Impediments to public consultations in the Polish local self-government
Keywords:public consultations, self-government in Poland, direct democracy
The aim of this paper is a comparative analysis of legislative solutions and practical application of the public consultations in the Polish local government after 1989. The legal changes that occurred during this period have guaranteed Polish citizens the tool to direct exercising the political power. Unfortunately, the lack of legislative precision in the use of mechanisms of civic participation in Poland is characteristic of public consultation. Despite the fact that this solution has been used by public administration since the political-system transformation and the passing of the Act on Gmina Self-Government of 1990, and that in 1997 the consultations as a form of the exercise of power by the citizens were also established in the Constitution, for the first two decades there was a fairly great freedom of interpretation in holding them, which the local self-government authorities widely used. Positive changes in the practice of using the mechanisms of public consultation in Poland, including the formulation of the widely accepted set of guidelines and practical advice concerning the manner of implementing these mechanisms, began to take place only in the last four to five years. Main thesis of the paper is the opinion that public consultations in the example of the Polish self-government despite nearly three decades of legislative and political experiences are still not an effective tool of direct democracy, but only a bureaucratic facade.
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