Polish president proposes constitutional amendments

Polish president Bronisław Komorowski submitted several draft constitutional amendments to the Sejm, the first chamber of the Polish parliament, yesterday.

The constitutional amendments envisage an adaption of the Polish constitution to the Lisbon treaty. Most of the changes are meant to specify competences and the mode of cooperation between the Polish government and the two chambers of parliament, Sejm and Senat, regarding EU-related matters. Furthermore, the amendments will prepare a introduction of the Euro in the future (e.g. the ‘National Council for Monetary Policy’ would be abolished and a possibility to make the Polish National Bank dependent on the European Central Bank would be created), substantiate the application of EU law within the domestic legal framework and introduce provisions for Polish citizens to vote from abroad in elections to the European Parliament.

The introduction of the draft laws was the first use of his formal presidential powers by president Komorowski since his inauguration in August this year. Many of the provisions – especially those concerning competences of the different institutions in EU-related matters – had been subject to severe political conflict between Mr Komorowski’s predecessor, Lech Kaczyński, and the Tusk government in 2008.

The last amendments to the 1997 constitution have been adopted in 2006 (to accomodate for the European Arrest Warrant) and 2009 (provisions regarding elections to Sejm and Senat). A majority of 2/3 of the members both Sejm and Senat are needed to change the constitution. President Komorowski’s party, the Civic Platform led by prime minister Donald Tusk, and its coalition partner, the Polish Peasants’ Party, currently hold 52% of the seats in the Sejm and 60% of the seats in the Senat.

The Polish Sejm in Warsaw - (c) by Philipp Köker 2010

 

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