A meeting of the Council of State during the 1960s
The Council of State of the Republic of Poland was introduced by the Small Constitution of 1947. It was preceded by the State National Council created in 1943 by Gomułka. The Council of State consisted of the President of the Republic of Poland, the Marshal and Vice-marshals of the Sejm, President of the Supreme Chamber of Control and other members. The Council of State had the power to approve decrees issued by the Council of Ministers of the Sejm, exercise the supreme control over the local national councils, approve promulgation of laws concerning the budget and military draft, declare a state of emergency and martial law, originate bills and others.
Under Article 29 of the 1952 Constitution of the Polish People's Republic, the Council of State consisted of seventeen people: its Chairman, four Deputy Chairmen, its Secretary and eleven other members. All were elected by the Sejm during its first session after elections. Members did not have to be Sejm deputies. They were usually chosen from the Polish United Workers' Party. although occasionally the council contained non-party members. The council as a whole was officially Poland's head of state, though in practice this role was usually fulfilled by the chairman, who was often called the "President of Poland" in foreign countries. As collective head of state, it ratified or renounced international agreements, appointed and recalled the representatives of Poland to other states and to international organizations; it conferred orders and had the power of pardon. Some of its other Constitutional functions were:
convening and calling elections to the Sejm,
issue decrees during periods between Sejm sessions (the decrees had to be later accepted by the Sejm),
making legislative initiative,
determining the commentary of the statues.
The Council of State was repealed on July 19, 1989 by a constitutional amendment. Some of its functions were transferred to the re-created office of the President of the Republic of Poland.
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^Lepak, Keith John (1988). "Political System I, 1971-1976: Edward Gierek, the party-state, and Polish society". Prelude to Solidarity: Poland and the Politics of the Gierek Regime. New York: Columbia University Press. p. 56. ISBN978-0-231-06608-2.