2016 | 1(132) | 85-106
Article title

Wstępne koncepcje unormowania zasady powszechności prawa wyborczego do Sejmu na ziemiach Królestwa Polskiego po wybuchu I wojny światowej (styczeń–lipiec 1917 r.)

Title variants
Initial Approaches to Regulate the Principle of Universal Suffrage in Elections to the Sejm in the Lands of the Kingdom of Poland after the Outbreak of World War I (January–July 1917)
Languages of publication
The legislative work carried out by the Parliamentary-Constitutional Commission of the Provisional Council of State from February to July 1917 was an important step in the process of establishing the system of government in the lands of the Kingdom of Poland after the outbreak of the World War I. Under the draft constitution of 28 July 1917, whose adoption crowned the first phase of statecreation efforts undertaken by the Parliamentary-Constitutional Commission, Parliament (Sejm) in the reborn Poland had to be composed of two chambers: the House of Deputies (Izba Poselska) and the Senate. Elections to the fi rst chamber, according to the sponsors of the draft, were to be carried out on the basis of four main standards of electoral law: equality, directness, proportionality and secrecy of the ballot. Nevertheless, they decided not to enshrine the principle of universal suffrage in the Constitution. They concluded that active and passive voting rights — in accordance with the practice of nineteenth-century constitutionalism, which emphasized the negative impact of women’s involvement in political activities — should be given only to men. Even more restrictive solutions was introduced in relation to the Senate. Half of its members (to be chosen by way of election) were subject to several electoral qualifi cations, relating not only the realm of sex, but also issues of wealth or education. In analyzing this issue, we must take into account that the application of the above-mentioned decisions, even if not satisfactory to the progressive society, contributed to initiation — for the fi rst time in the twentieth century in the lands of the Kingdom of Poland — an in-depth discussion on the designation of the category of persons entitled to participate in parliamentary elections. In the longer term, their preparation, supported by global democratic changes, accelerated the efforts to equalize the legal status of citizens in the Second Republic of Poland.
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