Left party marks 25th anniversary of constitutional referendum

Aleksander Kwaśniewski, a former president who signed the constitution into law on July 16, 1997, said the document was drafted in compromise, so accusations of the constitution being leftist or post-communist were unfounded. Rafał Guz/PAP

Poland's party the New Left on Saturday marked the 25th anniversary of a constitutional referendum that paved the way for the introduction of the country's current supreme law.

The constitution was drafted when the New Left's predecessor, the Democratic Left Alliance (SLD), was in power.

Aleksander Kwaśniewski, a former president who signed the constitution into law on July 16, 1997, said the document was drafted in compromise, so accusations of the constitution being leftist or post-communist were unfounded.

"It is the constitution of Poland, the constitution of a very broad political spectrum which supported it," Kwaśniewski said during the New Left's National Council meeting in Warsaw on Saturday.

Kwaśniewski also said the constitution was a landmark achievement of Poland's left groupings.

Włodzimierz Czarzasty, deputy leader of the New Left, also mentioned Poland's accession to Nato and the EU as achievements of left parties.

Czarzasty said that his party would not agree to any changes to the constitution as suggested by the ruling party, the conservative Law and Justice (PiS). Accusing PiS of infringing upon constitutional provisions, Czarzasty said "those who violate it should be replaced instead".

Robert Biedroń, also a deputy leader of the party, said the constitution must be observed "from A to Z, from Article 1 to Article 243."

Opposition parties have accused PiS of numerous violations of the constitutions, particularly with respect to the rule of law and judicial independence. Similar criticism has come from the EU, but PiS denies such accusations and claims the government has the right to shape the country's justice system accordingly.