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THE CONSTITUTIONAL ACT
of February 19, 1947

CONCERNING THE ORGANIZATION AND PEERS
OF THE SUPREME ORGANS
OF THE REPUBLIC OF POLAND

Article 1

Until such time as the new Constitution of the Republic of Poland is duly established, this Constituent Diet representing the sovereign authority of the Polish people in accordance with the basic principles of the Constitution of March 17,1921. and the Manufesto of the Polish Committee of National Liberation of July 22,1944 and the legislation on National Councils, as well as in accordance with the social and institutional reforms endorsed by the people in the referendum of June 90, 1946 - hereby makes the following provisions regarding the organization and powers of the supreme organs of the Republic of Poland.

Chapter I: THE SUPREME ORGANS OF THE REPUBLIC OF POLAND

Article 2

The supreme organs of the Republic of Poland shall be: the Constituent Diet in which shall be vested the legislative power; the President of the Republic, the State Council and the Government of the Republic, in whom shall be vested the executive power; the independent courts in which shall be vested the judicial power.

Chapter II: THE CONSTITUENT DIET

Article 3

The Constituent Diet shall have power to:

(a) establish the Constitution of the Republic of Poland;
(b) enact laws;
(c) supervise the activities of the Government and chart the basic course of national policy.

Article 4

(1) The Diet may pass legislation authorizing the Government to issue decree laws on all matters except: the Constitution; the electoral law; the functions of the Supreme Auditing Board; the responsibility of the President of the Republic and the Ministers, as provided in Article 27; the budget; the national economic plan; changes in the monetary system; the military draft; the structure of local governments; the ratification of international treaties.

(2) The powers referred to in paragraph (1) may be granted only for the time when the Diet is in recess or adjournment and for the period following the dissolution of this Constituent Diet until such time as the new Diet has convened.

(3) The Premier shall submit the decree-laws to the State Council for approval.

(4) The President of the Republic shall cause the decree-laws, approved by the State Council and signed by the President of the Republic, the Premier and the Ministers concerned, to be promulgated in the official Journal of Laws.

(5) Decree-laws not submitted for approval to the Diet at its ensuing session, or those rejected by simple majority shall expire on the day when the Diet goes into recess or adjourns. Tbeir expiration shall be made public by the Premier in the Journal of Laws.

Article 5

The right of legislative initiative shill rest with the Government, the Diet and the State Council.

Article 6

The term of the Constituent Diet shall be five years starting with the days of its inauguration.

Article 7

(1) The President of the Republic shall convene, open, adjourn and close the Diet.

(2) The President of the Republic shall convene the Diet for its regular fall session not later than in October. The fali session may not close before legislation concerning the budget, the national economic plan id the military draft has been enacted, and not earlier than two months after the session has been called.

(3) The President of the Republic shall conyene the Diet for its regular spring session not later than in April. The spring Session may not close before passing a resolution on the report of the Supreme Auditing Board concerning the audit of the budget, and not earlier than one month after the session has been called.

(4) The President of the Republic may at any time convene the Diet for an extraordinary session and it is his duty to do so within two weeks upon request by one third of the Diet.

Article 8

If the Diet fails to enact legislation concerning the budget, the national economic plan and the military draft within three months after the bills have been submitted by the Government, the President of the Republic shall, upon consent of the State Council, promulgate these laws in the version proposed by the Government.

Article 9

(1) The Diet shall elect from among iI members the Speaker, three Deputy. Speakers, Secretaries and Committees.

(2) The terms of the Speaker and the Deputy Speakers shall continue beyond the term of the Diet until the new Diet has convened.

(3) The Speaker shall appoint the employees of the Diet for whose activities he shall be responsible to the Diet.

Article 10

The members of the Diet are sworn in by the Speaker, taking the following oath:

"As a member of the Constituent Diet I do solemnly affirm to the best of my understanding and in accordance with my conscience, that I will work for the good of the Polish people, protect their democratic rights and, to the best of my strength and ability, preserve the independence and promote the general welfare of the Republic of Poland."

Article 11

Articles 21, 2 and 24 of the Constitution of March 17, 1921, shall apply to the members of the Constituent Diet.

Chapter III: THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC

Article 12

The Diet shall elect the President of the Republic for a term of seven years. He shall be elected by majority vote with no less than two thirds of the members present.

Article 13

Articles 40 ; 42 ; 43 ; 44 ; 45-paragraph (1) ; 46 ; 47 ; 48 ; 49 ; 50 ; 51 ; 52 and 59 of the Constitution of March 17, 1921, shall apply to the office of the President of the Republic.

Article 14

In case of a vacancy in the office of the President of the Republic the Diet shall proceed immediately to elect a new President.

Chapter IV: THE STATE COUNCIL

Article 15

(1) The State Council shall consist of:

  • the President of the Republic, who shall be the chairman;
  • the Speaker and the Deputy.Speakers of the Constituent Diet;
  • the Chairman of the Supreme Auditing Board.
  • (2) In times of war the Commander-in-Chief of the Polish Army shall also become a member of the State Council.

    (3) Upon the unanimous motion of the State Council, the Diet may appoint additional members to the State Council.

    Article 16

    The State Council shall have power to:

    (1) exercise the supreme control over the local national councils which was previously exercised by the Polish National Council and its Praesidium in accordance with the Act of September 11,1944, concerning the organization and activities of the national councils;

    (2) approve decree-laws based on powers granted -to the Government by the Diet;

    (3) exercise authority previously vested in the Praesidium of the Polish National Council;

    (4) declare a state of emergency and martial law [Article 19, paragraph (2)];

    (5) approve promulgation of laws concerning the budget, the national economic plan and the military draft, in the cases referred to in Article 8;

    (6) originate bills;

    (7) examine reports of the Supreme Auditing Board.

    Chapter V: THE GOVERNMENT OF THE REPUBLIC

    Article 17

    The Government shall be headed by the Premier, under whose chairmanship the Ministers form the Council of Ministers.

    Article 18

    (1) If matters of extraordinary importance are to be considered, the Premier shall, at the request of the President of the Republic, call the Cabinet Council.

    (2) The Cabinet Council is formed by the Council of Ministers under the chairmanship of the President of the Republic.

    Article 19

    (1) The provisions contained in Articles 44 ; 45-paragraphs (1) and (2); and Article 56 to 69 of the Constitution of March 17, 1921, shall apply to the Council of Ministers and to the Ministers concerned.

    (2) Upon the motion of the council of Ministers the State Council may declare a state of emergency or martial law. Such decree must be admitted to the Diet for approval at its ensuing session. Unless it is submitted to the Diet, or in case it fails to win its approval, the decree shall expire.

    Chapter VI: THE SUPREME AUDITING BOARD

    Article 20

    (1) The Supreme Auditing Board shall audit the financial and economic activities of government offices, agencies and enterprises.

    (2) The State Council may entrust the Supreme Auditing Board with the tornporary or Permient control of all or ay local government and associations or agencies subsidized by the Government or exercising functions of public administration delegated to them by the Government.

    Article 21

    (1) The Chairman of the Supreme Auditing Board shall be elected by the Diet.

    (2) The organisation and procedure of the Supreme Auditing Board shall be determined by special legislation.

    Article 22

    The Supreme Auditing Board shall audit the government accounts at the end of each fiscal year and submit to the Diet a proposal recommending the approval or rejection of the settlement of government accounts.

    Article 23

    The Chairman of the Supreme Audi-tinq Board shall Participate either in person or through a delegated representative in the deliberations o1 the Diet and shall have the right to address the Diet on all matters pertaining to financial reports of the Government and to the settlement of government accounts.

    Chapter VII: THE ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE

    Article 24

    (1) Justice shall be administered by the courts in the name of the Republic of Poland.

    (2) In discharging their judicial duties the judges shall be independent and guided by law alone.

    (3) The courts shall have no power to review the validity of duly promulgated laws and decree-laws.

    Article 25

    (1) The organization and jurisdiction of the courts shall be defined by special legislation including provisions which will extend the jurisdiction of the regularly constituted courts over the en-tire administration of justice.

    (2) The rights and duties of the judges, the manner of their appointment and their compensation shall be determined by special legislation:

    Article 26

    The jurisdiction of the organs which are to pass on the legality of administrative decisions and the mode of procedure to be employed in such cases shall be determined by special legislation.

    Chapter VII: TRANSITIONAL PROVISIONS

    Article 27

    The body which is to try impeachments of the Ministers and of the President of the Republic of Poland, as provided for In Article 51 of the Constitution of March 17, 1921, shall be established by special legislation.

    Article 28

    The Government shall submit to the Diet bills pertaining to the budget, the national economic plan and the military draft for 1947 not lat er than within three months after the opening of the Constituen-t Diet.

    Article 29

    Not later than three months after the opening of the Constituent Diet the Government shall submit to the Diet for approval all the decree-laws issued after September 29, 1946. Decrees not submitt or approval or those rejected by majority vote shall expire on the closing day of the session during which they were to be submitted. Their expiration shall be announced by the Premier in the Official Journal of Laws.

    Chapter IX: FINAL PROVISIONS

    Article 90

    This Constitution can be amended by a two thirds majority of the Diet.

    Article 91

    The enforcement of the provisions contained herein shall devolve on the Premier and all the Ministers.

    Article 92

    This Constitution shall take effect on the day of its promulgation.


    DECLARATION
    OF RIGHTS AND LIBERTIES

    Approved by the Constituent Diet on February 22, 1947

    THE CONSTITUENT DIET, representing the sovereign authority of the Polish people solemnly declares that in the exercise of its constitutional and legislative power and in the exercise of its supervision over the activities of the Government, as well as in its determination of the basic policies of the na-tion, it will continue to uphold such fundamental civil rights and liberties as:

    1. Equality before the law, regardless of nationality, race, creed, sex, origin, social status and education;
    2. Security of person, life and property;
    3. Freedom of conscience and of worship;
    4. Freedom of scientific research and the publication of the results thereof, and freedom of creative artistic endeavor;
    5. Freedom of press, speech, association, assembly, public meetings and demonstration;
    6. The right to vote and to seek public office;
    7. Inviolability of the home;
    8. Secrecy of the mails and other means of communication;
    9. The right of instituting court action and of filing petitions with the proper State and municipal authorities;
    10. The right to work and to periods of rest;
    11. The right to relief in case of unemployment and incapacitation;
    12. The right to education;
    13. Protection of family life and care of mother and child;
    14. Protection of health and working capacity.

    At the same time the Diet goes on record in stating that the abuse of the civil rights and liberties for the purpose of overthrowing the democratic form of government of the Republic of Poland, shall be prevented by law.


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