President of Poland
President of the
Republic of Poland
|Term length||Five years, renewable once|
|Inaugural holder||Gabriel Narutowicz|
|Formation||11 December 1922|
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 executive authority. He has a right to dissolve the parliament in certain cases (e.g. when it fails to form a Council of Ministers or to adopt the budget).
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.
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
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 has power to ratify and revoke international agreements, nominates and recalls ambassadors, and formally accepts the accreditations of representatives of other states. The President also makes decisions on award of highest academic titles, as well as 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.
Republic of Poland (1989–Present)
President of the Republic
|Took office||Left office||Political Party||Notes|
|31 December 1989||22 December 1990||Polish United Workers' Party||When the state name was changed to Republic of Poland on 31 December 1989, the office was renamed accordingly.|
|22 December 1990||22 December 1995||Solidarity||Elected 1990, the first President elected by popular vote.|
|23 December 1995||23 December 2005||Social Democracy||Elected 1995 and 2000, the first President of Third Republic elected twice.|
|23 December 2005||10 April 2010||Law and Justice||Elected 2005. Died in an airplane crash, which also claimed the life of the last President of the Government-in-Exile, Ryszard Kaczorowski.|
|6 August 2010||Incumbent||Civic Platform||Elected 2010.|
Acting President of Poland
The constitution states that the President is an elected office, there is no directly elected presidential line of succession. If the President is unable to execute his/her powers and duties, the marshall of the sejm will have the powers of a President for a maximum of 60 days until elections are called.
On 10 April 2010 a plane carrying Polish President Lech Kaczyński, his wife, and 94 others including many Polish officials crashed near Smolensk-North Airport in Russia. There were no survivors. Bronisław Komorowski took over acting presidential powers following the incident. On 8 July Bronislaw Komorowski resigned from marshall power after winning the presidential election. According to the constitution, the acting president then became the marshall of senate, Bogdan Borusewicz. In the afternoon Grzegorz Schetyna was elected as a new marshall of the Sejm and he became acting president. Schetyna served as the interim head of state until Komorowski's swearing-in on 6 August.
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 a private office.
As of 2014, two former Presidents of Poland are alive:
Also, three former Acting Presidents are alive:
- Bronisław Komorowski (2010, currently also President)
- Bogdan Borusewicz (2010)
- Grzegorz Schetyna (2010)
- Polish presidential elections of 1990, 1995, 2000, 2005, 2010
- Prime Minister of Poland
- Polish government in exile
- List of heads of state of Poland
- List of Polish monarchs
- Lists of incumbents
- Naczelnik państwa
- "Polish President Lech Kaczynski dies in plane crash ", BBC, 10 April 2010, Retrieved 10 April 2010
- President of Poland Official Website