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Parliament and the political class in the constitutional reconstruction of Poland: Two constitutions in one

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Chapter Summary

This chapter demonstrates with reference to Poland that one should take seriously the conventional wisdom that constitutions act at various levels of societal structure. The chapter retraces the constitution-making process within its political context back to the Round Table negotiations at the end of the Communist rule in 1989, and then looks more closely at the content of the constitutional text as finally approved. Usually constitutions are officially interpreted as hierarchical normative structures with internal congruency. Constitutional history of post-Communist Poland suggests a different view that constitution is dualistic. It is composed of two parts, the internal constitution of the political class and the external constitution for the ‘citizen’ and for ‘everyone’. Solidarność, when ousted in elections from parliament, succeeded in gathering enough signatures so that its draft was also included in the final set to serve as the draft base for the National Assembly.

Keywords: 1989 round table; constitutional dualism; Polish parliament; political class; post-Communist Poland; Solidarność; transitional constitution-making



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