2009 | 2(91) | 31-53
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ON THE NEED FOR REFORM OF BICAMERALISM OF POLISH PARLIAMENT (W sprawie potrzeby reformy dwuizbowosci polskiego parlamentu)

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Modern bicameralism has existed in Poland for twenty years now. Its basic structure was formed in 1989-1992, with further slight modifications (often necessitated by reforms in extra-parliamentary areas of the system of government). To sum up, the evolution of the position of the Senate tends, ultimately, to diminishing its role in the system of government (stages thereof are determined, inter alia, by the way in which the Round-Table Agreements were translated into the solutions adopted in the April 1989 Amendment, by the occurrence and consequences of the legislative stalemate, by the change in the edition of the provisions specifying the moment of transferring an adopted bill to the President of the Republic for signature, and by the judicial practice of the Constitutional Tribunal in relation to the meaning of the term 'amendment by the Senate'. The continuance of such direction of the evolution would reduce the role of the Senate to that of a middle-quality legislative bureau, and which - in turn - will raise the question of its further existence. Therefore, we should initiate a discussion on its general reform. At the beginning of the discussion, it is worth mentioning that parliamentary procedures must lead to effective decision-making in which the matter could be talked over. Then, both the Chambers are involved in an intra-parliamentary 'discussion' on the political choice of the best solutions. It seems that the reason for the establishment of the Senate is the application by that Chamber of a different perspective of view in consideration of particular matter. This requires the necessity of a political diversity of membership of the Chambers and modification of mutual relations between them. This approach would lead to the elimination of the provision 'Sejm shall adopt statutes' and making the term of office of the Senate independent of the term of office of the Sejm, as well as modification of the principles concerning the setting up of the composition of the second Chamber. The latter proposal might by achieved by the introduction of a 6-year tern of the Senate with one-third of its membership exchanged every two years or by the election of senators by electoral colleges composed of councillors from the local governments of all levels and presidents of the towns, mayors and heads of communes. To support the 'professional factor', the composition of the Senate should be supplemented by persons who had held the highest state offices in the past. The discussion on these proposals, as it seems, would result in developing an optimal shape of Polish bicameralism.
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  • : Marek Dobrowolski, Katolicki Uniwersytet Lubelski, Wydzial Prawa, Prawa Kanonicznego i Administracji, al. Raclawickie 14, 20-950 Lublin, Poland
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