Politics of Poland
Polityka polska (Polish)
|Polity type||Unitary semi-presidential constitutional republic|
|Constitution||1997 Constitution of Poland|
|Meeting place||Sejm and Senate Complex of Poland|
|Name||Senate of Poland|
|Presiding officer||Tomasz Grodzki, Marshal of the Senate|
|Presiding officer||Elżbieta Witek, Marshal of the Sejm|
|Appointer||Open-list proportional representation in 41 constituencies (5% national election threshold)|
|Head of State|
|Appointer||Direct popular vote|
|Head of Government|
|Name||Government of the Republic of Poland|
|Current cabinet||Cabinet of Mateusz Morawiecki|
|Deputy leader||Piotr Gliński, Deputy Prime Minister|
|Headquarters||Sejm and Senate Complex of Poland|
|Name||Judiciary of Poland|
|Chief judge||Julia Przyłębska|
The Government of Poland takes place in the framework of a unitary semi-presidential representative democratic republic,whereby the President is the head of state and the Prime Minister is the head of government.
Executive power is exercised, within the framework of a multi-party system, by the President and the Government, which consists of the Council of Ministers led by the Prime Minister. Its members are typically chosen from the majority party or coalition, in the lower house of parliament (the Sejm ), although exceptions to this rule are not uncommon. The government is formally announced by the President, and must pass a motion of confidence in the Sejm within two weeks.
Legislative power is vested in the two chambers of parliament, Sejm and Senate. Members of Sejm are elected by proportional representation, with the proviso that non-ethnic-minority parties must gain at least 5% of the national vote to enter the lower house. Currently five parties are represented. Parliamentary elections occur at least every four years.
The president, as the head of state, is the supreme commander of the Armed Forces, has the power to veto legislation passed by parliament, which may be overridden by a majority of three fifths, and can dissolve the parliament under certain conditions.Presidential elections occur every five years. When a majority of voters support the same candidate, he is declared the winner, while when there is no majority, the top two candidates participate in a runoff election.
The political system is defined in the Polish Constitution, which also guarantees a wide range of individual freedoms. The judicial branch plays a minor role in politics, apart from the Constitutional Tribunal, which can annul laws that violate the freedoms guaranteed in the constitution.
The Prime Minister proposes, the President appoints, and the Sejm approves the Council of Ministers. The President is elected by popular vote for a five-year term, the Prime minister and Deputy Prime Ministers (if any) are appointed by the President and confirmed by the Sejm. The Council of Ministers is responsible to the Prime Minister and the Sejm.
|President||Andrzej Duda||Law and Justice||6 August 2015|
|Prime Minister||Mateusz Morawiecki||Law and Justice||11 December 2017|
The President is elected by terms; as head of state, supreme commander of the Armed Forces, and supreme representative of the Republic of Poland. The President has the right to veto legislation, although veto may be overridden by the assembly with a three-fifths majority vote.The President, as representative of the state in foreign affairs, shall ratify and renounce international agreements, appoint and recall the plenipotentiary representatives of the Republic of Poland and shall cooperate with the Prime Minister and the appropriate minister in respect of foreign policy. As Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, the President shall appoint the Chief of the General Staff and commanders of branches of the Armed Forces.
The President may, regarding particular matters, convene the Cabinet Council, although it does not possess the competence of the Council of Ministers. Official acts of the President shall require, for their validity, the signature of the Prime Minister, nevertheless this does not apply to:
The Polish Parliament has two chambers. The lower chamber ( Sejm ) has 460 members, elected for a four-year term by proportional representation in multi-seat constituencies using the d'Hondt method similar to that used in many parliamentary political systems, with a 5% threshold (8% for coalitions, threshold waived for national minorities). The Senate (Senat) has 100 members elected for a four-year term under the single member, one-round first-past-the-post voting method. When sitting in joint session, members of the Sejm and Senate form the National Assembly, (Polish Zgromadzenie Narodowe). The National Assembly is formed on three occasions: Taking the oath of office by a new president, bringing an indictment against the President of the Republic to the Tribunal of State, and declaration of a President's permanent incapacity to exercise their duties due to the state of their health. Only the first kind has occurred to date. Since 1991 elections are supervised by the National Electoral Commission (Państwowa Komisja Wyborcza), whose administrative division is called the National Electoral Office (Krajowe Biuro Wyborcze).
Together with the tribunals, courts form part of the judiciary in Poland.Among the bodies that administer the justice system, the following are distinguished:
Moreover, in times of war, the Constitution allows for the establishment of extraordinary courts or the establishment of an ad hoc procedure.Court proceedings have at least two instances. The main laws regulating the operation of the judiciary are:
Judges are appointed by the President, at the request of the National Council of the Judiciary, for an indefinite period.They cannot belong to political parties or trade unions, are independent, and are subject only to the Constitution and statutes. They are entitled to immunity and personal inviolability. Judges are also irremovable and their removal from office or suspension requires a court decision. The participation of other citizens in the administration of justice is defined by law and boils down to the application of the system of a lay judge in the first instance in common and military courts.
The Supreme Court (Supreme Court) is a supervisory body over common and military courts.It is headed by the First President of the Supreme Court, appointed for a six-year term by the President of the Republic of Poland, from among candidates presented by the General Assembly of the Supreme Court of Justice. Until 2018, the Court was divided into four chambers: Civil, Criminal, Military and Labour, Social Security and Public Affairs. Since 2018, there are chambers: Civil, Criminal, Labour and Social Security, Extraordinary Control and Public Affairs, and Disciplinary. Apart from the General Assembly, the second body of judicial self-government is the College of the Supreme Court.
The common judiciary has three tiers.Its structure consists of district, regional and appellate courts. Common courts rule on criminal, civil, labor, economic and family law. Until 2001, there were also misdemeanor colleges, but the Constitution abolished their functioning.
Military courts are criminal courts, ruling primarily on crimes committed by soldiers on active military service.The structure of the military judiciary is made up of garrison courts and military district courts. The Criminal Chamber (until 2018, including the Military Chamber) of the Supreme Court acts as the second instance or court of cassation.
Administrative judiciary already existed in the Second Polish Republic, but it was abolished after World War II.Its gradual restoration began in 1980 with the creation of the Supreme Administrative Court (NSA). The current Constitution introduced the principle of two-instance procedures, which resulted in the establishment of voivodeship administrative courts adjudicating in the first instance. Administrative courts control the legality of administrative decisions, both against the governmental and self-governmental authorities. The President of the Supreme Administrative Court is appointed by the President for a six-year term, from among the candidates nominated by the General Assembly of Judges of the Supreme Administrative Court.
The National Council of the Judiciary is a body established to protect the independence of courts and judges.He submits applications to the President to appoint judges. It has the right to apply to the Constitutional Tribunal in matters relating to the compliance of normative acts with the Constitution in the area relating to the judiciary. The National Council of the Judiciary consists of: the First President of the Supreme Court, the Minister of Justice, the President of the Supreme Administrative Court, a person appointed by the President, 15 judges of the Supreme Court, common, administrative and military courts, four deputies and two senators. The term of office of elected members is four years. The chairman and two of his deputies are elected from among the members of the Council.
2019 Parliamentary Elections
|Law and Justice (PiS)||8,051,935||43.59||235||-5|
|Civic Coalition (KO)||5,060,355||27.40||134||-32|
|The Left (SLD)||2,319,946||12.56||49||+49|
|Polish Coalition (PSL)||1,578,523||8.55||30||-28|
|German Minority (MN)||32,094||0.17||1||±0|
|Nonpartisan local government activists (BS)||144,569||0.78||0||±0|
|Action of Disappointed Retirees and Pensioners (AZER)||5,448||0.03||0||±0|
|Right Wing of the Republic (PR)||1,765||0.01||0||-1|
|Blank and invalid votes||207,747||1.11|
|Registered voters / Turnout||30,253,556||61.74|
|(Source: National Electoral Commission)|
2020 Presidential Election
|Candidate||Party||First round||Second round|
|Andrzej Duda||Independent (PiS)||8,450,513||43.50||10,440,648||51.03|
|Rafał Trzaskowski||Civic Platform||5,917,340||30.46||10,018,263||48.97|
|Krzysztof Bosak||Confederation (RN)||1,317,380||6.78|
|Władysław Kosiniak-Kamysz||Polish People's Party||459,365||2.36|
|Stanisław Żółtek||Congress of the New Right||45,419||0.23|
|Marek Jakubiak||Federation for the Republic||33,652||0.17|
|Waldemar Witkowski||Labour Union||27,290||0.14|
|Mirosław Piotrowski||Real Europe Movement||21,065||0.11|
|Source: Results, Turnout (First round); Results, Turnout (Second round)|
Poland's top national security goal is to further integrate with NATO and other west European defense, economic, and political institutions via a modernization and reorganization of its military. Polish military doctrine reflects the same defense nature as its NATO partners.
The combinedPolish army consists of 100,300 active duty personnel and in addition 234,000 reserves. In 2009 the Armed Forces transformed into a fully professional organization and compulsory military service was abolished. Personnel levels and organization in the different branches are as follows (2004):
The Polish military continues to restructure and to modernize its equipment. The Polish Defense Ministry General Staff and the Land Forces staff have recently reorganized the latter into a NATO-compatible J/G-1 through J/G-6 structure. Budget constraints hamper such priority defense acquisitions as a multi-role fighter, improved communications systems, and an attack helicopter.
Poland continues to be a regional leader in support and participation in the NATO Partnership for Peace Program and has actively engaged most of its neighbors and other regional actors to build stable foundations for future European security arrangements. Poland continues its long record of strong support for United Nations peacekeeping operations; it maintaining a unit in Southern Lebanon (part of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, a battalion in NATO's Kosovo Force (KFOR), and providing and actually deploying the KFOR strategic reserve to Kosovo. Poland is a strong ally of the US in Europe, and it led the Multinational Division Central-South in Iraq in the 2000s.
The State Protection Service (Polish: Służba Ochrony Państwa, SOP) is Poland's equivalent of the Secret Service in the United States, providing antiterrorism and VIP security detail services for the government.
Poland is divided in 16 provinces or Voivodeships ( województwa , singular – województwo ): Lower Silesia, Kuyavia-Pomerania, Łódzkie, Lubelskie, Lubuskie, Lesser Poland, Masovian, Opolskie, Subcarpathia, Podlaskie, Pomerania, Silesia, Świętokrzyskie, Warmia-Masuria, Greater Poland and West Pomerania.
The President of the Council of Ministers, colloquially referred to as the prime minister, is the leader of the cabinet and the head of government of Poland. The current responsibilities and traditions of the office stem from the creation of the contemporary Polish state, and the office is defined in the Constitution of 1997. According to the Constitution, the president of Poland nominates and appoints the prime minister, who will then propose the composition of the cabinet. Fourteen days following their appointment, the prime minister must submit a programme outlining the government's agenda to the Sejm, requiring a vote of confidence. Conflicts stemming from both interest and powers have arisen between the offices of President and Prime Minister in the past.
The president of the Republic of Poland is the head of state of Poland. Their rights and obligations are determined in the Constitution of Poland. The president heads the executive branch. In addition, the president has a right to dissolve parliament in certain cases, can veto legislation and represents Poland in the international arena.
In 1989–1991, Poland engaged in a democratic transition which put an end to the Polish People's Republic and led to the foundation of a democratic government, known as the Third Polish Republic, following the First and Second Polish Republics. After ten years of democratic consolidation, Poland joined NATO in 1999 and the European Union in 2004.
The Senate is the upper house of the Polish parliament, the lower house being the Sejm. The history of the Polish Senate stretches back over 500 years; it was one of the first constituent bodies of a bicameral parliament in Europe and existed without hiatus until the final partition of the Polish state in 1795. The contemporary Senate is composed of 100 senators elected by a universal ballot and is headed by the "Marshal of the Senate". The incumbent Marshal of the Senate is Tomasz Grodzki.
The Council of State of the Republic of Poland was introduced by the Small Constitution of 1947 as an organ of executive power. The Council of State consisted of the President of the Republic of Poland as chairman, the Marshal and Vice-marshals of the Sejm, President of the Supreme Audit Office, and potential other members. The Council of State had the power to approve decrees issued by the Council of Ministers, exercise supreme control over the local national councils, approve promulgation of laws concerning the budget and military draft, declare a state of emergency and martial law, initiate legislation, and others.
Poland does not legally recognize same-sex unions, either in the form of marriage or civil unions. In 2012, the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples have limited legal rights in regards to the tenancy of a shared household. A few laws also guarantee certain limited rights for unmarried couples, including couples of the same sex. Same-sex spouses also have access to residency rights under EU law.
Elections in Poland refers to the election process as well as the election results in Poland. Poland has a multi-party political system. On the national level, Poland elects the head of state – the president – and a legislature. There are also various local elections, referendums and elections to the European Parliament.
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people in Poland face legal challenges not faced by non-LGBT residents. According to ILGA-Europe's 2021 report, the status of LGBTQ rights in Poland is the worst among European Union countries.
The Supreme Court is the highest court in the Republic of Poland. It is located in the Krasiński Square, Warsaw.
The Council of Ministers of the Republic of Poland is the collective executive decision-making body of the Polish government. The cabinet consists of the Prime Minister, also known as the President of the Council of Ministers, the Deputy Prime Minister, who acts as a vice-president of the council, and other ministers. The current competences and procedures of the cabinet are described between Articles 146 to 162 of the constitution.
The Constitutional Tribunal is the constitutional court of the Republic of Poland, a judicial body established to resolve disputes on the constitutionality of the activities of state institutions; its main task is to supervise the compliance of statutory law with the Constitution of the Republic of Poland.
There is no official document specifying the order of precedence in Poland. In practice, the precedence of officials in Poland is based on an outdated informal instruction dating back to 1992. Polish civil servants responsible for the protocol often need to make ad hoc decisions based on tradition, general rules of etiquette and common sense.
The Polish law or legal system in Poland has been developing since the first centuries of Polish history, over 1,000 years ago. The public and private laws of Poland are codified.
The Constitution of the Polish People's Republic was a supreme law passed in communist-ruled Poland on 22 July 1952. It superseded the post-World War II provisional Small Constitution of 1947, which in turn replaced the pre-war April Constitution of 1935.
The Constitution of the Kingdom of Poland was granted to the 'Congress' Kingdom of Poland by the King of Poland, Alexander I of Russia, who was obliged to issue a constitution to the newly recreated Polish state under his domain as specified by the Congress of Vienna. It was considered among the most liberal constitutions of its time; however, it was never fully respected by the government. It was modified during the November Uprising by the revolutionary government and discarded afterwards by the victorious Russian authorities.
Andrzej Sebastian Duda is a Polish lawyer and politician who has served as President of Poland since 6 August 2015. Before becoming president, Duda was a member of the Polish Lower House of Parliament (Sejm) from 2011 to 2014 and served as an MEP from 2014 to 2015.
Coalition for the Renewal of the Republic – Liberty and Hope (KORWiN), since 8 October 2016 known also as Liberty, is a free market-capitalist, mostly paleolibertarian and Eurosceptic political party in Poland established in 2015 by Janusz Korwin-Mikke as a result of his removal from Congress of the New Right, his former party. Among the party's other members are Przemysław Wipler, who held a seat in the Polish Sejm and Robert Iwaszkiewicz, Member of the European Parliament. The party's Polish name was originally a backronym of the founder's name Korwin-Mikke, who took part in the 2015 presidential election.
The Polish Constitutional Court crisis of 2015 is a political conflict in Poland starting in the second semester of 2015 over the appointment of five of the 15 judges of the Constitutional Tribunal.
Igor Zygmunt Tuleya is a Polish lawyer, judge at the district court of Warsaw and former spokesperson for this court. He's known for his criticism on government prosecutorial practices and his protests against judicial reforms, which he sees as a threat to the independence of the Polish judiciary.
The 2015–present Polish constitutional crisis, also known as the Polish rule-of-law crisis, is a political conflict where the Polish government is accused of failing to adhere to European and Polish constitutional law. The conflict was precipitated by the 2015 Polish Constitutional Court crisis where the 2015 elections allowed the Law and Justice party to take control of both the presidency and parliament. With this government trifecta as a result of its participation in the United Right, PiS used its power to appoint judges to the Constitutional Tribunal in 2015. The government of Poland continued to expand its hold on the judiciary resulting in the 2017 Supreme Court crisis, and the 2019 Polish judicial disciplinary panel law. These events have allowed the legislature and executive of the Polish government to have de facto control over judges and their appointments.
Duhamel has developed the approach further: He stresses that the French construction does not correspond to either parliamentary or the presidential form of government, and then develops the distinction of 'système politique' and 'régime constitutionnel'. While the former comprises the exercise of power that results from the dominant institutional practice, the latter is the totality of the rules for the dominant institutional practice of the power. In this way, France appears as 'presidentialist system' endowed with a 'semi-presidential regime' (1983: 587). By this standard he recognizes Duverger's pléiade as semi-presidential regimes, as well as Poland, Romania, Bulgaria and Lithuania (1993: 87).Cite journal requires
Even if the president has no discretion in the forming of cabinets or the right to dissolve parliament, his or her constitutional authority can be regarded as 'quite considerable' in Duverger's sense if cabinet legislation approved in parliament can be blocked by the people’s elected agent. Such powers are especially relevant if an extraordinary majority is required to override a veto, as in Mongolia, Poland, and Senegal. In these cases, while the government is fully accountable to parliament, it cannot legislate without taking the potentially different policy preferences of the president into account.