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President of Poland
Proporzec Prezydenta Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej.svg
Presidential Jack
Incumbent
Lech Kaczyński

since December 23, 2005
Appointer Popular election
Term length Five years, renewable once
Inaugural holder Gabriel Narutowicz
Formation December 11, 1922
Website www.prezydent.pl
Poland

This article is part of the series:
Politics and government of
Poland



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The President of the Republic of Poland (Polish: Prezydent Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej, shorter form: Prezydent RP) is the Polish Head of State. His or her rights and obligations are determined in the Constitution of Poland.

The President of the Republic of Poland is the head of state, the supreme representative of Poland in the international arena. He has the executive authority. He has a right to dissolve the parliament in certain cases (i.e. when it fails to form a Council of Ministers or to adopt the budget).

Although in the English language the Polish head of state is commonly referred to as President of Poland, in Poland the President is always referred to as the President of the Republic of Poland (Prezydent Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej or Prezydent RP) or less commonly as the President of the Republic (Prezydent Rzeczypospolitej), but never as the President of Poland (Prezydent Polski).

Contents

Election

The President of Poland is elected directly by the people to serve for 5 years and can be reelected only once. Pursuant to the provisions of the Constitution, the President is elected by an absolute majority of valid votes. If no candidate succeeds in passing this threshold, a second round of voting is held with the participation of the two candidates who received the largest and second largest number of votes respectively.

In order to be registered as a candidate in the presidential election, one must be a Polish citizen, be at least 35 years old on the day of the first round of the election and collect at least 100,000 signatures of voters.

Powers

The President has a free choice in selecting the Prime Minister, yet in practice he usually gives the task of forming a new government to a politician supported by the political party with the majority of seats in the Sejm (usually, though not always, it is the leader of that political party).

The President has the right to initiate the legislative process. He also has the opportunity to directly influence it by using his veto to stop a bill; however, his veto can be overruled by a three-fifths majority vote in the presence of at least half of the statutory number of members of the Sejm (230). Before signing a bill into law, the President can also ask the Constitutional Tribunal to verify its compliance with the Constitution, which in practice bears a decisive influence on the legislative process.

In his role as supreme representative of the Polish state, the President ratifies and revokes international agreements, nominates and recalls ambassadors, and accepts the accreditations of representatives of other states. The President also makes decisions on the award of state distinctions and orders. In addition, he has the right of clemency, viz. he can dismiss final court verdicts (in practice, the President consults such decisions with the Minister of Justice).

The President is also the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces; he appoints the Chief of the General Staff and the commanders of all of the service branches; in wartime he nominates the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces and can order a general mobilization. The President performs his duties with the help of the following offices: the Chancellery of the President, the Office of National Security, and the Body of Advisors to the President.

Presidential residencies and properties

Several properties are owned by the Office of the President and are used by the Head of State as his or her official residence, private residence, residence for visiting foreign officials etc.

  • The Presidential Palace in Warsaw, largest palace in Warsaw, the official seat of the President of the Republic of Poland since 1993, the first presidential tenant was Lech Wałęsa when he moved to the Palace from Belweder in 1994.
  • Belweder in Warsaw, was the official seat of the President until 1993, currently owned by the Office of the President as the official residence of the President and is used by the President and the Government for ceremonial purposes. The palace also serves as an official residence for heads of state on official visits to Poland and other important guests.
  • Presidential Castle in Wisła, a château built for the Habsburgs as their hunting cottage, rebuilt 1929-1931 and used as recreational residence by the President Ignacy Mościcki. Since 2002 again a property of the President, restored and opened in 2005 by the President Aleksander Kwaśniewski. It is today a recreational and conference centre for the President and a hotel.
  • Residence of the President of the Republic of Poland in Łucień.
  • Manor House of the President of the Republic of Poland in Ciechocinek.

Acting President of Poland

Former Presidents

Since former Presidents of Poland are for the most part well-known, public figures (quite often of celebrity status) each of them is entitled to lifetime personal protection (though only within state limits) by Biuro Ochrony Rządu officers, in addition to receiving a substantial pension and being given a private office.

As of 2007 three former Presidents of Poland are alive:

Additional information

  • Gabriel Narutowicz died in office for assassination
  • Władysław Raczkiewicz died in exile for natural causes
  • Ignacy Mościcki and Wojciech Jaruzelski resigned from office, the first after German invasion in 1939, the latter agreeing to shorten his term in 1990
  • Lech Wałęsa was the first president elected by direct vote, his forerunners being appointed by Parliament
  • Aleksander Kwaśniewski was the first president to be reelected, in 2000
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Age upon entering office

  • Aleksander Kwaśniewski - 41 years old (youngest president)
  • Lech Wałęsa - 47 years old
  • Stanisław Wojciechowski - 53 years old
  • Bolesław Bierut - 54 years old
  • Lech Kaczyński - 56 years old
  • Gabriel Narutowicz - 57 years old
  • Ignacy Mościcki - 58 years old (oldest at time of leaving)
  • Wojciech Jaruzelski - 66 years old (oldest at time of entering)

See also

Fictional presidents

  • President Julian Szczęsny (played by Andrzej Seweryn) - President in the Polish political drama TV series Ekipa. By the end of season one he died from injuries suffered as a result of his helicopter being shot down over Kabul during a visit.
  • Acting President Jan Matajewicz (played by Marek Frąckowiak) - also in Ekipa, a leader of a major right-wing party and close ally to Szczęsny as Sejm Marshal briefly assumed presidential duties after the latters death. He resigned after he became a suspect in criminal case.
  • President Bartosz Czop (played by Andrzej Grabowski) - populist President in 19th meridian (19. południk). Said to be modeled on Andrzej Lepper.
  • Outgoing President Kazimierz Czechmeszyński (played by Jan Machulski) - also in 19th meridian.

External links


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