The Legal-Constitutional Bases of Democratisation in Poland: Systemic and Constitutional Change

  • Wojciech Sokolewicz

Abstract

The building of new democratic structures and procedures and the replacement of central state planning and management by a market economy signifies the deepest possible change, which well deserves to be termed qualitative, in the state’s political system as well as in the socio-economic order. One should also consider the full significance of the fact that these processes are taking place with the full majesty of the due process of law. The law stemming from the previous epoch of autocratic rule and the primacy of state property as well as the values reflecting the running of the previous system are both being respected in full. This applies even more so to the demands generated by the establishment, interpretation and implementation of the new system. The ‘old’ law has not been rejected in a single act but it is being systematically amended and added to; the legal order as a whole, has therefore not been interrupted but is being continued. With the significance of this feature for the process of constitutional law in mind I will attempt to answer the following two questions in this chapter; why did this happen in this way and what are the consequences and problems which ensue?

Keywords

Europe Income Coherence Assure Expense 

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Notes

  1. 2.
    After some years of very radical systemic change the so-called ‘Little Constitution’ of February 1947 re-established the legal validity of various arrangements and regulations set out in the March 1921 constitution which survived until the 1952 constitution came into force. On this problem see K. Działocha and J. Trzciński, Zagadnienie obowiązywania Konstytucji Marcowej w Polsce Ludowej (Wrocław, 1977), especially pp.89 ff.Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    The critical opposition view of the lack of legality in the Polish socialist state is presented with much detailed supporting evidence by A. Rzepliński, Sądownictwo w PRL (London: 2nd edn, 1990).Google Scholar
  3. 5.
    Permitted in general terms by article 46 of Sejm’s Standing Order, Monitor Polski, 1986, no. 21, position 151 ff.Google Scholar
  4. 12.
    B. Bierut, ‘O Konstytucji PRL’, speech to the Constituent Sejm, 18 July 1952 in Dyskusja Sejmowa o Konstytucji PRL (Warsaw, 1952) p. 23.Google Scholar
  5. 13.
    See W. Sokolewicz, Konstytucja PRL po zmianach w 1976r (Warsaw, 1978).Google Scholar
  6. 16.
    For the text of the amendment, Dziennik Ustaw, no. 19, position 101. It is discussed by F. Siemieński, ‘Kwietnowa nowela konstytucyjna 1989 roku’ in Ruch Prawniczy, Ekonomiczny i Socjologiczny, no. 4 (1989), pp. 1 ff; W. Sokolewicz, ‘Kwietnowa zmiana Konstytucji’, Państwo i Prawo, no. 6 (1989), pp. 3 ff;Google Scholar
  7. K. J. Kuss, ‘Die Polnische Verfassungsnovelle vom 7 April 1989’ in Demokratie und Recht (Hamburg), no. 1 (1990), pp. 44 ff.Google Scholar
  8. A useful comparison is R. M. Małajny, ‘Klasyfikacja organów państwowych w świetle novelizacji Konstytucji PRL z 1989r’, parts 1 and 2, in Studia Nauk Politycznych, nos. 3 and 4 (1989).Google Scholar
  9. 22.
    See J. Łętowski, ‘Nieustanne pytanie: “państwo sędziowskie” czy “państwo demokracji i prawa”’, Rzeczpospolita, 5 May 1990, p. 4.Google Scholar
  10. 23.
    Cf. Z. Jarosz, ‘System wyborczy do Sejmu i Senatu’, Państwo i Prawo, no. 5 (1989), p. 5 ff.Google Scholar
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  12. 24.
    The constitutional amendment of 29 December 1989 was published in Dz. U., no. 75, position 444. For early discussions see; S. Gebethner, ‘Political Institutions in the process of transition to a post-Socialist formation’ unpublished paper, American-Polish Conference on ‘Socialism and Change’ (22–25 May 1990, Mądralin, Poland), pp. 12–14:Google Scholar
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  14. S. Zawadzki, ‘Nowa konstytucyjna definicja polskiej państwowości’, Państwo i Prawo, no. 5 (1990), pp. 13 ff.Google Scholar
  15. 29.
    Cf. M. Rybicki, ‘Pozycja ustrojowa rządu w systemie politycznym PRL’ in M. Rybicki (ed.), Studia nad Rzędem PRL w latach 1952–1980 (Wrocław, 1985), pp. 25–28.Google Scholar
  16. 31.
    The philosophy underlying the reform of territorial self-management is presented by M. Kulesza, ‘Niektòre zagadnienia prawne definicji samorządu terytorialnego’, Państwo i Prawo, no. 1 (1990), pp. 16 ff.Google Scholar
  17. 46.
    See the replies of PKW chairman, Andrzej Zell, ‘Jak czytać ordynację’, Rzeczpospolita, 20–21 October 1990, p. 2.Google Scholar
  18. 53.
    This view was expressed by W. Osiatyński, ‘Wyzwanie konstytucji’, Gazeta Wyborcza, 10 March 1990, p. 2.Google Scholar

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© George Sanford 1992

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  • Wojciech Sokolewicz

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