Battle over the Constitution


The opposition Law and Justice party has put forward propositions for a change in Poland’s Constitution.


Reviewed by Slawek Szefs 


Three priority tasks for 2010 have been outlined by the leader of the major parliamentary club Grzegorz Schetyna. In an interview for GAZETA WYBORCZA the Civic Platform (PO) politician enumerates amending the Constitution, a reform of public finances and a return to the inertia ridden reform of public health service. Should the opposition display inclination for cooperation, these could be carried out still before the autumn scheduled presidential elections, he argues, adding these issues should be void of political bargaining. We want to prepare Poland for a civilization leap to place it in the group of the most advanced countries in Europe, Schetyna declared. 


Looking ahead to the discussion on changes in the Supreme Law of The Land, RZECZPOSPOLITA discloses the main directions outlined by the major opposition party Law and Justice (PiS). In its provisions entitled Constitution of the Fourth Republic (clearly addressing the concept of creating a new era in Polish statehood pursued by PiS) Law and Justice strongly advocates the strengthening of presidential powers. Not surprisingly, this runs in total opposition to proposals of the ruling Civic Platform. Other prominent amendments suggested by PiS include the definition of marriage as a relationship if a man and woman, and indirectly forming a basis for refusal to legally register homosexual couples through describing intimate relations as a strictly private affair of the persons concerned. 


DZIENNIK GAZETA PRAWNA informs that Poland has lost its chance of retrieving a number of valuable art collections taken over by the Soviet Union after World War Two. This due to the Polish government’s foot dragging to continue talks on the return of paintings and drawings taken from Poland and presently in the possession of the Pushkin Museum in Moscow. Hope for their return came with last year’s September visit to Warsaw of PM Vladimir Putin and a relevant agreement to solve the problem.


But Poland’s Foreign Ministry has failed to follow up on the diplomatic note, despite the Russian ambassador’s signaled readiness for further discussion coupled with favorable Russian media comment to solve the issue. 


The free Warsaw city daily METRO examines the professional careers of members of the academic community, especially professors. A survey conducted by the Ministry of Science and Higher Education has revealed that over half of top staff have official full time employment in at least two universities or colleges. A record breaking dean of one of the academic centers was found to have nine such contracts. Another hard working professional responsible for coordinating curricula has been in charge of the projects in 28 schools of higher learning. No wonder student complaints about missing lectures or skipping consultation classes by their professors have become louder and louder, the daily observes. The Ministry has announced actions to sharply reduce the practice of multiple employment of academic lecturers quoting reasons of maintaining proper education standards.