THE DEPUTY’S OATH OF OFFICE IN THE POLISH LEGAL ORDER
The deputy’s oath of office is a solemn declaration taken publicly in the presence of the Sejm and provided to the Senior Marshal by whom a new Member of Parliament (MP) swears to perform his duties to the Nation diligently and conscientiously, to safeguard the sovereignty and interests of the State, to do all within his power for the prosperity of the Homeland and the well-being of its citizens, and to observe the Constitution and other laws of the Republic of Poland. The object of the paper is to exhibit the normative side of the deputy’s oath of office as compared to parliamentary practice of this institution. The analysis of individual legal provisions is combined with the presentation of the operationalization of the given institution in the Polish legal order from the times of the Noble Republic of Poland to nowadays. There are two co-existing aspects of the deputy’s oath of office, namely the legal (normative) aspect and the symbolic (moral, political, religious) one. The legal dimension of the title institution manifests its importance in the fact that taking the oath is an absolute condition of the commencement of the performance of the parliamentary mandate. Following taking the oath of office an MP obtains full rights and responsibilities of the MP status. From the day of the announcement of the results of the elections until the swearing-in a deputy participates only in very limited powers and duties (e.g. formal parliamentary immunity). A refusal to take the oath is in turn deemed as renunciation of the mandate. The text of the oath formulates also the primary principles of the MP’s deontology, that is the ethical requirements governing the deputy’s professional activity in the Sejm. Finally, the given institution reveals its sacral dimension in the capability of taking the oath with the additional sentence “So help me God”. The optional nature of the act of invocation results in both the principle of citizen’s freedom of conscience and religion and the principle of separation of church and state being respected.
Uniwersytet Rzeszowski, Wydział Prawa i Administracji, Zakład Teorii Prawa i Doktryn Polityczno-Prawnych, 35-068 Rzeszów, ul. Grunwaldzka 13
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