Constitution (1997) (excerpts)

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 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.

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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 61

1. A citizen shall have the right to obtain information on the activities of organs of public authority as well as persons discharging public functions. Such right shall also include receipt of information on the activities of self-governing economic or professional organs and other persons or organizational units relating to the field in which they perform the duties of public authorities and manage communal assets or property of the State Treasury.

2. The right to obtain information shall ensure access to documents and entry to sittings of collective organs of public authority formed by universal elections, with the opportunity to make sound and visual recordings.

3. Limitations upon the rights referred to in paras. 1 and 2 above, may be imposed by statute solely to protect freedoms and rights of other persons and economic subjects, public order, security or important economic interests of the State.

4. The procedure for the provision of information, referred to in paras. 1 and 2 above shall be specified by statute, and regarding the Sejm and the Senate by their rules of procedure.

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Chapter III

SOURCES OF LAW

Article 87

1. The sources of universally binding law of the Republic of Poland shall be: the Constitution, statutes, ratified international agreements, and regulations.

2. Enactments of local law issued by the operation of organs shall be a source of universally binding law of the Republic of Poland in the territory of the organ issuing such enactments.

Article 88

1. The condition precedent for the coming into force of statutes, regulations and enactments of local law shall be the promulgation thereof.

2. The principles of and procedures for promulgation of normative acts shall be specified by statute.

3. International agreements ratified with prior consent granted by statute shall be promulgated in accordance with the procedures required for statutes. The principles of promulgation of other international agreements shall be specified by statute.

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Article 91

1. After promulgation thereof in the Journal of Laws of the Republic of Poland (Dziennik Ustaw), a ratified international agreement shall constitute part of the domestic legal order and shall be applied directly, unless its application depends on the enactment of a statute.

2. An international agreement ratified upon prior consent granted by statute shall have precedence over statutes if such an agreement cannot be reconciled with the provisions of such statutes.

3. If an agreement, ratified by the Republic of Poland, establishing an international organization so provides, the laws established by it shall be applied directly and have precedence in the event of a conflict of laws.

Article 92

1. Regulations shall be issued on the basis of specific authorization contained in, and for the purpose of implementation of, statutes by the organs specified in the Constitution. The authorization shall specify the organ appropriate to issue a regulation and the scope of matters to be regulated as well as guidelines concerning the provisions of such act.

2. An organ authorized to issue a regulation shall not delegate its competence, referred to in para. 1 above, to another organ.

Article 93

1. Resolutions of the Council of Ministers and orders of the Prime Minister shall be of an internal character and shall bind only those organizational units subordinate to the organ which issues such act.

2. Orders shall only be issued on the basis of statute. They shall not serve as the basis for decisions taken in respect of citizens, legal persons and other subjects.

3. Resolutions and orders shall be subject to scrutiny regarding their compliance with universally binding law.

Article 94

On the basis of and within limits specified by statute, organs of local self-government and territorial organs of government administration shall enact local legal enactments applicable to their territorially defined areas of operation. The principles of and procedures for enacting local legal enactments shall be specified by statute.

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.

2. The Sejm shall exercise control over the activities of the Council of Ministers within the scope specified by the provisions of the Constitution and statutes.

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ORGANIZATION AND FUNCTIONING

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Article 118

1. The right to introduce legislation shall belong to Deputies, to the Senate, to the President of the Republic and to the Council of Ministers.

2. The right to introduce legislation shall also belong to a group of at least 100,000 citizens having the right to vote in elections to the Sejm. The procedure in such matter shall be specified by statute.

3. Sponsors, when introducing a bill to the Sejm, shall indicate the financial consequences of its implementation.

Article 119

1. The Sejm shall consider bills in the course of three readings.

2. The right to introduce amendments to a bill in the course of its consideration by the Sejm shall belong to its sponsor, Deputies and the Council of Ministers.

3. The Marshal of the Sejm may refuse to put to a vote any amendment which has not previously been submitted to a committee.

4. The sponsor may withdraw a bill in the course of legislative proceedings in the Sejm until the conclusion of its second reading.

Article 120

The Sejm shall pass bills by a simple majority vote, in the presence of at least half of the statutory number of Deputies, unless the Constitution provides for another majority. The same procedure shall be applied by the Sejm in adoption of resolutions, unless a statute or a resolution of the Sejm provide otherwise.

Article 121

1. A bill passed by the Sejm shall be submitted to the Senate by the Marshal of the Sejm.

2. The Senate, within 30 days of submission of a bill, may adopt it without amendment, adopt amendments or resolve upon its complete rejection. If, within 30 days following the submission of the bill, the Senate fails to adopt an appropriate resolution, the bill shall be considered adopted according to the wording submitted by the Sejm.

3. A resolution of the Senate rejecting a bill, or an amendment proposed in the Senate's resolution, shall be considered accepted unless the Sejm rejects it by an absolute majority vote in the presence of at least half of the statutory number of Deputies.

Article 122

1. After the completion of the procedure specified in Article 121, the Marshal of the Sejm shall submit an adopted bill to the President of the Republic for signature.

2. The President of the Republic shall sign a bill within 21 days of its submission and shall order its promulgation in the Journal of Laws of the Republic of Poland (Dziennik Ustaw).

3. The President of the Republic may, before signing a bill, refer it to the Constitutional Tribunal for an adjudication upon its conformity to the Constitution. The President of the Republic shall not refuse to sign a bill which has been judged by the Constitutional Tribunal as conforming to the Constitution.

4. The President of the Republic shall refuse to sign a bill which the Constitutional Tribunal has judged not to be in conformity to the Constitution. If, however, the non-conformity to the Constitution relates to particular provisions of the bill, and the Tribunal has not judged that they are inseparably connected with the whole bill, then, the President of the Republic, after seeking the opinion of the Marshal of the Sejm, shall sign the bill with the omission of those provisions considered as being in non-conformity to the Constitution or shall return the bill to the Sejm for the purpose of removing the non-conformity.

5. If the President of the Republic has not made reference to the Constitutional Tribunal in accordance with para. 3, he may refer the bill, with reasons given, to the Sejm for its reconsideration. If the said bill is repassed by the Sejm by a three-fifths majority vote in the presence of at least half of the statutory number of Deputies, then, the President of the Republic shall sign it within 7 days and shall order its promulgation in the Journal of Laws of the Republic of Poland (Dziennik Ustaw). If the said bill has been repassed by the Sejm, the President of the Republic shall have no right to refer it to the Constitutional Tribunal in accordance with the procedure prescribed in para. 3.

6. Any such reference by the President of the Republic to the Constitutional Tribunal for an adjudication upon the conformity of a statute to the Constitution, or any application for reconsideration of a bill, shall suspend the period of time allowed for its signature, specified in para. 2, above.

Article 123

1. The Council of Ministers may classify a bill adopted by itself as urgent, with the exception of tax bills, bills governing elections to the Presidency of the Republic of Poland, to the Sejm, to the Senate and to organs of local self-government, bills governing the structure and jurisdiction of public authorities, and also drafts of law codes.

2. The rules of procedure of the Sejm and the rules of procedure of the Senate shall define the modifications in the legislative procedure when a bill has been classified as urgent.

3. In the legislative procedure in relation to a bill classified as urgent, the time period for its consideration by the Senate shall be 14 days and the period for its signature by the President of the Republic shall be 7 days.

Article 124

The provisions of Article 110, Article 112, Article 113 and Article 120 shall apply, as appropriate, to the Senate.

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.

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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:

1) the conformity of statutes and international agreements to the Constitution;

2) the conformity of a statute to ratified international agreements whose ratification required prior consent granted by statute;

3) the conformity of legal provisions issued by central State organs to the Constitution, ratified international agreements and statutes;

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

5) complaints concerning constitutional infringements, as specified in Article 79, para. 1.

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Article 193

Any court may refer a question of law to the Constitutional Tribunal as to the conformity of a normative act to the Constitution, ratified international agreements or statute, if the answer to such question of law will determine an issue currently before such court.

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