The Marshal of the Sejm, Elżbieta Witek, referred to five legal opinions from 2018 in justifying the decision to conduct a reassumption of the vote. Miłosz Motyka from PSL presented a new opinion, drawn up after the second vote, by the constitutionalist, doctor habilitated Jacek Zaleśny. He points out that reassumption can be “used only when justified doubts are raised by the result of the vote.” He adds that it cannot be carried out “in order to change the position of MPs on a given matter”.
Last Wednesday, during a session of the Sejm, which adopted, inter alia, the anti-TVN law, there was a controversial reassumption of the vote on the motion to postpone the meeting until September. First, the Sejm accepted this motion, but after the break extended several times, the Marshal of the Sejm, Elżbieta Witek, ordered a reassumption of the vote, which was supported by 229 deputies, with one vote against and one abstention. In another vote, the Sejm rejected the motion to adjourn the session.
Marshal Witek, explaining then her decision on the reassumption, said that during the break she “consulted five lawyers” on the subject. On Monday, the Sejm Information Center published these opinions. Earlier, Witek showed them live on government television. All five opinions are dated April 2018.
Read more on Konkret24: Constitutionalists on the opinions of 2018 presented by Elżbieta Witek
Legal opinion commissioned by Deputy Marshal Zgorzelski
On Wednesday, Miłosz Motyka, a spokesman for the Polish People’s Party, in an interview with a TVN24 reporter, presented another legal opinion, this time drawn up directly in connection with this case. It was commissioned by Piotr Zgorzelski, deputy speaker of the Sejm on behalf of this party. The opinion was prepared by Dr. hab. Jacek Zaleśny, constitutionalist from the University of Warsaw. The document is dated August 17th.
– It is clear from this opinion that Marshal Witek could not afford to reassume, because there was no reason to carry out such a reassumption, said Motyka.
The opinion states, inter alia, that “the doctrine of constitutional law assumes that the deputies act rationally, i.e. when they accede to the voting act, they know what is the subject of voting, they know what the consequences of the decision are (ex ante impact assessment carried out) “.
Jacek Zaleśny, habilitated doctor, points out in the conclusions to the opinion that “reassumption of voting is an institution of parliamentary law provided for a strictly defined circumstance” and “it can be used only when justified doubts are raised by the voting result, ie it has been wrongly established”.
Dependent: a reassumption cannot be carried out in order to change the position on a given matter
“Pursuant to the provisions of the Rules of Procedure of the Sejm, the Marshal of the Sejm may not reassume a vote, a vote on adjournment of the meeting, when the applicant has strictly specified the time to which the sitting is to be adjourned, arguing that the deputies did not know what they voted on. strictly defined the time by which the adjournment of the Sejm sitting is to last and the result of the Sejm vote on this issue was correctly determined, there is no premise for a reassumption of the vote “- the lawyer continues.
He adds that “a reassumption of the vote cannot be carried out in order to change the position of MPs on a given matter”.
The assumption that the deputies did not know what they were voting on “may offend the dignity of the Sejm”
In conclusion, the constitutionalist states that “carrying out a reassumption of the vote due to arguments (not legally validated) that the deputies did not know what they were voting on, may offend the dignity of the Sejm as an organ of public authority and deputies as persons holding a representative mandate”.
Sławomir Patyra on his 2018 legal opinion: it concerned a completely different matter
Two lawyers, whose opinions were cited by Marshal Witek, previously referred to TVN24’s decision on the reassumption of the vote.
Postdoctoral doctor Sławomir Patyra he explained that “legal opinions are only the position of an expert on a particular issue.” – They are always situated in a specific context of events. It is absolutely inappropriate to refer to the opinion from three years ago in order to make a decision in the new factual and legal situation. In my opinion, this is a far-reaching abuse, he said.
Professor Piotrowski: nobody called me
He also referred to the case professor Ryszard Piotrowski, constitutionalist. He noted that the situation in his 2018 opinion “was completely different”. – This opinion concerned a situation where it was a question of consenting to holding an MEP criminally responsible. In that opinion it was clearly stated that the Marshal of the Seym cannot act arbitrarily, that he must guard the work of the Seym, including the opposition. And that under no circumstances can the marshal’s actions related to reassumption be of such a nature that would limit the rights of the Seym, he emphasized.
– There is also an element of bad faith here. There was no conversation with me, no one called me. – Even if there was this phone call, the marshal would have heard that, first of all, the Marshal of the Seym is to defend the rights of the entire Seym, including the opposition, to be a non-party marshal. Second, the result of the vote is not in doubt. It is true that it was not announced by the marshal, but everyone saw this result, because the course of the meeting was broadcast – added Piotrowski.
Main photo source: Wojciech Olkuśnik / PAP