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Poland Government

    Country name:
    conventional long form: Republic of Poland
    conventional short form: Poland
    local long form: Rzeczpospolita Polska
    local short form: Polska

    Data code: PL

    Government type: democratic state

    Capital: Warsaw

    Administrative divisions: 16 provinces (wojewodztwa, singular—wojewodztwo); Dolnoslaskie, Kujawsko-Pomorskie, Lodzkie, Lubelskie, Lubuskie, Malopolskie, Mazowieckie, Opolskie, Podkarpackie, Podlaskie, Pomorskie, Slaskie, Swietokrzyskie, Warminsko-Mazurskie, Wielkopolskie, Zachodniopomorskie

    Independence: 11 November 1918 (independent republic proclaimed)

    National holiday: Constitution Day, 3 May (1791); Independence Day, November 11 (1918)

    Constitution: 16 October 1997; adopted by the National Assembly on 2 April 1997; passed by national referendum 23 May 1997

    Legal system: mixture of Continental (Napoleonic) civil law and holdover communist legal theory; changes being gradually introduced as part of broader democratization process; limited judicial review of legislative acts although under the new constitution, the Constitutional Tribunal ruling will become final as of October 1999; court decisions can be appealed to the European Court of Justice in Strasbourg

    Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

    Executive branch:
    chief of state: President Aleksander KWASNIEWSKI (since 23 December 1995)
    head of government: Prime Minister Jerzy BUZEK (since NA October 1997), Deputy Prime Ministers Leszek BALCEROWICZ (since 31 October 1997), Janusz TOMASZEWSKI (since 31 October 1997)
    cabinet: Council of Ministers responsible to the prime minister and the Sejm; the prime minister proposes, the president appoints, and the Sejm approves the Council of Ministers
    elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term; election first round held 5 November 1995, second round held 19 November 1995 (next to be held NA November 2000); prime minister and deputy prime ministers appointed by the president and confirmed by the Sejm
    election results: Aleksander KWASNIEWSKI elected president in 1995; percent of popular vote, second round—Aleksander KWASNIEWSKI 51.7%, Lech WALESA 48.3%; Jerzy BUZEK selected prime minister in 1997

    Legislative branch: bicameral National Assembly or Zgromadzenie Narodowe consists of the Sejm (460 seats; members are elected under a complex system of proportional representation to serve four-year terms) and the Senate or Senat (100 seats; members are elected by a majority vote on a provincial basis to serve four-year terms)
    elections: Sejm elections last held 21 September 1997 (next to be held by NA September 2001); Senate—last held 21 September 1997 (next to be held by NA September 2001)
    election results: Sejm—percent of vote by party—AWS 33.8%, SLD 27.1%, UW 13.4%, PSL 7.3%, ROP 5.6%, MN 0.4%, other 12.4%; seats by party—AWS 201, SLD 164, UW 60, PSL 27, ROP 6, MN 2; Senate—percent of vote by party—NA; seats by party—AWS 51, SLD 28, UW 8, ROP 5, PSL 3, independents 5; note—seats by party in the Sejm as of December 1997: AWS 200, SLD 164, UW 60, PSL 26, ROP 4, MN 2, other 4
    note: four seats are constitutionally assigned to ethnic German parties

    Judicial branch: Supreme Court, judges are appointed by the president on the recommendation of the National Council of the Judiciary for an indefinite period; Constitutional Tribunal, judges are chosen by the Sejm for nine-year terms

    Political parties and leaders:
    post-Communist: Democratic Left Alliance or SLD (Social Democracy of Poland) [Leszek MILLER]; Polish Peasant Party or PSL [Jaroslaw KALINOWSKI]
    post-Solidarity parties: Freedom Union or UW; note—Democratic Union and Liberal Democratic Congress merged to form Freedom Union [Leszek BALCEROWICZ]; Christian-National Union or ZCHN [Marian PILKA]; Center Alliance Party or PC [Jaroslaw KACZYNSKI]; Peasant Alliance or PL [Gabriel JANOWSKI]; Solidarity Electoral Action Social Movement or RS AWS [Jerzy BUZEK]; Union of Labor or UP [Aleksander MALACHOWSKI]; Conservative Party or PK [Aleksander HALL]
    non-Communist, non-Solidarity: Movement for the Reconstruction of Poland or ROP [Jan OLSZEWSKI]; Confederation for an Independent Poland or KPN [Adam SLOMKA]; German Minority or MN [Henryk KROLL]; Union of Real Politics or UPR [Stanislaw MICHALKIEWICZ]

    Political pressure groups and leaders: powerful Roman Catholic Church; Solidarity (trade union); All Poland Trade Union Alliance or OPZZ (trade union)

    International organization participation: Australia Group, BIS, BSEC (observer), CBSS, CCC, CE, CEI, CERN, EAPC, EBRD, ECE, EU (applicant), FAO, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IEA (observer), IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITU, MINURSO, MONUA, NAM (guest), NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OPCW, OSCE, PCA, PFP, UN, UNCTAD, UNDOF, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNIFIL, UNIKOM, UNMIBH, UNMOP, UNMOT, UNOMIG, UNPREDEP, UPU, WCL, WEU (associate partner), WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO, ZC

    Diplomatic representation in the US:
    chief of mission: Ambassador Jerzy KOZMINSKI
    chancery: 2640 16th Street NW, Washington, DC 20009
    telephone: [1] (202) 234-3800 through 3802
    FAX: [1] (202) 328-6271
    consulate(s) general: Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York

    Diplomatic representation from the US:
    chief of mission: Ambassador Daniel FRIED
    embassy: Aleje Ujazdowskie 29/31 00-054, Warsaw P1
    mailing address: American Embassy Warsaw, US Department of State, Washington, DC 20521-5010 (pouch)
    telephone: [48] (22) 628-30-41
    FAX: [48] (22) 625-67-31
    consulate(s) general: Krakow

    Flag description: two equal horizontal bands of white (top) and red; similar to the flags of Indonesia and Monaco which are red (top) and white

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Revised 1-Mar-99
Copyright © 1999 Photius Coutsoukis (all rights reserved)