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Senators reject Polish president’s push for constitution referendum

PR dla Zagranicy
Paweł Kononczuk 25.07.2018 18:12
Senators on Wednesday rejected a push by Poland’s president to hold a referendum later this year on possible changes to the country’s constitution.
Andrzej DudaAndrzej DudaPhoto: prezydent.pl

The decision came as a blow to President Andrzej Duda, who hails from Poland’s ruling conservative Law and Justice party.

But senior figures in the party had voiced qualms over his proposal to hold a referendum on November 10 and 11, when Poland marks the centenary of its independence.

Thirty members of the country’s upper house opposed Duda’s plan, ten backed it while 52 abstained.

The Senate’s decision means the referendum cannot go ahead this November.

Last Friday, Duda said the referendum would aim to gauge if Poles want to keep their constitution, which dates back to 1997, change it, or have a new one.

He also said he wanted to ask whether Poles wanted the retirement age, state benefits for families, and Poland's place in NATO and the European Union to be enshrined in the constitution.

Voters would also have been asked if the president should have more powers and if the constitution should refer to Poland's Christian values and heritage.

The result of the referendum would not have dictated the future of the constitution but acted as an indication of changes Poles wanted to see.

Poland marks its centenary of independence on November 11.

Polish statesman Józef Piłsudski announced independence on 11 November, 1918, the day an armistice to end the Great War was signed, paving the way for Poland to return to the map of Europe after more than 120 years of partitions and foreign rule.

(pk)

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