“May the Polish Sejm be Tranquil, may the Polish Sejm be Quiet”. Building and Phasing out the Legal State in the Second Polish Republic
The inter-war period played the key role in the process of realizing the idea of the legal state in Poland. It brought the uninhibited opportunity to establish a new the form of government based on solid democratic standards and the rule of law for the first time since the country had lost its independence in the late 18th century. It was expressed in the legal instruments of the March Constitution of 1921. Practical enforcement of the legal state concept in the Second Polish Republic was far from ideal though. It resulted from various political, social, economic and international challenges. The March Constitution, not always clearly worded, was subject to widespread criticism and its cumbersome regulations were ignored. Moving gradually away from the rule of law, marked by the Sanacja elites becoming more authoritarian after 1926, was expressed on three levels: creating law, including subsequent constitutional regulations, it’s interpretations and enforcement. Gradual transformation of the parliamentary-cabinet system of the March Constitution into authoritarian state was the result of these processes. The article attempts to analyze the inter-war experience from the point of view of growing degradation of the rule of law and the reasons for its instability in the Second Polish Republic.