direct democracy

  • United for the Common Cause: Thoughts on the Act on Petitions of 11 July 2014

    Author: Joanna Marszałek-Kawa
    E-mail: kawadj@box43.pl
    Institution: Nicolaus Copernicus University (Poland)
    Year of publication: 2017
    Source: Show
    Pages: 199-217
    DOI Address: http://dx.doi.org/10.15804/ppsy2017113
    PDF: ppsy/46-1/ppsy2017113.pdf

    The paper investigates legal funding of the right to petition in Poland. It starts from a comparative background and it introduces the institution in a wider context, as a transparent and accessible for citizens legal solution, that has become an essential instrument of contemporary direct democracy and civic society. The author discusses regulations of the 2014 Acts on Petitions with reference to the Constitution of Poland and organisation of the Sejm and the Senate proceedings. Moreover, the study has placed the right to petition in a fieldwork of Polish system of human rights protection and Polish legal system in general. Finally, the paper presents results of opinion polls on direct democracy and civic engagement in Poland to discuss them with reference to previously presented construction of the right to petition as a legal institution. The author concludes with a relevant question on its further development in times of deep polarisation of Polish politics and during the Constitutional Crisis in the county. 

  • The Legality of the Catalan Independence Referendums

    Author: Michał Zbigniew Dankowski
    E-mail: m.dankowski@vp.pl
    Institution: University of Gdańsk
    Year of publication: 2017
    Source: Show
    Pages: 87-99
    DOI Address: https://doi.org/10.15804/ppk.2017.06.05
    PDF: ppk/40/ppk4005.pdf

    During the last decade the separatist activities of the Catalan nationalists have intensified. Despite the enactment of the Statute of Autonomy in 2006, extending the existing autonomy of the Autonomous Community, Catalonia’s governing political parties strived for total independence. In view of the consistent attitude of the central government in Madrid refusing any concessions on the extension of autonomy or independence, the Autonomous Government of Catalonia (Generalitat) appealed to the institutions of direct democracy, calling twice for a Catalan referendum on independence. In both cases, the Spanish Constitutional Court declared the referendum unlawful. In spite of this, Catalonia declared independence after the referendum of October 1st, 2017, although the effects of the declaration were also suspended – a situation so far unknown to law.

  • Samorząd w niepodległej Polsce – zarys historii i znaczenie

    Author: Joanna Dzwończyk
    Institution: Uniwersytet Ekonomiczny w Krakowie
    Year of publication: 2018
    Source: Show
    Pages: 36-50
    DOI Address: https://doi.org/10.15804/ksm201803
    PDF: ksm/23/ksm201803.pdf

    The text presents an outline of the history of local government development in Poland over the last hundred years, with particular emphasis on the last three decades. Its importance was discussed in the process of decentralization and democratization of the broadly understood political system. It was emphasized that it was this segment that was the first to be subjected to democratic changes and that it is in this area, both objectively and in the opinion of the public, that one can speak about the greatest success in rebuilding the social and political system of Poland. The extremely important role of self-government in the socio-economic development of the state was also pointed out, which is also connected with the fact that in no other country local governments play such a significant role in using EU structural funds. The role of local self-government as a school of democracy was also presented, showing that it is increasingly a kind of a center for the cadres of central power elites. Particular emphasis was placed on the fact that it is at this level that the instruments of direct democracy are used to the greatest extent, which favors democratic education in increasing social subjectivity. . It was also pointed out that after the parliamentary elections in 2015, won by the "Prawica Razem" coalition, the central authorities are taking steps to strengthen their position in relation to the local government.

  • The institution of a national referendum in Poland after 1945

    Author: Sabina Grabowska
    E-mail: chatazawsia@wp.pl
    Institution: University of Rzeszów
    ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-0530-708X
    Year of publication: 2018
    Source: Show
    Pages: 199-218
    DOI Address: https://doi.org/10.15804/ppk.2018.06.17
    PDF: ppk/46/ppk4617.pdf

    The institution of a nationwide referendum has taken root in the Polish democratic system, but it is not often used. There may be several reasons for this condition. These include the existing representative system, which makes it possible to settle matters without recourse to the will of citizens who have chosen their representatives. Another reason is the party system – parties in power often block the possibility of holding a referendum, especially when such a proposal is made by the opposition or by citizens. The subject of the article is the analysis of cases of the use of a nationwide referendum in Poland after 1945.

  • Between Legitimization and Deliberation. Participatory Budget in Dąbrowa Górnicza

    Author: Mariusz Popławski
    E-mail: mpoplawski@umk.pl
    Institution: Faculty of Political Studies and International Relations Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń
    ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5563-5308
    Year of publication: 2018
    Source: Show
    Pages: 407-423
    DOI Address: https://doi.org/10.15804/ppk.2018.06.31
    PDF: ppk/46/ppk4631.pdf

    Even though participatory budgets have rather short history in Poland criticism of its unwanted side effects have pushed some municipal authorities towards quick reforms of their initial visions. Most of them have decided just for small adjustments, but some have tried to be innovative and have reformed the whole mechanism. In this article, author attempts to take a closer look at consequences that accompany changes aimed at more quality of the whole procedure. The article aims to examine how more deliberation affects legitimization of participatory budgets. It is also an attempt to find out whether it brings expected outcomes within quality and profile of selected projects. Finally, we may learn here how people deal with more advance procedures. The analysis should serve anyone who is willing to search for new solutions among direct democracy tools in Poland.

  • Polish April Constitution of 1935 and Constitution of the Fifth Republic of France of 1958. Apparent Affinity

    Author: Kazimierz Michał Ujazdowski
    E-mail: kmujazdowski@wpia.uni.lodz.pl
    Institution: University of Lodz
    ORCID: https://orcid.org/000-0002-3156-1842
    Year of publication: 2019
    Source: Show
    Pages: 351-362
    DOI Address: https://doi.org/10.15804/ppk.2019.05.23
    PDF: ppk/51/ppk5123.pdf

    A large number of authors, both academics and novelists, contend that there is an affinity between the Polish April Constitution of 1935 and that of the Fifth Republic of France. In their view, such an affinity results from the dominant political position of the president, his powers and general consolidation of the executive power2. Another reason for such an assertion is a similar model of leadership adopted by Piłsudski and de Gaulle. Some authors even assert that “Polish Constitution was an inspiration for the constitutional thought of general de Gaulle”3. Special attention should be paid to the different axiology of the two constitutions, including rigidity of the April Constitution provisions, designed exclusively for the presidential system, and distrust of the Polish constitutional thought in direct democracy. Different leadership models adopted by Piłsudski and de Gaulle also contributed to the general disparities between Polish and French fundamental statutes discussed in this paper.

  • Uniwersytet jako czynnik konsolidacji społeczeństwai państwa polskiego (1907–2007)

    Author: Roman Tomaszewski
    Institution: Akademia Pomorska w Słupsku
    Year of publication: 2019
    Source: Show
    Pages: 89-122
    DOI Address: https://doi.org/10.15804/ksm201906
    PDF: ksm/24/ksm201906.pdf

    The school protest in the Polish part of Russia and Germany that took place in 1907 forced young Poles to educational emigration. In Galicia, Polish-language academic institutions have developed a new elite. Together with Polish graduates of Western European universities turned out to be the main factor consolidating society around the idea of rebuilding the state. In the revived Second Republic of Poland, academic circles proved a counterbalance to autocratic rule in 1926-1939. The more so because the number of universities increased from 8 to 32 and they represented a high, world class level of education. After 1945, the rapid reconstruction of Polish universities and the consolidation of the academic community have prevented the communists from taking over higher education. In addition, after the turn of 1956, the autonomy of Polish universities was expanded despite the riots in 1968. Martial law and the breakdown of Solidarność resulted in taking over the function of socio-political opposition by academic circles up to 1989. In turn, the breakthrough made at that time was also thank to Polish elites, but at the same time led to a rapid development of the number of universities and the birth of academic capitalism. An attempt to violate the autonomy of universities in 2005-2007 stimulated the academic community and contributed to the collapse of the PiS government in 2007. Universities and the elites educated in them are in the long run more important for society than the institution of the state, material or economic resources, or armed forces. From this perspective, the Polish case confirms the proposed thesis and the visibility of the third function: supporting democratization processes in the society.

  • An Institution that Gives Citizens a Real Impact on Applicable Law? Casus of the Civic Draft Amendment to the Act of 7 January 1993 on Family Planning, Protection of the Human Foetus and Conditions for the Admissibility of Termination of Pregnancy, Submit

    Author: Marta Michalczuk-Wlizło
    E-mail: michalczukm@poczta.onet.pl
    Institution: Maria Curie-Skłodowska University in Lublin
    ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-2107-8814
    Year of publication: 2019
    Source: Show
    Pages: 395-406
    DOI Address: https://doi.org/10.15804/ppk.2019.06.29
    PDF: ppk/52/ppk5229.pdf

    The Constitution in Article 118 (2) granted the group of at least one hundred thousand citizens the right to submit a citizens’ bill and initiate the legislative process in the Polish parliament. Due to the formalized mode of implementation of the constitutional right of citizens to submit draft bills, this form of initiating the legislative process constitutes a negligible percentage compared to the number of submitted drafts by other authorized entities. Sometimes, the submitted projects concern controversial matters, arousing emotions and distorting public opinion. An example of such a draft is the citizens’ bill proposed in the 8th term of the Sejm, amending the Act of 7 January 1993 on family planning, protection of the human fetus and conditions for the admissibility of termination of pregnancy (Sejm print 2146). The article analyzes the legislative process of the project.

  • Ogólnokrajowe referendum inicjowane przez obywateli a polskie prawo referendalne

    Author: Grzegorz Kryszeń
    E-mail: kryszen@edu.uwb.pl
    Institution: Uniwersytet w Białymstoku
    ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-7556-2716
    Year of publication: 2020
    Source: Show
    Pages: 425-441
    DOI Address: https://doi.org/10.15804/ppk.2020.04.23
    PDF: ppk/56/ppk5623.pdf

    Citizen Initiated Referendum and Polish Referendum Law

    The main aim of this study is to respond to the call to give citizens the power to initiate a referendum in a binding way. The key question in this context is whether such a postulate should not be treated as just a typical manifestation of political populism and thus rejected, or whether it should be supported by recognizing the institution of a referendum initiated by the citizens as a factor conducive to a more complete implementation of the idea of democratic rule, without threatening the destabilization and dysfunctionality of the political system. The analysis carried out in the article proves that this institution cannot be discredited because it should be seen as a necessary element of the process of exercising power in a democratic state. The proposed legal regulation may be conducive to achieving such a role in Polish political practice.

  • Critic of Attendance Threshold in a Nationwide Referendum

    Author: Andrzej Bisztyga
    E-mail: a.bisztyga@wpa.uz.zgora.pl
    Institution: University of Zielona Góra
    ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6579-9656
    Year of publication: 2020
    Source: Show
    Pages: 45-53
    DOI Address: https://doi.org/10.15804/ppk.2020.06.03
    PDF: ppk/58/ppk5803.pdf

    On the basis of the Constitution of the Republic of Poland, the binding effect of the result of the vote in a nationwide referendum depends on attainment the attendance threshold. This threshold was determined as participation in a referendum of more than half of persons entitled to vote. The systemic argumentation in favor of establishing this threshold proves to be weak and unconvincing. The constitutional regulation is characterised in this scope by inconsistency in the form of not covering the constitutional referendum by the requirement of the attendance threshold. Furthermore, the desire to ensure the legal effectiveness of the outcome of the vote in the referendum results in extending time of the vote in the referendum. The conclusion includes the proposal to introduce an amendment to the Constitution consisting in resigning from the threshold in question.

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