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THE CONSTITUTION OF THE REPUBLIC OF POLAND

As adopted by the National Assembly

on 2nd April 1997

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Chapter I

THE REPUBLIC

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Article 4

1. Supreme power in the Republic of Poland shall be vested in the Nation.

2. The Nation shall exercise such power directly or through their representatives.

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Article 10

1. The system of government of the Republic of Poland shall be based on the separation of and balance between the legislative, executive and judicial powers.

2. Legislative power shall be vested in the Sejm and the Senate, executive power shall be vested in the President of the Republic of Poland and the Council of Ministers, and the judicial power shall be vested in courts and tribunals.

Article 11

1. The Republic of Poland shall ensure freedom for the creation and functioning of political parties. Political parties shall be founded on the principle of voluntariness and upon the equality of Polish citizens, and their purpose shall be to influence the formulation of the policy of the State by democratic means.

2. The financing of political parties shall be open to public inspection.

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Chapter II

THE FREEDOMS, RIGHTS AND OBLIGATIONS

OF PERSONS AND CITIZENS

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POLITICAL FREEDOMS AND RIGHTS

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Article 62

1. If, no later than on the day of vote, he has attained 18 years of age, a Polish citizen shall have the right to participate in a referendum and the right to vote for the President of the Republic of Poland as well as representatives to the Sejm and Senate and organs of local self-government.

2. Persons who, by a final judgment of a court, have been subjected to legal incapacitation or deprived of public or electoral rights, shall have no right to participate in a referendum nor a right to vote.

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Chapter III

SOURCES OF LAW

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Article 90

1. The Republic of Poland may, by virtue of international agreements, delegate to an international organization or international institution the competence of organs of State authority in relation to certain matters.

2. A statute, granting consent for ratification of an international agreement referred to in para.1, shall be passed by the Sejm by a two-thirds majority vote in the presence of at least half of the statutory number of Deputies, and by the Senate by a two-thirds majority vote in the presence of at least half of the statutory number of Senators.

3. Granting of consent for ratification of such agreement may also be passed by a nationwide referendum in accordance with the provisions of Article 125.

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Chapter IV

THE SEJM AND THE SENATE

Article 95

1. Legislative power in the Republic of Poland shall be exercised by the Sejm and the Senate.

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ELECTIONS AND THE TERM OF OFFICE

Article 96

1. The Sejm shall be composed of 460 Deputies.

2. Elections to the Sejm shall be universal, equal, direct and proportional and shall be conducted by secret ballot.

Article 97

1. The Senate shall be composed of 100 Senators.

2. Elections to the Senate shall be universal, direct and shall be conducted by secret ballot.

Article 98

1. The Sejm and the Senate shall be chosen each for a 4-year term of office. The term of office of the Sejm and Senate shall begin on the day on which the Sejm assembles for its first sitting and shall continue until the day preceding the assembly of the Sejm of the succeeding term of office.

2. Elections to the Sejm and the Senate shall be ordered by the President of the Republic no later than 90 days before the expiry of the 4 year period beginning with the commencement of the Sejm's and Senate's term of office, and he shall order such elections to be held on a non-working day which shall be within the 30 day period before the expiry of the 4 year period beginning from the commencement of the Sejm's and Senate's term of office.

3. The Sejm may shorten its term of office by a resolution passed by a majority of at least two-thirds of the votes of the statutory number of Deputies. Any shortening of the term of office of the Sejm shall simultaneously mean a shortening of the term of office of the Senate. The provisions of para. 5 above shall apply as appropriate.

4. The President of the Republic, after seeking the opinion of the Marshal of the Sejm and the Marshal of the Senate, may, in those instances specified in the Constitution, order shortening of the Sejm's term of office. Whenever the term of office of the Sejm has been so shortened, then the term of office of the Senate shall also be shortened.

5. The President of the Republic, when ordering the shortening of the Sejm's term of office, shall simultaneously order elections to the Sejm and the Senate, and shall order them to be held on a day falling no later than within the 45 day period from the day of the official announcement of Presidential order on the shortening of the Sejm's term of office. The President of the Republic shall summon the first sitting of the newly elected Sejm no later than the 15th day after the day on which the elections were held.

6. In the event of shortening of the Sejm's term of office, the provisions of para. 1 above shall apply as appropriate.

Article 99

1. Every citizen having the right to vote, who, no later than on the day of the elections, has attained the age of 21 years, shall be eligible to be elected to the Sejm.

2. Every citizen having the right to vote, who, no later than on the day of the elections, has attained the age of 30 years, shall be eligible to be elected to the Senate.

Article 100

1. Candidates for Deputies and Senators may be nominated by political parties or voters.

2. No one may stand for election to the Sejm and the Senate at the same time.

3. The principles of and procedures for the nomination of candidates and the conduct of the elections, as well as the requirements for validity of the elections, shall be specified by statute.

Article 101

1. The Supreme Court shall adjudicate upon the validity of the elections to the Sejm and the Senate.

2. A voter shall have the right to submit a complaint to the Supreme Court against the validity of the elections in accordance with principles specified by statute.

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REFERENDUM

Article 125

1. A nationwide referendum may be held in respect of matters of particular importance to the State.

2. The right to order a nationwide referendum shall be vested in the Sejm, to be taken by an absolute majority of votes in the presence of at least half of the statutory number of Deputies, or in the President of the Republic with the consent of the Senate given by an absolute majority vote taken in the presence of at least half of the statutory number of Senators.

3. A result of a nationwide referendum shall be binding, if more than half of the number of those having the right to vote have participated in it.

4. The validity of a nationwide referendum and the referendum referred to in Article 235, para. 6, shall be determined by the Supreme Court.

5. The principles of and procedures for the holding of a referendum shall be specified by statute.

Chapter V

THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF POLAND

Article 126

1. The President of the Republic of Poland shall be the supreme representative of the Republic of Poland and the guarantor of the continuity of State authority.

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Article 127

1. The President of the Republic shall be elected by the Nation, in universal, equal and direct elections, conducted by secret ballot.

2. The President of the Republic shall be elected for a 5-year term of office and may be re-elected only for one more term.

3. Only a Polish citizen who, no later than the day of the elections, has attained 35 years of age and has a full electoral franchise in elections to the Sejm, may be elected President of the Republic. Any such candidature shall be supported by the signatures of at least 100,000 citizens having the right to vote in elections to the Sejm.

4. A candidate who has received more than half of the valid votes shall be considered elected President of the Republic. If none of the candidates has received the required majority of votes, then a repeat ballot shall be held on the 14th day after the first vote.

5. The two candidates who have received the largest number of votes in the first ballot shall participate in a repeat ballot. If one of the two such candidates withdraws his consent to candidacy, forfeits his electoral rights or dies, he shall be replaced in the repeat ballot by the candidate who received the next highest consecutive number of votes in the first ballot. In such case, the date of the repeat ballot shall be extended by a further 14 days.

6. The candidate who receives the higher number of votes in the repeat ballot shall be elected President of the Republic.

7. The principles of and procedure for nominating candidates and conducting the elections, as well as the requirements for validity of the election of the President of the Republic, shall be specified by statute.

Article 128

1. The term of office of the President of the Republic shall commence on the date of his assuming such office.

2. The election of the President of the Republic shall be ordered by the Marshal of the Sejm to be held on a day no sooner than 100 days and no later than 75 days before expiry of the term of office of the serving President of the Republic, and in the event of the office of President of the Republic falling vacant - no later than the 14th day thereafter, specifying the date of the election which shall be on a non-working day and within a period of 60 days of the day of ordering the election.

Article 129

1. The Supreme Court shall adjudicate upon the validity of the election of the President of the Republic.

2. A voter shall have the right to submit a complaint to the Supreme Court concerning the validity of the election of the President of the Republic in accordance with principles specified by statute.

3. In the event of the election of the President of the Republic being judged invalid, a new election shall be held in accordance with the principles prescribed in Article 128, para. 2 in relation to a vacancy in the office of President of the Republic.

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Article 144

1. The President of the Republic, exercising his constitutional and statutory authority, shall issue Official Acts.

2. Official Acts of the President shall require, for their validity, the signature of the Prime Minister who, by such signature, accepts responsibility therefor to the Sejm.

3. The provisions of para. 2 above shall not relate to:

1) proclaiming elections to the Sejm and to the Senate;

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5) proclaiming the holding of a nationwide referendum;

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Chapter VI

THE COUNCIL OF MINISTERS AND GOVERNMENT ADMINISTRATION

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Article 154

1. The President of the Republic shall nominate a Prime Minister who shall propose the composition of a Council of Ministers. The President of the Republic shall, within 14 days of the first sitting of the Sejm or acceptance of the resignation of the previous Council of Ministers, appoint a Prime Minister together with other members of a Council of Ministers and accept the oaths of office of members of such newly appointed Council of Ministers.

2. The Prime Minister shall, within 14 days following the day of his appointment by the President of the Republic, submit a programme of activity of the Council of Ministers to the Sejm, together with a motion requiring a vote of confidence. The Sejm shall pass such vote of confidence by an absolute majority of votes in the presence of at least half of the statutory number of Deputies.

3. In the event that a Council of Ministers has not been appointed pursuant to para.1 above or has failed to obtain a vote of confidence in accordance with para. 2 above, the Sejm, within 14 days of the end of the time periods specified in paras 1 and 2, shall choose a Prime Minister as well as members of the Council of Ministers as proposed by him, by an absolute majority of votes in the presence of at least half of the statutory number of Deputies. The President of the Republic shall appoint the Council of Ministers so chosen and accept the oaths of office of its members.

Article 155

1. In the event that a Council of Ministers has not been appointed pursuant to the provisions of Article 154, para. 3, the President of the Republic shall, within a period of 14 days, appoint a Prime Minister and, on his application, other members of the Council of Ministers. The Sejm, within 14 days following the appointment of the Council of Ministers by the President of the Republic, shall hold, in the presence of at least half of the statutory number of Deputies, a vote of confidence thereto.

2. In the event that a vote of confidence has not been granted to the Council of Ministers pursuant to para. 1, the President of the Republic shall shorten the term of office of the Sejm and order elections to be held.

Chapter VII

LOCAL SELF-GOVERNMENT

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Article 164

1. The commune (gmina) shall be the basic unit of local self-government.

2. Other units of regional and/or local self-government shall be specified by statute.

3. The commune shall perform all tasks of local self-government not reserved to other units of local self-government.

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Article 169

1. Units of local self-government shall perform their duties through constitutive and executive organs.

2. Elections to constitutive organs shall be universal, direct, equal and shall be conducted by secret ballot. The principles and procedures for submitting candidates and for the conduct of elections, as well as the requirements for the validity of elections, shall be specified by statute.

3. The principles and procedures for the election and dismissal of executive organs of units of local self-government shall be specified by statute.

4. The internal organizational structure of units of local self-government shall be specified, within statutory limits, by their constitutive organs.

Article 170

Members of a self-governing community may decide, by means of a referendum, matters concerning their community, including the dismissal of an organ of local self-government established by direct election. The principles of and procedures for conducting a local referendum shall be specified by statute.

Article 171

1. The legality of actions by a local self-government shall be subject to review.

2. The organs exercising review over the activity of units of local self-government shall be: the Prime Minister and voivodes and regarding financial matters - regional audit chambers.

3. On a motion of the Prime Minister, the Sejm may dissolve a constitutive organ of local self-government if it has flagrantly violated the Constitution or a statute.

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Chapter VIII

COURTS AND TRIBUNALS

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THE CONSTITUTIONAL TRIBUNAL

Article 188

The Constitutional Tribunal shall adjudicate regarding the following matters:

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4) the conformity to the Constitution of the purposes or activities of political parties;

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Chapter XI

EXTRAORDINARY MEASURES

Article 228

1. In situations of particular danger, if ordinary constitutional measures are inadequate, any of the following appropriate extraordinary measures may be introduced: martial law, a state of emergency or a state of natural disaster.

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6. During a period of introduction of extraordinary measures, the following shall not be subject to change: the Constitution, the Acts on Elections to the Sejm, the Senate and organs of local self-governments, the Act on Elections to the Presidency, as well as statutes on extraordinary measures.

7. During a period of introduction of extraordinary measures, as well as within the period of 90 days following its termination, the term of office of the Sejm may not be shortened, nor may a nationwide referendum, nor elections to the Sejm, Senate, organs of local self-government nor elections for the Presidency be held, and the term of office of such organs shall be appropriately prolonged. Elections to organs of local self-government shall be possible only in those places where the extraordinary measures have not been introduced.

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Chapter XII

AMENDING THE CONSTITUTION

Article 235

1. A bill to amend the Constitution may be submitted by the following: at least one-fifth of the statutory number of Deputies; the Senate; or the President of the Republic.

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6. If a bill to amend the Constitution relates to the provisions Chapters I, II or XII, the subjects specified in para. 1 above may require, within 45 days of the adoption of the bill by the Senate, the holding of a confirmatory referendum. Such subjects shall make application in the matter to the Marshal of the Sejm, who shall order the holding of a referendum within 60 days of the day of receipt of the application. The amendment to the Constitution shall be deemed accepted if the majority of those voting express support for such amendment.

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