center Taxi Driver Maran doesn’t believe in the new government or even in the election results I don’t accept it although now I have to because what else can I do no the law and Justice party had a lot of

Voters Christina formela meanwhile is Happy The Old Government left office if you ask me it doesn’t deserve any credit I don’t like them I never supported them and I didn’t like what they did when they were in power increasingly it seems they were nothing more than thieves and

Crooks despite the birthday party Spirit she doesn’t have a kind word to say about the Old Government so how did Poland get to this point the popul Law And Justice party came to power in 2015 it represented nationalists and right-wing conservative values the party’s policy positions had

Concrete effects on the lives of Polish people for example there was discrimination against lgbtq plus people this was a central pillar of the party’s platform it also oversaw a deao ban on abortions including for medical reasons several pregnant women died as a result and it exerted influence on previously independent media journalists

Critical of the government lost their jobs many Polish people protested but that didn’t stop the ruling party instead it brought in popular but expensive policies the child benefit allowance was Raised while retirement age was lowered meaning older citizens no longer had to work as long changes like these were well received including by many here in sherov vitza after enjoying their cakes the women are now taking part in an exercise class at the local sports center the most important thing is to

Have a decent pension so I can buy things without having to pick out one pair or one apple newly elected prime minister Donald now faces a big job after 8 years of right-wing populism he has to revitalize Democratic institutions and bring people together I believe that young people

Will finally have their chance here younger people decide what should happen how it should happen and how they want to live in order to talk to some younger Polish people we live sherov vitza and Drive East our destination the Tri City of Gdansk Ginia and soot it just so happens there’s another

Birthday Marin kovski is turning 40 and his boyfriend rodic shumski surprises him with gifts and cake as a gay couple in Poland they’ve suffered at the hands of conservative Society but since the recent political change there are signs of a different move towards queer people even when it comes to things like displaying

Affection as time goes on it’ll probably become more and more accepted yesterday we were at an anniversary party and we actually greeted each other with a kiss I had the impression that people weren’t as bothered in cities like this one there are more lgbtq plus people than elsewhere but at the same time

Homophobic people are also particularly active being openly gay is a test of Courage yeah often I’ve tried to hold Marin’s hand in public and it’s been uncomfortable for Him but I think that I’m just as much a citizen as anyone else I deserve the same rights and I can walk down the street with my loved one next we meet Martin magot and P yanovski from to an lgbtq plus activist Network in Gdansk they say things are now changing for the Better right now you can feel that there’s more acceptance but there’s also fear just because the government’s changed doesn’t mean that Society has changed yet currently no Provisions in the Polish criminal code saying that homophobic hate speech is illegal an example this truck passing a school the message from its loudspeakers

Accuses lgbtq plus people of pedophilia these Law And Justice party supporters are demonstrating against queer people a protest that leads to violence there’s a lack of equality and respect of diversity more appreciation of diversity as Marin and radic celebrate Marin’s birthday over coffee and cake they’re also planning to pursue a big

Goal they want to get married properly with an official certificate to prove it the new government aims to pass a law that makes civil unions possible for everyone I’ve already started inviting everyone I tell my family it might be possible in two or 3 years they’re very

Much in favor as are most people I know that’s one of the laws expected from Donald tusk’s new government another aims to improve women’s right to abortion hardly any other topic polarizes polish society as much as this one supporters of abortion rights emphasize it as a women’s rights Issue while opponents see it as a pro-life issue it’s especially controversial in rural areas we head back to sherak kovit where Taxi Driver Maran is waiting outside the church the law and Justice supporter has no problem with misogynist slogans and is firmly against abortion in The Villages they say a

Woman wants to have sex in the evening and the next morning have an abortion is that Catholic that’s not Catholic the town is strongly Catholic like large parts of Poland it has the highest birth rate in the country large families are held in high esteem

Here it’s a gift a miracle I think women should be fulfilled by motherhood as much as possible while the law and Justice party was in office major media Outlets tended to broadcast anti-abortion propaganda because they were under the influence of the right-wing populists journalists critical of the government were forced out including agneska

Mikov we meet her at Gdansk airport she works there as a press officer since being sacked by the state broadcaster I worked in radio for 25 years mostly doing political interviews I asked difficult and uncomfortable questions and the new team couldn’t accept that they didn’t want journalists asking them those kinds of

Questions eventually they tried to force us out and so we had to go aneska mov still prefers to watch the news on a privately run Channel instead of the public channel that was formerly dominated by the law and Justice party the broadcaster is now in a state of

Upheaval programs that spread Law And Justice party propaganda and celebrate leader yaroslav kajinski have been cut which hasn’t gone down well with everyone why did they shut down our Channel they liquidated it by force when they have no arguments they use violence why can’t I watch the Channel I want to watch

It I’m the one with the remote in my hand it’s my right for the sacked journalist it’s clear that Pro law Justice staff should now be fired in turn it’s the only way to achieve media balance there’s no doubt in my mind that most of these people acting like they

Have a journalistic mission have to go immediately they have to be fired is Poland heading for improved social cohesion or entrenched Division I really feel there’s hope for a big social change it’ll be difficult to make far-reaching changes now we’re at the beginning of this road we just want to be one

Society we’d really benefit from that the country and the World go

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