This article attempts to compare the Constitution of the Republic of Poland of 2 April 1997 with the basic laws of other countries of Central and Eastern, and Southern Europe. The authors points out that even if the systemic transformations were initiated in 1989 in Poland, the adoption of Poland's constitution concluded the process of adoption of basic laws by the European countries of former Socialist bloc. Therefore, basic laws in other countries provided general outlines of transitions, while in Poland the constitution was adopted when many processes were considerably advanced, and it only consolidated them. Belated adoption of Poland's Constitution does not seem to be the reason for its being. As everybody knows, it was amended only once, while in Hungary, after the adoption in 1989 of the Act XXXI amending the constitution, it has been amended twenty-one more times. Most constitutions begin with a preamble. The basic laws discussed in this article has different size, and the Polish one is the largest (it contains 243 articles). It should be stressed that the authors of the majority of these basic laws give priority to the regulations concerning human and citizens' rights and freedoms as well as the ways of their protection, placing them before the provisions on the functioning of the State and its organs. Almost all basic laws also contain separate chapters relating to local government. Internationalization of constitutions is also their evident attribute. Introduction of a separate chapter on sources of law is the specificity of Poland's Constitution of 1997 (similar concept was adopted only in 1998 in the Albanian constitution). The provisions common to all basic laws include: a republican form of government, separation of powers (tripartite division) and the function of a head of state exercised by the President. In some countries there have taken place constitutionalization of the public prosecutors' offices, the bar or state audit. The above-mentioned analysis leads us to the conclusion that the Constitution of the Republic of Poland of 1997 does not differ from basic laws of other countries of Central and Eastern, and Southern Europe and is consistent with the trends of shaping system of government by those countries in the 1990s.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.