THE STATUS OF THE MARSHAL OF THE SEJM IN THE SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT AND THE RIGHTS OF THE PARLIAMENTARY OPPOSITION (Stanowisko ustrojowe marszalka Sejmu a prawa opozycji parlamentarnej)
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The article deals with mutual relations between the Marshal (Speaker) of the Sejm and parliamentary opposition. It strives to depict the president of the Chamber as an authority responsible for initiating contacts between the political groups competing in Parliament. The research assumptions made by the author allow us to approach the powers of the Marshal from the perspective of the division of parliament into two legal and political structures, i.e. the opposition and the government supporting parties. The legal solutions concerning the status of the Marshal of the Sejm are determined by the fact that the office of the Marshal is, in each case, held by a person representing the camp of the ruling parties. The politicisation of the function of Marshal results in the possibility of discrimination of the opposition in the Sejm.. This fact inspires us to think about the problem of political neutrality o the president of the Chamber, since the specific nature of that office is reflected in the need to reconcile interests of different political groups functioning in parliament. The Marshal is responsible for organising the work of the Sejm. Therefore, he is required to make numerous decisions that cause risk of being biased in favour or against a particular option. The existence of many initiatives launched by individual groups depends on his will. Therefore, the concern of neutrality within the scope of powers exercised by him is widely held. It is justified. The more so that the existing legal provisions do not include the clause of political neutrality. In this context, the Marshal should justly balance the influence exerted by all political formations. The fact that the Marshal is, in fact, the nominee of the ruling majority is determined by the procedure for his appointment. Under the existing rules of procedure, the Chamber elects the Marshal by an absolute majority of votes. The requirement of arithmetical majority gives a privileged position to the ruling camp, leaving the opposition little chance to force through its candidate. For the opposition, the possibility of dismissal of the Marshal of the Chamber is of great significance. This issue - due to the lack of clear regulations under the former legal order - has caused doubts for many years. However, these dilemmas have had only doctrinal nature, since the Sejm actually recognised and established its powers in this area. An unambiguous normative rule, expressly providing for dismissal of the office of president of the Chamber was adopted only in an amendment to the rules of procedure of the Sejm in January 2009. These new solutions permits dismissal of the Marshal, among other things, for political reasons. On the other hand, however, they impose other substantial restrictions of formal nature (the procedure based on the constructive vote of no confidence, which requires those applying for dismissal of the president of the chamber to nominate his successor) that may cause difficulties to the opposition. .
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