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A meeting of the Council of State during the 1960s

The Council of State of the Republic of Poland was introduced by the 1947 Small Constitution. It consisted of the President of the Republic of Poland, the Marshal and Vicemarshals of Constituent Sejm, President of the Supreme Chamber of Control and could consist of other members. The Council of State had the power to approve decree-laws based on powers granted to the Council of Ministers by the Constituent Sejm, exercise the supreme control over the local national councils, approve promulgation of laws concerning the budget and military draft, declare a state of emergency and martial law, originate bills and others.

Under the 1952's Constitution of the Polish People's Republic, the Council of State consisted of 15 people: the Chairman, four Deputy Chairmen, the Secretary and nine Members. All were elected by the Sejm from among the deputies during its first session after elections. The Council of State served as a collective head of state, though its chairman was usually called the "president of Poland" in foreign countries. As such, it ratified and renounced international agreements, appointed and recalled the representatives of Poland to other states and to international organizations; it conferred orders and had the power of pardon. Some of its other Constitutional functions were:

  • convening and calling elections to the Sejm,
  • issue decrees during the periods between sessions of Sejm (the decrees had to be later accepted by the Sejm),
  • making legislative initiative,
  • determining the commentary of the statues.

The Council of State was repealed on July 19, 1989 by a constitutional amendment. Some of its functions were transferred to the newly created office of the President of the Republic of Poland.

Chairmen of the Council of State

See also



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