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  • 3 May 2013

    On May 3, 1791, the Constitution of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth was adopted. It was the first constitution of modern Europe and second in the world, following the American one. It was a significant achievement of the Polish Enlightenment thinkers.

    Only two days after the Constitution had been passed by the Grand Sejm (1788-1792), the 3rd of May was established a national holiday, and subsequently it was suspended for a long time due to the country’s partitioning. It was reinstituted after Poland regained its freedom in 1918. After World War II, in 1946, the communist authorities forbade its public celebration, and attempts of manifestations were suppressed by militiamen. In 1951 the holiday was officially cancelled. Since 1990 the 3rd of May Holiday has again been celebrated as an official statutory holiday in Poland, and a red-letter day. Since 2007 it has also been the national holiday of Lithuania.

     

     

    Particularly solemn atmosphere can be observed during the major 3rd of May Holiday celebrations before the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the Piłsudski Square in Warsaw. They involve a military parade, volleys, ceremonious change of guards, laying wreaths. Representatives of the top Polish state authorities, military authorities, clergy, as well as representatives of the diplomatic corps, veterans, scouts and thousands of Warsaw residents pay tribute to the accomplishment of eminent Poles.

     

    The current Constitution of the Republic of Poland, passed by the National Assembly (the Sejm and Senate sitting in a joint session) on April 2nd, 1997, was approved by the Nation in the referendum of May 25th of the same year. It was signed by the President of Poland Aleksander Kwaśniewski on July 16th, 1997, and came into effect as of October 17th, 1997. The Constitution guarantees respect for all the civil rights - the personal, political, economic, social and cultural rights and freedoms - regarded as standard for a democratic country.

    All the organs of the Polish State are charged with the upholding of and compliance with the Constitution. This is the special duty of the Constitutional Tribunal, a court appointed to supervise the constitutionality of laws. Every Polish citizen has the right to bring a complaint to the Constitutional Tribunal against any breach of the Constitution.

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