Presidential aide: no more than 10 referendum questions

Once a final version of the questions is submitted, the Senate has 14 days to approve or reject the presidential motion. Photo: PAP/Marcin Obara

Presidential aide Paweł Mucha said that the number of questions to appear in this year’s Constitutional referendum may be cut from 15 to a maximum of 10.

Mr Mucha met with Senate Speaker Stanisław Karczewski on Wednesday to discuss the proposal, and the two are set to meet again next week.

“We spoke about seven to eight questions, 10 maximum,” Mr Karczewski said.

“There may be fewer [than 10] questions. We are still at the stage where modifications can be made … if such proposals are suggested by the Senate or the ruling Law and Justice party,” Mr Mucha said.

Last week, the National Development Council forwarded proposals for 15 questions for the Constitutional referendum.

Among the original proposals were questions referring to the adoption of a new Constitution, or making amendments to the current one, a constitutional guarantee of Poland’s EU and NATO membership, guarantees of Poland’s sovereignty within the EU and the priority of the Constitution over international and European law, as well as the guarantee of dedicated aid for families through benefit initiatives such as the 500 Plus program which gives a monthly subsidy to families with multiple children.

According to the current Constitution, a nationwide referendum in matters of special importance for the state can be called by the Polish parliament’s lower house, or by the president of the Republic with the consent of the Senate.

President Andrzej Duda proposed the original date for the referendum as November 10 and 11, to coincide with Poland’s 100th anniversary of the country regaining its independence.

According to a survey conducted at the end of May, 52.9 percent of Poles were not in favor of their President’s idea of holding a consultative referendum on the Constitution. Only 35.6 percent by pollster IBRIS commissioned by the “Rzeczpospolita” daily said it was a good idea, while 6.4 percent had no opinion on the matter.

Once a final version of the questions is submitted, the Senate has 14 days to approve or reject the presidential motion.

“In the year in which we are celebrating our 100th independence anniversary, we should have an especially strong sense of being able to shape our own future and that of our country as a fully sovereign people and society,” President Duda declared in April, when he announced his intention to call for a Constitutional referendum.