Walesa slams Poland's populist 'dictatorship'

Former Polish president and Nobel Peace laureate Lech Walesa, seen in 2016, said powerful right-wing politician Jaroslaw Kaczynski "wants to eliminate everything that disturbs him -- the constitutional court, the courts, parliament"

Poland's freedom icon Lech Walesa on Wednesday laid into the powerful boss of the governing right-wing party, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, asking if he was seeking to turn the country into "a dictatorship".

Walesa, a Nobel peace laureate and former president, has been highly critical of Kaczynski and his Law and Justice (PiS) party.

Since winning power in October 2015, the populist PiS administration has pushed through a string of overhauls that led to mass protests at home and an EU threat of sanctions over rule of law violations.

In an interview with German weekly Die Zeit, Walesa accused Kaczynski of going down an "undemocratic path".

"He wants to eliminate everything that disturbs him -- the constitutional court, the courts, parliament," said Walesa.

"The big question is: does he want dictatorship?" Walesa asked, adding that he "did not have an answer to the question at the moment".

The former unionist said that for him, "as a revolutionary, the question is whether our democracies are still able to withstand such populists".

He also called for a "sort of court that immediately detects lies spouted by populists and says 'You're lying! You swindler! You're a demagogue and not a politician!'."

Shipyard electrician Walesa won a Nobel Peace Prize in 1983 for leading Solidarity, the Soviet bloc's only free trade union.

He became Poland's first democratically elected president after negotiating a bloodless end to communism for the country in 1989.