THE FIFTH OR SIXTH REPUBLIC? INTRODUCTORY REMARKS ON THE BASIC PRINCIPLES OF CHANGES OF THE FRENCH CONSTITUTION AND THEIR IMPACT ON POLISH CONSTITUTIONAL LAW THEORY (V czy VI Republika? Rozwazania..zmian konstytucji...dla doktryny polskiej)
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This article deals with the current modifications of the Constitution of the Fifth French Republic of 1958. During the 50 years of existence of this unique and novel constitution, considered in the context of the European constitutional tradition, many theoretical and practical observations and many different experiences from the functioning of political system have been gathered. The article, based on several versions and proposals of amendments (proposals from the Balladur Committee, texts submitted in the course of legislative work of the Senate and National Assembly) and opinions about them and commentaries from theoreticians, was written prior to the final adoption of the text of the amendment. Its aim was not to provide a simple description of constitutional modifications, but rather to examine selected principles underlying the proposed transformation of the French constitution, in the context of their scope, idea, as well as a particular 'settling accounts' with the concepts of the 1958 Constitution. It was an interesting idea, since the basic principles declared by the authors of the current amendment included democratization, modernization and effectiveness of the constitutional system. Moreover, the examination of the nature and extent of changes in the constitution have led to a reflection on whether they actually mean only modernization of the system of the Fifth Republic, as is declared by the advocates of the reform, or they should rather be considered as a step forward on the path to the Sixth Republic which have already been mentioned in the literature? Another area of interest of the article is references to the Polish reality. On the one hand, these are historic references, based on assessments of the French Constitution of 1958, which have appeared in the study of constitutional law in Poland over those 50 years. On the other hand, they concern the tendency to imitate it (and regret for not having succeeded), especially in the period of Poland's transformation and creation of a new Polish constitution, but also today, within the area of a strong Presidency, government effectiveness and methods of rationalization of the parliamentary system. Limited departure by the French constitutionalism from those concepts and, in particular, the current reinforcement of the position of Parliament and its oversight function, as well as softening of some procedures for rationalization of parliamentary system, may provide a relevant platform of study for Polish reformers.
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