State Council (Poland)

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The State Council ( Polish Rada Państwa ) was a governing constitutional body in Poland from 1947 to 1989 . In 1952, when the People's Republic was proclaimed the collective head of state , he was given additional powers.


With the Small Constitution of 1947 , the State Council was formed as part of the executive branch . The powers of the State Council included: the right of initiative , the right to approve government decrees and the supervision of the national councils (local or communal government representation).

In addition to several members who were given ex officio seats in the State Council, it optionally consisted of members elected by the Sejm . The members were in particular:


On July 22, 1952, the new constitution was passed and came into force immediately. In the state renamed the People's Republic of Poland , the office of president was abolished and the powers of the State Council expanded, whereby the separation of powers was abandoned. They now included, among other things, the proclamation of the Sejm elections, the convening of the Sejmuntung periods, the right to issue enactments with the force of law between the conference periods and the supervision of the National Councils. Furthermore, the State Council became the authority for interpreting laws. She was endowed with typical features of a head of state, such as the right to grace and the right to bestow medals . In practice, the chairman of the Council of State acted as head of state by protocol , e.g. B. when receiving state visits .

According to the wording of the constitution, the Council of State was subordinate to the Sejm. The members of the Council of State were all elected by the Sejm from among the Sejm members at the beginning of the four-year legislative period and could be changed during this. The State Council was formed by:

  • Chairman of the State Council
  • Four deputy chairmen of the State Council
  • Secretary of the State Council
  • Nine (or eleven from 1961) full members of the Council of State

Thus the State Council initially consisted of 15, later of 17 members. There was a ban on combining the mandate of the Sejm Marshal or Deputy Sejm Marshal with the offices of the Chairman of the State Council or the State Council Secretary.

During the Stalinist dictatorship of Bolesław Bierut from 1952 to 1956, the right of the State Council to almost completely shut down parliament was abused. After 1957 this was only used very rarely. During this time, the Council of State performed predominantly representative tasks. In 1981 the powers of the State Council were used to proclaim martial law .


With the constitutional amendment on April 7, 1989, the State Council was abolished and some of its powers were transferred to the re-established office of President. He only held office until the state president was elected and inaugurated .

State Council Chairman

A total of seven politicians have held the office of chairman of the State Council (including the President from 1947–1952). Henryk Jabłoński served the longest : 1972–1985. All the state council chairmen were members of the dominant socialist party, PVAP . Until Wojciech Jaruzelski's appointment in 1985, however, there was no personal unity between the party leader, who had de facto power, and the chairman of the State Council.

Web links

Single receipts

  1. Ustawa z dnia 15 maja 1961 r. o zmianie liczby członków Rady Państwa. (Law of May 15, 1961 amending the number of members of the Council of State) (Polish)
  2. Ustawa z dnia 7 kwietnia 1989 r. o zmianie Konstytucji Polskiej Rzeczypospolitej Ludowej. (Law of 7 April 1989 amending the Constitution of the PR Poland) (Polish)