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Polish President confirms intention to hold two referenda

PR dla Zagranicy
Roberto Galea 12.06.2017 09:33
Polish President Andrzej Duda has confirmed that he plans to hold two referenda, one on changes to the Constitution in 2018 and another about Poland's acceptance of refugees in 2019.
Polish President Andrzej Duda. Photo: KPRPPolish President Andrzej Duda. Photo: KPRP

In an interview with the Super Express daily, Duda said that he would like the Constitutional referendum – which he has suggested for 11 November 2018 – to include “questions that will guide the direction of systemic change” in the Polish constitution.

“Poles will be able to decide, for example, whether they want the president to be elected in general elections, as is the case at present, or by a National Assembly, as in other countries,” Duda said.

“Is the president supposed to have a stronger position, as elected by the people, or should the role be more symbolic?”

Duda also said that he plans to hold a separate referendum on whether Poland should accept refugees as part of an EU relocation programme. The ballot would be held on the same day as the general election in 2019, Duda said.

The last general election in 2015 brought the conservative Law and Justice party (PiS) to power with a four-year mandate.

In May, Duda said that the nation should decide whether to introduce changes to the constitution. He has proposed 11 November 2018 as the date of such a referendum.

“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.”

Poland is one of just several countries in the EU which have not accepted refugees as part of a programme to relocate asylum seekers residing in camps in Italy and Greece.

The Law and Justice party has voiced opposition to the EU redistribution plans. (rg)

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