President of Poland

The President of the Republic of Poland (Polish: Prezydent Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej, shorter form: Prezydent RP) is the head of state of Poland. Their rights and obligations are determined in the Constitution of Poland. The president heads the executive branch. In addition the president has a right to dissolve the parliament in certain cases[3] and represents Poland in the international arena.

President of the
Republic of Poland
Prezydent Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej
Flag of the President of Poland
Prezydent Andrzej Duda podczas Zgromadzenia Narodowego w Poznaniu (cropped)
Andrzej Duda

since 6 August 2015
StyleMr. President
His Excellency
Member ofEuropean Council
ResidencePresidential Palace
SeatWarsaw, Poland
AppointerPopular vote
Term lengthFive years
renewable once
Constituting instrumentConstitution of Poland
Formation11 December 1922
First holderGabriel Narutowicz
Salary~68,000, annual[1][2]


The first president of Poland, Gabriel Narutowicz, was sworn in as president of the Second Republic on 11 December 1922. He was elected by the National Assembly (the Sejm and the Senate) under the terms of the 1921 Constitution of Poland. Previously Józef Piłsudski had been "Chief of State" (Naczelnik Państwa) under the provisional 1919 Constitution. In 1926, Piłsudski, who was fed up with regional bickering, staged a coup deposed the president and had the National Assembly elect a new one, Ignacy Mościcki, under the thumb of Sanacja. Just before Piłsudski died, parliament passed the 1935 April Constitution of Poland which incorporated Piłsudski's ideals, but was not in accord with the amendment procedures of the 1921 Constitution.[4] Mościcki continued as president until he resigned following the German invasion of Poland in 1939. Mościcki and his government went into exile first into Romania, where Mościcki was interned, then to Angers in France where Władysław Raczkiewicz, at the time the Speaker of the Senate, assumed the presidency following Mościcki's resignation on 29 September 1939,[5] and then on to London. The transfer from Mościcki to Raczkiewicz was in accordance with Article 24 of the 1935 April Constitution.[6][7]

Following the invasion of Poland by the Red Army in 1944, Bolesław Bierut assumed the reins of government, and in July 1945 was internationally recognized as the head of state, but it was not until 1947 when the Sejm passed an interim constitution based in part on the March 1921 constitution, that Bierut was elected president by the Sejm, the Senate having been abolished the previous year by the Polish people's referendum, 1946. He served until the 1952 Constitution eliminated the office of the president.[8]

Following the 1989 amendments to the constitution which restored the presidency,[9] Wojciech Jaruzelski, the existing head of state, took office. In Poland's first direct presidential election, Lech Wałęsa won and was sworn in on 22 December 1990. The office of the president was continued in the Constitution of 1997, which now provides the requirements for, the duties of and the authority of the office.


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


Warszawa Pałac Prezydencki 2011
Presidential Palace on Krakowskie Przedmieście in Warsaw, with equestrian statue of Prince Józef Poniatowski by Bertel Thorvaldsen. It serves as the official seat of presidency.

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

Belweder Warszawa
The Belweder Palace, often known simply as 'Belvedere', is the traditional and current official residence of the President.

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 is largest palace in Warsaw and 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, and is 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 in a château built for the Habsburgs as their hunting cottage, which was rebuilt between 1929-1931 and used as recreational residence by President Ignacy Mościcki. Since 2002 it is 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.
  • Presidential Residence 'Jurata-Hel' in Hel. The president's Baltic coastal retreat.

Acting President of Poland

POL palac prezydencki gabinet prezydenta
The office of president at the Presidential Palace in Warsaw.

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 Marshal 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.[10] Bronisław Komorowski took over acting presidential powers following the incident. On 8 July Bronislaw Komorowski resigned from the office of Marshal of the Sejm after winning the presidential election. According to the constitution, the acting president then became the Marshal of the Senate, Bogdan Borusewicz. In the afternoon Grzegorz Schetyna was elected as a new Marshal of the Sejm and he became acting president. Schetyna served as the interim head of state until Komorowski's swearing-in on 6 August.

Former Presidents

For the list of former presidents of Poland, see the List of heads of state of Poland.

Within Poland, former presidents are entitled to lifetime personal security protection by Biuro Ochrony Rządu officers, in addition to receiving a substantial pension and a private office. On 10 April 2010, Lech Kaczyński, president at the time, and Ryszard Kaczorowski, the last president-in-exile although not internationally recognized, died in the crash of the Polish Air Force Tu-154 en route to Russia.[11]

As of 2016, three former Presidents of Poland are alive:

Also, three former Acting Presidents are alive:

Living former Presidents

There are three living former Polish Presidents:

Lech Wałęsa, Łódź VIII European Economic Forum, October 2015 01
Lech Wałęsa
September 29, 1943 (age 75)
Aleksander Kwaśniewski, Łódź VIII European Economic Forum, October 2015 02
Aleksander Kwaśniewski
November 15, 1954 (age 64)
Rada Krajowa Platformy Obywatelskiej RP, Warszawa (6.02.2015) (15836909753) (cropped)
Bronisław Komorowski
June 4, 1952 (age 66)

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ E.g. when parliament fails to form a Council of Ministers or to adopt the budget
  4. ^ Garlicki, Andrzej (2001). "Majowa, marcowa, kwietniowa: Kto nam pisał konstytucje (The valley between the March and the April: We who wrote the constitutions)" (in Polish). Polityki Cyfrowej. Archived from the original on 18 October 2007., which first appeared in Garlicki, Andrzej (2001). "Kto nam pisał konstytucje: majowa, marcowa, kwietniowa". Polityka. 2001 (11): 78, 80, 82.
  5. ^ Rojek, Wojciech (2004). "Chapter 4: The government of the Republic of Poland in exile, 1945–92". In Stachura, Peter D. The Poles in Britain 1940–2000: from betrayal to assimilation. London: Frank Cass. p. 33. ISBN 978-0-7146-5562-8.
  6. ^ Garliński, Józef (1985). Poland in the Second World War. Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire, England: Macmillan. p. 48. ISBN 978-0-333-39258-4.
  7. ^ Jędrzejewicz, Wacław, ed. (1946). Poland in the British Parliament 1939–1945 Volume I: British guarantees to Poland to the Atlantic Charter (March 1939 – August 1941). New York: Jósef Piłsudski Institute of America for Research in the Modern History of Poland. p. 318. OCLC 312889779.
  8. ^ Simons, William B. (1980). "Constitution of the Polish People's Republic". In Simons, William B. The Constitutions of the Communist World. Alphen ann den Rijn, the Netherlands: Sijthoff & Noordhoff. pp. 288–310. ISBN 978-90-286-0070-6.
  9. ^ "Ustawa z dnia 29 gruduia 1989 r. o zmianie Konstytucja Polskiej Rzeczypospolitej Ludowej (An Act of 29 December 1989 to amend the Constitution of the Polish People's Republic)". Dz.U. 1989 Nr. 75, pos 444 (in Polish). Sejm, Government of Poland. Archived from the original on 15 April 2012.
  10. ^ "Polish President Lech Kaczynski dies in plane crash ", BBC, 10 April 2010, Retrieved 10 April 2010
  11. ^ Kulish, Nicholas (10 April 2010). "Polish President Dies in Jet Crash in Russia". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 11 April 2010.

External links

2005 Polish presidential election

The 2005 Presidential elections were held in Poland on October 9 and October 23, 2005. The outgoing President of Poland, Aleksander Kwaśniewski, had served two five-year terms and was unable to stand for a third term. Lech Kaczyński defeated Donald Tusk to become President of Poland.

Acting (law)

In law, when someone is said to be acting in a position it can mean that, the position has not yet been formally created, the person is only occupying the position temporarily to ensure continuity, or the person does not have a mandate.

Examples of acting positions include:

Acting mayor

Acting governor

Acting president

Acting prime minister

Acting President of the United States

Acting President of Israel

Acting President of Pakistan

Acting President of PolandIn the United States, the rules for appointment of acting officials are covered in many cases by the Federal Vacancies Reform Act of 1998.

Acting President of Poland

The acting President of the Republic of Poland (Polish: pełniący obowiązki prezydenta Rzeczpospolitej Polskiej, or p.o. prezydenta RP) is a temporary post provided for by the Polish Constitution.

The constitution states that the President is the head of state. If the President dies, resigns, is removed from office or unable to execute his/her powers and duties, a predetermined person will assume the powers and duties as acting President.

In the incapacity scenario, the acting President is just a temporary deputy. In the case of a vacancy, however, he becomes the head of state until the next election, albeit without the title of President, and retaining his previous office. In either case, all the powers of the President devolve to the acting President, with the exception of the right to dissolve the Parliament.

The first person in line to become acting President is the Marshal of the Sejm. Should he be unable to serve, the next is the Marshal of the Senate. This order of precedence has been in effect since the creation of the Office of President, with the exception of the period 1935-1939, when the order was reversed.

To date four people have served as acting President: Maciej Rataj who did so twice, Bronisław Komorowski,

Bogdan Borusewicz and Grzegorz Schetyna. Rataj, Komorowski and Schetyna were Marshals of the Sejm, and Borusewicz the Speaker of the Senate. Rataj's first term was between the assassination of President Gabriel Narutowicz and the election of Stanisław Wojciechowski, December 16–22, 1922, the second between the resignation of President Wojciechowski and the election of Ignacy Mościcki, May 15–June 4, 1926. Both times he appointed a new cabinet. Komorowski became acting President on April 10, 2010, following the death of President Lech Kaczyński in a plane crash.

On July 8, 2010 Poland had three different acting Presidents. Komorowski (having won the new presidential elections) resigned as Speaker of the Sejm in the morning, and Borusewicz, who served as the speaker of the Senate took over as acting president for several hours, until Schetyna was confirmed as new Speaker of the Sejm and the new acting president.

During the period of communist rule, two Sejm Marshals served very briefly as Presidents pro tempore of the State National Council:

Franciszek Trąbalski (February 4, 1947 - Sejm Marshal pro tempore due to seniority)

Władysław Kowalski (February 4–5, 1947 - elected Sejm Marshal)

Andrzej Duda

Andrzej Sebastian Duda (Polish pronunciation: [ˈandʐɛj ˈduda] (listen); born 16 May 1972) is a Polish politician who serves as the sixth and current President of Poland, holding the office since 6 August 2015. Before his tenure as President, Duda was a member of Polish Lower House (Sejm) from 2011 to 2014 and the European Parliament from 2014 to 2015.Duda was the presidential candidate for the right wing Law and Justice party, during the 2015 presidential election in May 2015. In the first round of voting, Duda received 5,179,092 votes – 34.76% of valid votes. In the second round of voting, Duda received 51.55% of the vote, beating the incumbent president Bronisław Komorowski, who received 48.45% of the vote. On 26 May 2015, Duda resigned his party membership as the president-elect.

August Zaleski

August Zaleski (13 September 1883 – 7 April 1972) was a Polish economist, freemason, politician, and diplomat. Twice Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland, he served as the 6th President of Poland within the 2nd Polish Government in Exile.

Bolesław Bierut

Bolesław Bierut ([bɔˈlɛswaf ˈbjɛrut] (listen); 18 April 1892 – 12 March 1956) was a Polish Communist leader, NKVD agent, and a hard-line Stalinist who became President of Poland after the defeat of the Nazi forces in World War II.

Bronisław Komorowski

Bronisław Maria Komorowski [brɔˈɲiswaf kɔmɔˈrɔfskʲi] (listen) (born 4 June 1952) is a Polish politician and historian who served as President of Poland from 2010 to 2015.

Komorowski served as Minister of Defence from 2000 to 2001. As Marshal of the Sejm (Speaker of the lower house of Parliament), Komorowski exercised the powers and duties of head of state following the death of President Lech Kaczyński in a plane crash on 10 April 2010. Komorowski was then the governing Civic Platform party's candidate in the resulting presidential election, which he won in the second round of voting on 4 July 2010. He was sworn in as President on 6 August 2010. Komorowski thus became the second person to serve on two occasions as Polish head of state since 1918, after Maciej Rataj.

On 25 May 2015, Komorowski conceded the presidency of Poland to the rival candidate Andrzej Duda, after the latter won the second round of the 2015 presidential election.

Civic Platform

Civic Platform (Polish: Platforma Obywatelska, PO) is a liberal-conservative and Christian democratic political party in Poland. Civic Platform came to power following the 2007 general election as the major coalition partner in Poland's government, with party leader Donald Tusk as Prime Minister of Poland. Tusk was re-elected as Prime Minister in the 2011 general election but stepped down three years later to assume the post of President of the European Council. Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz led the party in the 2015 general election but was defeated by the Law and Justice party. On 16 November 2015 Civic Platform government stepped down after exactly 8 years in power. In 2010 Civic Platform candidate Bronisław Komorowski was elected as President of Poland, but failed in running for re-election in 2015. PO is the second largest party in the Sejm, with 138 seats, and the Senate, with 33 seats. Civic Platform is a member of the European People's Party (EPP).

The party was formed in 2001 as a split from Solidarity Electoral Action (AWS), under the leadership of Andrzej Olechowski and Maciej Płażyński, with Donald Tusk of the Freedom Union (UW). In the 2001 general election, PO emerged as the largest opposition party, behind the ruling centre-left party Democratic Left Alliance (SLD). PO remained the second-largest party at the 2005 general election, but this time behind the national-conservative party Law and Justice (PiS). In 2007, Civic Platform overtook PiS, now established as the dominant parties, and formed a coalition government with the Polish People's Party. Following the Smolensk disaster of April 2010, Bronisław Komorowski became the first President from PO in the 2010 presidential election.

Since its creation, the party has shown stronger electoral performances in Warsaw, the west, and the north of Poland.

Donald Tusk

Donald Franciszek Tusk (; Polish: [ˈdɔnalt franˈt͡ɕiʂɛk ˈtusk] (listen); born 22 April 1957) is a Polish politician who has been the President of the European Council since 2014. He served as Prime Minister of Poland from 2007 to 2014 and was a co-founder and chairman of the Civic Platform (Platforma Obywatelska) political party.Tusk has been involved in Polish politics since the early 1990s, having founded several political parties and held elected office almost continuously since 1991. Tusk was one of the co-founders of the free-market-oriented Liberal Democratic Congress party. He entered the Sejm (lower chamber of Poland's parliament) in 1991, but lost his seat in the 1993 election which went badly for the Congress.

In 1994, the Congress merged with the Democratic Union to form the Freedom Union. In 1997, Tusk was elected to the Senate, and became its deputy speaker. In 2001, he co-founded another centre-right party, Civic Platform (PO), and he was again elected to the Sejm, and became its deputy speaker.He was elected Prime Minister in 2007 and with his party's victory in the 2011 Polish parliamentary election, he became the first Prime Minister to be re-elected since the fall of Communism in Poland. In 2014, he became President of the European Council, and was re-elected to this position in 2017. He resigned as Polish Prime Minister to take the role, having been the longest-serving Prime Minister of the Third Polish Republic.

Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz

Hanna Beata Gronkiewicz-Waltz (Polish pronunciation: [ˈxanna bɛˈata ɡrɔnˈkʲɛvid͡ʐ ˈvalt͡s], born 4 November 1952) is a Polish politician and lawyer, Professor of Jurisprudence and politician who has served as the Mayor of Warsaw between 2006 and 2018. She is the first woman to hold this position.

History of Poland (1989–present)

In 1989–1991, Poland engaged in a democratic transition which put an end to the Polish People's Republic and led to the foundation of a democratic government, known as the Third Polish Republic (following the First and Second Polish Republics). After ten years of democratic consolidation, Poland joined NATO in 1999 and the European Union in 2004.

Ignacy Mościcki

Ignacy Mościcki (Polish pronunciation: [iɡˈnatsɨ mɔɕˈtɕitskʲi]; 1 December 1867 – 2 October 1946) was a Polish chemist, politician, and President of Poland from 1926 to 1939. He was the longest serving President in Poland's history.

Judiciary of Poland

Judiciary of Poland is a responsibility, as defined by the constitution of Poland, of a four-tier court system: the Supreme Court of Poland, the common courts, administrative courts (including the Supreme Administrative Court of Poland) and military courts. Therefore, tribunals (such as the Constitutional Tribunal and State Tribunal) are, in a strict definition, not part of Polish judiciary, but in a broad definition, they are included in it.

The common courts, divided into appellate courts, district courts and regional courts, have the competency in criminal, civil, economic, labor and family law.

Court judges in Poland are nominated by the Krajowa Rada Sądownictwa (National Council of the Judiciary) and are appointed for life by the president of Poland.

Prosecution in Poland is formed by the Public Prosecutor General, the National Public Prosecutor's Office, regional, district and appellate prosecutions, military prosecutors, and the prosecutors of the Institute of National Remembrance.

Kazimierz Sabbat

Kazimierz Aleksander Sabbat (27 February 1913 – 19 July 1989), was President of Poland in Exile from 8 April 1986 until his death, 19 July 1989, after serving (from 1976) as Prime Minister of the Polish Government in Exile.

Marek Borowski

Marek Stefan Borowski (Polish pronunciation: [ˈmarɛk bɔˈrɔfskʲi]; born 4 January 1946 in Warsaw, Poland) is a Polish left-wing politician. He led the Democratic Left Alliance (SLD) for a time and was Speaker of the Sejm (the lower, more powerful, house of Poland's parliament) from 2001 to 2004.


Podporucznik (literally sub-porucznik) is a military rank of the Polish Army, roughly equivalent to the military rank of the Second Lieutenant in the armed forces of the English-speaking countries. It is abbreviated as a title as "ppor.". The rank of Podporucznik is awarded by the office of the President of Poland to graduates of the Tadeusz Kościuszko Land Forces Military Academy in Wrocław.

Ryszard Kaczorowski

Ryszard Kaczorowski, GCMG ([ˈrɨʂart kat͡ʂɔˈrɔfskʲi] (listen); 26 November 1919 – 10 April 2010) was a Polish statesman. Between 1989-90, he served as the last President of Poland in exile. He succeeded Kazimierz Sabbat, and resigned his post following Poland's regaining independence from the Soviet sphere of influence and the election of Lech Wałęsa as the first democratically elected President of Poland since before the Second World War. He also passed the presidential insignia to Wałęsa, thus ending the 45-year long episode of the Polish government in exile.

Włodzimierz Cimoszewicz

Włodzimierz Cimoszewicz (Polish pronunciation: [vwɔˈd͡ʑimjɛʂ t͡ɕimɔˈʂɛvit͡ʂ] (listen), born 13 September 1950 in Warsaw, Poland) is a Polish politician.

Zbigniew Religa

Zbigniew Eugeniusz Religa ([ˈzbʲiɡɲɛf rɛˈliɡa] (listen); December 16, 1938 – March 8, 2009) was a prominent Polish cardiac surgeon and politician.

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