Constitution. – With the first Polish constitution, voted on March 17, 1921, the resurrected Polish state took on a clearly democratic-parliamentarian aspect. Immediately after the march on Warsaw, with the law of August 2, 1926, two important changes were made which gave the head of state the power to dissolve parliament early and without its consent, and to issue, with special modalities, decree-laws. .
But only recently did the government present to Parliament the draft of the new constitution which the sejm (chamber of deputies) immediately approved (January 26, 1934) and to which the senate (January 16, 1935) made changes which in turn were ratified by the seim il March 26, 1935 with 260 to 139 votes. For Poland government and politics, please check a2zgov.com.
The new constitution, which entered into force on 23 April, after the signature of the president of the republic, consists of 81 articles (that of 1921 had 126) divided into 14 chapters. The first chapter (art. 3) lists the organs of the state “subject to the sovereignty of the president of the republic”, ie government, seim, senate, armed forces, courts, state control.
The second chapter specifies, in 14 articles (art. 11-24), the figure of the president of the republic. He “harmonises the activity of the higher organs of the state” (art. 11), “is not responsible for government acts” (art. 15), of which only those that do not emanate from his prerogatives must be countersigned (art. 14). These prerogatives are: to designate one of the candidates for the presidency of the republic; appoint and dismiss the president of the council of ministers, the first president of the supreme court and the president of the supreme control chamber; appoint and dismiss the commander-in-chief and the inspector general of the armed forces; choose the judges of the state court; to dissolve the sejm and the senate before the expiry of the term; refer members of the government to the state court; exercise the right of pardon (art.13). The countersignature of the prime minister and the competent minister is required for his other acts of government, and more precisely: for the appointment of ministers, on the proposal of the prime minister; for the convocation and dissolution of the sejm; for the supreme command of the armed forces; for the decisions of war and peace; for the conclusion and ratification of agreements with other states; for sending representatives of the Polish state (art. 12). for the conclusion and ratification of agreements with other states; for sending representatives of the Polish state (art. 12). for the conclusion and ratification of agreements with other states; for sending representatives of the Polish state (art. 12).
While according to the previous constitution the president was elected by the national assembly composed of the diet and the senate, now the election takes place in the following way: an assembly of electors (composed of the marshals of the senate and the sejm, the president of the council, the first president of the supreme court, of the inspector general of the armed forces and of 75 electors chosen, among the most worthy citizens, two thirds from the sejm and one third from the senate, art.17) designates the candidate. Another candidate may be designated by the outgoing president: in this case the choice between the two candidates is deferred to a plebiscite. However, if the outgoing president does not make use of his right, then the candidate of the assembly of electors is certainly elected (art. 16). The president remains in office for seven years (art.20), in case of war up to three months after the conclusion of the peace (art. 24). In case of vacancy of the presidency office of the republic, the functions of the president belong to the marshal of the senate (art. 23).
The president of the republic has the faculty to dissolve the parliament, before or after the intervention of the senate (art. 29). The preponderance of parliament, sanctioned by the 1921 constitution, is thus eliminated not only in favor of the president of the Republic, supreme moderator of the state, but also, albeit in a subordinate line, by the government.
The sejm (articles 31-45) retains its legislative and financial function (examination and approval of the budget, establishment of taxes). The mandate is five years. The active right of election belongs to all citizens, regardless of sex, who, in full possession of civil and political rights, have reached the age of 24; the passive right belongs to anyone with the right to vote and thirty years of age (art. 33). Suffrage is universal, secret, equal and direct (art. 32).
The members of the senate, which has an exclusively controlling function, are nominated for one third by the president of the republic, for two thirds) on the basis of elections. The procedure for these elections, as well as the number of senators, will be established by a specific regulation.
Articles 49-57 contain the rules of the legislation. Legislative acts are the laws and decrees of the president of the republic (art. 49). The right of legislative initiative belongs both to the government and to the sejm, but in matters of budget, of the recruitment quota and of the ratification of international agreements, it belongs solely to the government (art. 50). Commercial or customs treaties with foreign states that involve new encumbrances or changes in borders require, before ratification, the consent of the legislative chambers (Article 52). The bill, approved by the sejm, is submitted to the Senate for examination; if this rejects it, or introduces modifications, the resolutions of the Senate are considered approved,of votes (art.53). However, the president of the republic may request a new examination of the bill by the sejm, and only if the parliament, by a majority of votes, approves it a second time without changes, the president ratifies it and orders its publication (art. 54).
A special law can authorize the president of the republic to issue decrees, according to the rules established by it. He has the right to issue decrees without any doubt, except on the matters expressly listed, in case of necessity and when the sejm is dissolved (art. 55).
Finally, the decrees concerning the organization of the government, the direction of the armed forces and the administrative organization are reserved to the exclusive competence of the president of the republic (art. 56). The draft budget is presented to the sejm by the government. However, the President of the Republic has the right to publish the financial statements: a) in the text established, within the prescribed time limits, by the legislative chambers; b) in the text established by the sejm, if the senate has not examined it within the prescribed period; c) in the text fixed by the senate, if the sejm has not examined the project or the modifications made by the senate within the prescribed period; d) in the text of the government project, if this has not been examined, within the prescribed period, either by the sejm or by the senate (art. 58).
To judge matters concerning ministers, senators and deputies, subject to constitutional responsibility, the state court is convened, composed of the first president of the supreme court, as president, and six judges.
In addition to the governmental administration, the organs of the state administration are the autonomous territorial and economic entities (art. 72). The organization of the government administration will be established by decree of the president of the republic (art. 74).
The supreme control chamber, whose president is appointed by the president of the republic, is independent of the government. It financially controls the administration of the state as well as the public-legal institutions; examines the closure of state accounts; annually submits proposals for financial approval to the government to the sejm (art. 77).
The art. 78 specifies the cases in which the council of ministers, with the permission of the president of the republic, can decree the exceptional status on all or part of the state territory. If the legislative chambers demand the withdrawal of the provision – within the prescribed manner – the government is required to withdraw it immediately. The president of the republic is responsible for the proclamation of a state of war, if the need arises to resort to the armed forces for the defense of the state. For the duration of the state of war, he has the right, without the authorization of the legislative chambers, to issue decrees in the field of state legislation (art. 79).
The constitution can be modified, in the manner established by art. 80, on the initiative of the President of the Republic, the Government or 1 / 4 of the number of deputies fixed by law.
According to the administrative division of January 1, 1934. (see the previous table), the territory of the state includes the city of Warsaw and 16 voivodships or provinces (województwa), divided into 264 districts (powiaty), with 637 cities and 14.609 rural municipalities and state-owned land.