ELECTION CAMPAIGN PROMISES IN THE CONTEXT OF THE INSTRUMENT OF PUBLIC PLEDGE (Obietnice wyborcze w swietle przyrzeczenia publicznego)
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This article attempts to answer the question whether election promises made by the candidates for public functions in the course of election campaign, may be considered as public pledges within the meaning of the Civil Code. A positive answer to this question would imply acceptance of civil law claims raised against those candidates for fulfilment of promises made in the course of election campaign. For purposes of this analysis, the following categories of promises made by candidates may be distinguished: pre-election promises (the promised award is to be delivered before the election day, e.g. promise of snacks for those who attend the election meeting.) and post-election promises. The latter included concrete promises (where the promised award is an element of the election programme of the candidate, that he wishes to carry out after the election) and abstract (where the promised award is to be the consequence of achievement of the election programme. The examination of the problem of classification of election promises in the context of the institution of public pledge, first of all required an answer to the question whether election promises has the nature of declaration of will under civil law. Contrary to the popular view, it was established that election promises have, in principle, the nature of declarations of will. This is because now there is no binding custom which would compel to give the made promises the sense other than that defined by semantic rules of general language. However, only election promises may be considered as public pledges and they cause any legal consequences specified by Article 919 et seq. of the Civil Code. Additionally, from a structural point of view, election promises differ from public pledges, because the promised award depends on the occurrence of a particular state of affairs, ie. electoral victory of the candidate or a political party, and does not depend on performance of a particular action (as secret voting cannot be considered as such). Moreover, candidates do not make specific promises on their on account, but on the account of the State Treasury, even if they are not authorised to do so. As concerns abstract promises, granting of an award would depend on issuance of particular normative acts, but issuance of such acts cannot be the subject matter of performance in civil law.
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