Poland – President refers bill to Constitutional Tribunal

In Poland, Warsaw Voice reports that President Bronisław Komorowski has sent a bill that proposes a 10% cut in public services to the Constitutional Tribunal.

The president’s power to refer a bill is captured in Arts. 122, 188 and 191 of the 1997 Constitution and is described on the Constitutional Tribunal’s own website: “Every statute adopted by the Parliament is subsequently submitted to the President for signature; within 21 days of its submission – seven days in case of statutes considered urgent – the President may refer the statute to the Sejm for its reconsideration (presidential veto). The Sejm may repass the statute (override the presidential veto) by a three-fifths majority vote; in such case the President signs the statute within seven days. The President may also refer to the Constitutional Tribunal for adjudication on the conformity of a statute to the Constitution; the President may question the constitutionality of the statute in its entirety or of its specific provisions.”

So, this power is very similar to that of the Irish President described in a previous post, with the important caveat that the Polish President also has the power to veto a bill, something which the Irish President does not.

Anyway, in Poland the presidential power to ask the Constitutional Tribunal to review a bill is used quite frequently, though this is President Komorowski’s first referral since he was elected in July 2010. Indeed, Wyrzykowski and Cielen (European Constitutional Law Review, p. 260) provide figures showing that the power is used both during cohabitation and unified government. Currently, Poland is experiencing unified government.

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