People in Poland have voted out the right-wing government after eight years.
Since it came to power in 2015, the ruling Law and Justice party has eroded democracy and attacked human rights by taking away the independence of the country’s top court.
The constitutional court is supposed to be an independent branch of the government that ensures laws passed by the government are consistent with the country’s constitution.
But the Law and Justice party has replaced the panel of judges with those who are loyal to them.
This has made it easier for the party to pass laws that attack democracy, press freedom, as well as women’s and LGBTQ rights.
The government has now banned abortion in almost all cases and supported more than 90 regions in becoming “LGBT-free” zones – areas that are unwelcoming of “LGBTQ ideology”.
In 2021, the government announced a new law that banned same-sex couples from adopting children.
LGBT rights in Poland is now one of the worst in European Union countries, according to the 2021 report by ILGA-Europe, a leading LGBTQ advocacy group.
Since 2015, numerous protests have broken out against the various rulings and changes.
Just in June, hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets of Warsaw in a huge, unprecedented protest against the government.
And on Oct. 15, a record 74% of voters turned out to vote in the elections.
Although the Law and Justice party still received the most votes at 35%, it is unlikely to find a coalition partner and form a government.
Meanwhile, the three main center-left opposition groups won 54% of the votes together – enough to form a government.
Turnout among young people aged between 18 and 29 reached 69%, a massive jump from 46% in the previous elections in 2019.
The opposition groups, led by former prime minister and European Council president Donald Tusk, have now requested the president allow them to form a government.
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