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Polish president proposes referendum about constitution

PR dla Zagranicy
Roberto Galea 03.05.2017 13:21
Polish President Andrzej Duda has said that the nation should decide whether to introduce changes to the constitution, proposing a referendum next year.
Polish President Duda announced the referendum on Wednesday. Photo: PAP/Leszek Szymański Polish President Duda announced the referendum on Wednesday. Photo: PAP/Leszek Szymański

“Poles have a right to say whether the constitution, which has been in force for 20 years, should be changed,” Duda said during events marking the 3 May Constitution Day celebrations in Warsaw.

“It's time for a serious constitutional debate, not just with politicians but with the whole of the nation.”

Duda added that Poles themselves should be able to decide on the directions of the country's development. “Which civil rights, which freedoms must be more strongly highlighted,” he said.

Wednesday, a national holiday in Poland, marked the anniversary of the signing of the Polish constitution in 1791, the first such document in Europe.

Poland “should be a country where everyone is absolutely equal before the law”, Duda said.

He said the country should be a place “Where there are no unfounded privileges, where there are no better castes of citizens, where all citizens are united. This is a task which, in my opinion as president, must be fulfilled.”

In his speech in from of the Royal Castle in Warsaw's Old Town, Duda added that such a choice should be taken through a public vote. “I want to have a referendum on the Constitution of the Republic next year – the 100th anniversary of independence,” Duda said.

The pioneering 3 May constitution was considered a threat to the European status quo by Russia, Austria and Prussia, especially in the light of the French Revolution, and the Polish reforms hastened the dismemberment of Poland by the aforementioned countries.

However, although the 3 May became a public holiday after Poland was reborn following World War I, the holiday was banned by the Moscow-backed communist regime that took power after World II.

It was only in April 1990 that the 3 May holiday was reinstated. (rg)

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