President of the Republic of Poland
Prezydent Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej (Polish)
Incumbent
Andrzej Duda
since 6 August 2015
Executive branch of the Polish Government
StyleMr. President
(informal)
His Excellency
(diplomatic)
StatusHead of state
Commander-in-chief
Member of
ResidencePresidential Palace
Warsaw
AppointerPopular vote
Term lengthFive years, renewable once
Constituting instrumentConstitution of Poland
PrecursorChief of State
Formation11 December 1922; 101 years ago (1922-12-11)
First holderGabriel Narutowicz
DeputyMarshal of the Sejm
Salary294,000 annually[1]
WebsiteOfficial website

The president of Poland (Polish: Prezydent RP), officially the president of the Republic of Poland (Polish: Prezydent Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej), is the head of state of the Republic of Poland. Their rights and obligations are determined in the Constitution of Poland. The president heads the executive branch. In addition, the president has the right to dissolve parliament in certain cases, can veto legislation, represents Poland in the international arena, and is the commander-in-chief.

History

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The first president of Poland, Gabriel Narutowicz, was sworn in as president of the Second Polish Republic on 11 December 1922. He was elected by the National Assembly (the Sejm and the Senate) under the terms of the 1921 March Constitution. Narutowicz was assassinated on 16 December 1922. Previously Józef Piłsudski had been "Chief of State" (Naczelnik Państwa) under the provisional Small Constitution of 1919. In 1926 Piłsudski staged the "May Coup", overthrew President Stanisław Wojciechowski and had the National Assembly elect a new one, Ignacy Mościcki, thus establishing the "Sanation regime". Before Piłsudski's death, parliament passed a more authoritarian 1935 April Constitution of Poland (not in accord with the amendment procedures of the 1921 March Constitution).[2] Mościcki continued as president until he resigned in 1939 in the aftermath of the German invasion of Poland. Mościcki and his government went into exile in Romania, where Mościcki was interned. In Angers, France, Władysław Raczkiewicz, at the time the speaker of the Senate, assumed the presidency after Mościcki's resignation on 29 September 1939.[3] Following the fall of France, the president and the Polish government-in-exile were evacuated to London, United Kingdom. The transfer from Mościcki to Raczkiewicz was in accordance with Article 24 of the 1935 April Constitution.[4][5] Raczkiewicz was followed by a succession of presidents in exile, of whom the last one was Ryszard Kaczorowski.

In 1945–54, Poland became a part of Soviet-controlled central-eastern Europe. Bolesław Bierut assumed the reins of government and in July 1945 was internationally recognised as the head of state. The Senate was abolished in 1946 by the Polish people's referendum. When the Sejm passed the Small Constitution of 1947, based in part on the 1921 March Constitution, Bierut was elected president by that body. He served until the Constitution of the Polish People's Republic of 1952 eliminated the office of the president.[6] replacing it with a collective leadership called the Council of State (Polish: Rada Państwa).

Following the 1989 amendments to the constitution which restored the presidency,[7] general Wojciech Jaruzelski, the existing head of state, took office. In Poland's first direct presidential election, Lech Wałęsa won and was sworn in on 22 December 1990. The office of the president was preserved in the Constitution of Poland passed in 1997; the constitution now provides the requirements for, the duties of and the authority of the office.

The topic of creation the presidency role as a single-person position was meant to safeguard slow, gentle political change to keep the interests of the ruling party. By March 1989, a compromise regarding the creation of the institution of the presidency was reached between the government and the opposition. In return for a constitutionally defined presidency with various competences, the ruling party agreed to relinquish its position as managing organ within the state. The presidency would be created along with the restoration of a freely elected upper house, the Senate. The president would be elected by a joint session of the lower house (Sejm) and the Senate. By this way, representatives of the opposition, sitting in the Senate, would be involved in the political process of electing the president.[8]

The Small constitution of October 17, 1992 created a parliamentarisation of the political system and while the presidency remained in the active model, it was deprived of far-reaching governing powers.

In recent years, newly elected presidents have renounced formal ties with their political party before taking office.

Election

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The president of Poland is elected directly by the people to serve for five years and can be reelected only once. Pursuant to the provisions of the Constitution, the president is elected by an absolute majority. If no candidate succeeds in passing this threshold, a second round of voting is held with the participation of the two candidates with the largest and second largest number of votes respectively.

In order to be registered as a candidate in the presidential election, one must be a Polish citizen, be at least 35 years old on the day of the first round of the election, and collect at least 100,000 signatures of registered voters.

Powers

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The Presidential Palace in Warsaw. It serves as the official seat of presidency.

Article 126 paragraph 1 states that the president is the supreme representative of the state, rather than the people, a privilege reserved for the deputies of the Sejm and senators of the Senate. The constitution confirms the president the role of securing the continuity of state authority. The position of the presidency has an arbiter function (while not directly mentioned, unlike France or Romania), with the president playing a major role in the political system, assisted by set of legal instruments with which they can exert influence on the organs of state authority and the political system.[9]

The president has a free choice in selecting the prime minister, yet in practice they usually give the task of forming a new government to a politician supported by the political party with the majority of seats in the Sejm (usually, though not always, it is the leader of that political party).

The president has the right to initiate the legislative process. They also have the opportunity to directly influence it by using their veto to stop a bill; however, a veto can be overruled by a three-fifths majority vote in the presence of at least half of the statutory number of members of the Sejm (230). Before signing a bill into law, the president can also ask the Constitutional Tribunal to verify its compliance with the Constitution, which in practice bears a decisive influence on the legislative process.

In their role as supreme representative of the Polish state, the president has the power to ratify and revoke international agreements, nominates and recalls ambassadors, and formally accepts the accreditations of representatives of other states. The president also makes decisions on award of highest academic titles, as well as state distinctions and orders. In addition, they have the right of clemency, viz. they can dismiss final court verdicts (in practice, the president consults such decisions with the minister of justice).

The president is also the supreme commander of the armed forces; they appoint the chief of the general staff and the commanders of all of the service branches; in wartime they nominate the commander-in-chief of the armed forces and can order a general mobilisation. The president performs their duties with the help of the following offices: the Chancellery of the President, the Office of National Security, and the Body of Advisors to the President.

Presidential residencies and properties

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The Belweder Palace, often known simply as 'Belvedere', is the traditional (now secondary) official residence of the president.

Several properties are owned by the Office of the President and are used by the head of state as their official residence, private residence, residence for visiting foreign officials etc.

Acting president of Poland

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The office of the president at the Presidential Palace in Warsaw

The constitution states that the president is an elected office, there is no directly elected presidential line of succession. If the president is unable to execute their powers and duties, the marshal of the Sejm will have the powers of a president for a maximum of 60 days until elections are called.

On 10 April 2010, a plane carrying Polish president Lech Kaczyński, his wife, and 94 others including many Polish officials crashed near Smolensk North Airport in Russia; there were no survivors.[10] Bronisław Komorowski took over acting presidential powers following the incident. On 8 July, Komorowski resigned from the office of Marshal of the Sejm after winning the presidential election. According to the constitution, the acting president then became the marshal of the Senate, Bogdan Borusewicz. In the afternoon Grzegorz Schetyna was elected as a new marshal of the Sejm and he became acting president. Schetyna served as the interim head of state until the swearing-in of Komorowski on 6 August.

Former presidents

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Within Poland, former presidents are entitled to lifetime personal security protection by State Protection Service officers, in addition to receiving a substantial pension and a private office. On 10 April 2010, Lech Kaczyński, president at the time, along with Ryszard Kaczorowski, the last president-in-exile although not internationally recognised, died in the crash of a Polish Air Force Tu-154 en route to Russia.[11]

See also

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References

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  1. ^ "Zarobki Prezydenta RP".
  2. ^ Garlicki, Andrzej (2001). "Majowa, marcowa, kwietniowa: Kto nam pisał konstytucje (The valley between the March and the April: We who wrote the constitutions)" (in Polish). Polityki Cyfrowej. Archived from the original on 18 October 2007., which first appeared in Garlicki, Andrzej (2001). "Kto nam pisał konstytucje: majowa, marcowa, kwietniowa". Polityka. 2001 (11): 78, 80, 82.
  3. ^ Rojek, Wojciech (2004). "Chapter 4: The government of the Republic of Poland in exile, 1945–92". In Stachura, Peter D. (ed.). The Poles in Britain 1940–2000: from betrayal to assimilation. London: Frank Cass. p. 33. ISBN 978-0-7146-5562-8.
  4. ^ Garliński, Józef (1985). Poland in the Second World War. Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire, England: Macmillan. p. 48. ISBN 978-0-333-39258-4.
  5. ^ Jędrzejewicz, Wacław, ed. (1946). Poland in the British Parliament 1939–1945 Volume I: British guarantees to Poland to the Atlantic Charter (March 1939 – August 1941). New York: Jósef Piłsudski Institute of America for Research in the Modern History of Poland. p. 318. OCLC 312889779.
  6. ^ Simons, William B. (1980). "Constitution of the Polish People's Republic". In Simons, William B. (ed.). The Constitutions of the Communist World. Alphen ann den Rijn, the Netherlands: Sijthoff & Noordhoff. pp. 288–310. ISBN 978-90-286-0070-6.
  7. ^ "Ustawa z dnia 29 grudnia 1989 r. o zmianie Konstytucji Polskiej Rzeczypospolitej Ludowej (An Act of 29 December 1989 to amend the Constitution of the Polish People's Republic)". Dz.U. 1989 Nr. 75, pos 444 (in Polish). Sejm, Government of Poland. Archived from the original on 15 April 2012.
  8. ^ Tomasz Słomka (2021). "How the means of electing the President of Poland acts to distort roles within the country's political system" (PDF). Studia Politologiczne. Retrieved 18 September 2023.
  9. ^ Tomasz Słomka (2021). "How the means of electing the President of Poland acts to distort roles within the country's political system" (PDF). Studia Politologiczne. Retrieved 18 September 2023.
  10. ^ "Polish President Lech Kaczynski dies in plane crash ", BBC, 10 April 2010, Retrieved 10 April 2010
  11. ^ Kulish, Nicholas (10 April 2010). "Polish President Dies in Jet Crash in Russia". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 11 April 2010.
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