The essence of the Code of Political Ethics, hereinafter referred to as the „Politethical Code” or the “Code” is an improvement of the practical functioning of the democratic system of the state of law by means of increasing the public life’s quality.
The Code of Political Ethics provides to regulate political conduct of the citizens undertaking or the citizens who intend to undertake the political activity in Poland and abroad. The Politethical Code defines the ethical standards of the political activity, in other words norms of conduct commonly established as acceptable, the respecting of which is to be the obligation of each political party and each politician. Within the meaning of the code the political activity is an institutional, organizational or particular performance in the public domain of the entity who intends to influence on the state’s fortune and its citizens in a program way.
The Politethical Code upholds the social and political intra state order, contributes to an appropriate political activity in the country and builds and maintains a social trust to politics. It also assures the ethical ties of the politicians with the community in the name of the principal rule that politics must be made for community and not subordinate it.
The observance of the rules of the Politethical Code by politicians is obligatory, because the ethical standards and sanctions for nonobservance of the Code’s decisions will be functioning in the generally applicable law. A normative nature of the Politethical Code will have an influence among others on: an increase of social interest in politics in a broad sense, so the state’s issues and its citizens, what should be reflected into a greater participation in the general election in practice.
The provisions of the Politethical Code complement existing legislation and fill the legislative gap within the scope of the political activity and negative conduct of the politicians, which are not qualified as forbidden actions determined in the criminal provisions but they should be sanctioned due to their social nuisance. The implementation of the Politethical Code into the applicable law will certainly require a change in the determined scope in the Constitution of the Republic of Poland, appropriate acts and secondary legislations, however filling the legislative gap within the scope of the responsibility for conducting the political activity is necessary and it will contribute to a significant increase of the level and quality of political life, consequently a greater participation of the community in the political life.
The Politethical Code will consist of the resolutions defining the ethical standards, i.e. determined norms of conducting and provisions determining sanctions for breaching these norms, i.e. the sanction provisions to be aimed at branding the actions and conducts of the politicians inconsistent with the set ethical standards. The sanction provisions will be providing for determined sanctions (penalties) for breaching each provision of the Politethical Code and will be included in a separate chapter of the Politethical Code or within the scope of the particular, normative provisions of the Code. Currently, in the project of the Code the exemplary sanction provisions have been provided, whereas, in the future the sanction provisions should be provided for each breaching of the provisions of the Code and they should include a particular procedure of administering the punishment and enforcing judgments imposing the penalties. Generally, the political activity inconsistent with the ethical standards named in the Code should prohibit a politician from active politics forever or for definite time, depending on the offence’s nature. A politician who is suspected of breaching the criminal law in connection with his/her office’s holding, a mandate or other public function, the remuneration should be suspended from the day of initiating the proceeding to the day of giving a final and a binding decision. In the event of a verdict of guilty, the overdue remuneration should be subject to forfeiture, however in case of not being guilty a due remuneration should be paid immediately together with the statutory interest.
A predication on breaching the Politethical Code should take place involving a social factor as the randomly chosen lay judges in order to allow to perform the assessment of the politicians’ conduct by the community. The main value of the Politethical Code is to obtain the ethical social supervision of the political activity of politicians, therefore a predication on breaching the Politethical Code should be within the area of the responsibility of the twelve-person jury appointed randomly from among the members of the society in a different electoral age and including sex parity and not only judges representing the jurisdiction in the country. This way of adjudicating will be a confirmation of the rule in according to which the parliamentary, self-governmental politician as well a politician of the jurisdiction are elected directly or indirectly by the voters’ votes and while honorable performance of a social mission they will be monitored by means of the provisions of the Politethical Code the breaching of which will be connected with a direct social assessment by the above-mentioned lay judges. The lay judges should be appointed at the State Tribunal, to create with its judges the Social State Tribunal, adjudicating on breaching the Politethical Code of the highest rank politicians (i.e. the president, prime minister, members of the Council of Ministers, heads of the main, national institutions and political parties) and at the courts of general jurisdiction, establishing with them Rotational, Social Voievodeship (province) Tribunals in reference to the rest of the politicians. The judges of the Rotational, Social Voievodeship (province) Tribunals should be recruited by drawing from among terrain judges teams of a voievodeship (province), where a politician is registered who breaches the Politethical Code.
The role of the judges of the Social State Tribunal and Rotational, Social Voievodeship (province) Tribunals should be collecting the evidence on breaching the rules of the Political Code and giving it to the lay judges predicating about temporary suspension of unethical politician in the political activity or about his full exclusion in extreme cases.
In order to precise a justification (ratio legis) of each provision of the Code the Comments were added under each paragraph in the project of this Code.
Conducting the political activity is possible only at keeping the ethical standards (principles) provided for this Politethical code. There is now a legal loophole within the scope of the regulations determining the principles of the political ethic and conducting the political activity, which must be closed by this Code.
1. Any references hereinafter to this Code:
a) the parliament politician understood hereinafter the member of parliament of the Republic of Poland, senator, the Marshall of the Seym (Parliament) or Senate;
b) the politician of the executive power understood hereinafter the politician to whom the fulfillment of certain position within the scope of the executive power performance has been committed i.e. the member of the Council of Ministers and sub-secretary of the state in the ministries and the official elected in the general elections to fulfill the function of the head of commune, mayor or the president of the city or the starosta (district governor) elected by the council of powiat (district);
c) the self-government politician understood hereinafter the councilor of all territorial self-government rank – commune, powiat (district) and voievodeship (province).
The division into politicians of executive power, parliament politicians and self-government politicians is dictated by different regulations with reference to the above-mentioned politicians in some resolutions of the Code.
Remuneration of politicians
Presently, except for the basic remuneration, the Seym (Parliament) Presidium and Senate Presidium can determine the allowances to the salary (remuneration) for the members of the parliament and senators other than these provided for the act on performance of the member of parliament and senator’s mandate. It appears to be justified thus to implement the norm referring to all politicians that they do not have a right to establish the remunerations for themselves somehow. The amount of the parliament remuneration cannot be established therefore by the members of the parliament or senators for the needs of the current term. The members of the parliament and senators of the current term should have a possibility to determine the amount of the remuneration only for their successors.
The idea of this Code is also to deprive the councilors of the allowances (except reimbursement for necessary costs connected with performance of councilor’s mandate), who are engaged with the political activity in many cases, pursuing only their own interest and willingness of additional earnings, instead of an aware contribution to local, social and political activity.
A proposed notation requires an amendment of the Constitution of the Republic of Poland, but it is legitimate because of the following reasons: Current parliamentary immunity is that a member of parliament or a senator can be brought to criminal responsibility only with the consent of the Seym (Parliament), moreover there is a ban to arrest a member of parliament or a senator excluding a red-handed arresting or if it is necessary to pursue an appropriate course of action. The above-mentioned provision of the Politethical Code is aimed at implementing the possibility to bring a politician to a criminal or civil responsibility without a necessity to obtain a consent of the Seym. Thus, for the crimes provided for the Penal Code committed not in reference to the mandate performance a politician would be responsible also like each citizen. A politician being a member of the parliament or a senator is also an ordinary citizen at the same time who is subject to Penal Code, the Petty Offence Code and the Penal Fiscal Code and in the event of breaching them in the situations not connected with the parliament duties for instance: driving a car with a high speed or drunk-driving, a member of the parliament should bear the penal responsibility the Seym’s consent should not been required in this scope. A member of the parliament or senator as a politician socially distinguished to be in the Parliament and having an immunity is also a citizen and should be assessed in the same way like other citizens in case of committing a crime. A novelty of the Code within the scope of described provision is an extension of the immunity for the councilor but only with a causative power connected with the territorial scope represented by him. Conferring the councilors the immunity based on the parliament one is to raise the prestige of each of them in the local environment and emphasize their social mission, especially in the context of depriving them of the financial remuneration for this function performance.
Principles of conducting political activity
The aim of this principle is emphasizing that a politician in political activity must avoid any indicators of party nepotism, mobbing or stalking as very unethical social practices. The regulation also refers to the political party’s activities, especially after successful parliament and self-government elections within the scope of placing the positions with their own activists. It sometimes happens that the political parties use the nepotism in relation to the member of the party putting him/her on the particular position and political mobbing with reference to a person being on this position, often having qualifications high enough than a politically protégé person on his/her place. In their civil rights a politician cannot stand on the privileged position to the ordinary citizen of the Republic of Poland. A politician, on account of participation in a so-called political life cannot usurp a right to abuse his/her own competence in life situations not connected with the political life for the society. A politician cannot perform ethically banned practices of the party nepotism in the political activity, therefore using the political position in the party to substantial favouring close and known persons to him/her, a political mobbing, in other words using psychical violence against politically subordinated persons to him/her as well as a political stalking, which consists of niggling harassment of the citizens because of many political reasons and persons dealing with politics. This provision refers also to the political parties activity, which uses their own electoral success for the mass putting their people on the key, public positions, performing the party nepotism in this case and a political mobbing against persons being dismissed, often with higher competences than their successors.
While conducting the political activity, a politician is obliged to act in the social interest, so for the common good, put above his/her own interest, when a common good is understood, in contrast to the personal good, as public good surrounding us, which an individual may use equally with the others. In acting for such understood common good a politician should not favour one social group at the expense of the harm of the others. For the clarity of their own image, a politician agrees as a result, with a social control over his/her life, especially over the financial and health condition, in this aspect a psychical health and family situation. A politician gifted with a social trust and fulfilling determined public functions should be ethically impeccable. In order to do this, he/she should be transparent to the public impression as well as within the scope of the financial, family and mental health conditions.
A politician has to be, in every scope of his/her activity a role model of ethic attitude. Each politician in whose political activity the violence, a lie, an insinuation, a trick, a slander or other method of performance have been established, breaches the ethical law of this Code. In the situation when a loss is caused by using the above-mentioned unethical methods is disclosed after some time the offence of this kind should have respectively a long term of expiration. The provisions of the Code discussed will have a particular meaning in the proceeding in inter-party competition, in fight for a power. The existence of the Politethical Code should significantly suppress such kind of practices what will have a huge and positive meaning in terms of the democratic system of the state. The Politethical Code upholds the political activity “fair play” guaranteeing common respect between politicians. The existence of this provision will prevent from unfair political game between competing parties, weakening the whole public activity in the state and negatively affecting the morale of the whole Nation. A politician and political parties should not fight for the power, among others: folding unreal promises to the society.
The provision of the Code is aimed at counteracting all type of discrimination in the political activity, particularly in view of the criteria determined in this provision. The individual traits of politicians within the scope of the above-mentioned criteria cannot cause termination of a mandate possessed by a politician, member of the parliament, senator or a councilor or removal him/her from the official position or other public function. The above-mentioned provision of the Code is aimed at reminding all politicians establishing so-called political scene about their equality between themselves in the custom aspect. No politician can try, by his/her own action to be supposed to be better or more reliable from the others because of his/her age, education, sex of the other trait mentioned in the provision and fulfilling function or occupied position. The subject of the social interest is not himself/herself but this what he/she can offer the society. All types of political interpersonal “jostling” between politicians, mutual depreciating themselves and the roles acted by themselves are unacceptable in accordance with the Code.
It is unacceptable to impose the sanction for the politicians of the political parties for non-observance of the party discipline in the event of undertaken decisions (voting) in the worldview and customs issues.
As to the principle the party discipline is recommended in the party activity, because it creates the party unity and power of the political party, however it is controversial in the world view and custom issues. The above-mentioned provision of the Code is to counter the situation when a politician has to make a decision in accordance with the party discipline but out of line with his/her own conviction. There should be an obligation therefore to prohibit punishing the party members for non-observance of the party discipline by the members due to the above-mentioned issues.
A politician must not publicly impose his/her own worldview or ideology. It would breach the constitutional right of each citizen to his/her own worldview and connected with this his rights to make personal decisions in this scope. A politician must not conduct a political activity in the way breaching a previous harmony of social relations and causing social tensions and conflicts.
Conducting the election campaign and other actions aiming at achieving a social endorsement by the politician cannot have a negative influence on performing the function of the parliament, self-government or executive power politician.
A politician cannot neglect the duties referred to fulfilled function (position) during the election campaign. A politician engaged with the fulfillment of determined public functions in the state, who intends to apply for the next mandate and starts in the election campaign, as well as within the scope of the promotional actions within the period of non-electoral must be able to accommodate duties connected with fulfillment of the previous functions with the personal political aspirations towards the next term.
The above-mentioned provision is aimed at implementing the responsibility of politicians for the result of organized social protests which could impede the public order. Politicians should not exhort to organize public protests inconsistent with the law or which could impede a public order. The politicians who want to connect their political aims with the social postulates by organizing or supporting the social protests in the public places, as the “national leaders” must forecast the potential results of this type of actions responsibly. It should not be acceptable to contribute to escalate negative mood by politicians and social tensions by the aware using of the social dissatisfaction– in order to conduct a political fight.
Prohibition of changing a political party or political option
A proposed entry probably requires a change of the constitution of the Republic of Poland because of the existence of applicable law so-called: a free mandate. The above-mentioned entry is however reasonable due to the following issues: A politician, who obtained a mandate of a member of parliament, a senator or a councilor in the elections should not change, during the term a political party or a political option behalf of which he/she appeared in the elections. A non-observance of this rule contradicts the initial image of a politician, thanks to which he/she obtained a social mandate, participating in the electoral campaign and awakes negative emotions of a public opinion. Breaching the above-mentioned principle should result in an automatic deprivation a politician of a mandate or removal from a function or a position. Currently, a free mandate provided for art. 104 of the Constitution of the Republic of Poland is an “arbitrary” mandate“ in practice with the possibility of “ideological promiscuity” of politicians and cross-party “trading” of social trustees. The above-mentioned regulation has to prevent depravity of political idealism of a politician, who as a social representative should give an example of ideological consequence of his/her views. The views can be changed by each citizen but an active politician, especially who achieved a position in politics by a social endorsement subjects to at least periodical ideological discipline, which is to prevent from all own temptations or attempts from outside for economic treatment of a public political activity i.e. functions and positions traffic.
Representing the state on the international forum
A politician as a distinguished citizen by the society for public representation of the social interests subjects to impeccable behaviour and image, proceeding honesty, propriety and word culture. A politician delegated to the European Parliament should additionally represent a good command of one of the four basic languages of the European Union , i.e. English, German, French or Spanish on an advanced level approved by passing the national examination. Only a good command of at least one of the above-mentioned languages allows full representation of national interests on the European forum.
Ethic training for politicians
Members of the parliament of the Republic of Poland, senators and councilors of all levels as well as politicians of the executive power deriving from different environments, having a differential education, different worldview and not identical degree of social sensitivity, before entering the political public activity are obliged to participate in a month ethic course within the frames of the civil education paid by the State’s Treasury and conducted by an approved personality coach teaching the course’s participants about principles of the Politethical Code and basics of the universal ethics, especially indicating the prosocial empathy, necessary to maintain ethical ties of the politicians being members of the parliament or councilors with the public. Undoubtedly, the above-mentioned issues will contribute to form the ethical patterns in themselves which are inevitable in a political mission of serving society.
The assessment of political activity by society
In terms of ethical connections of politicians with the society the creation of the social website www.politethics.gov.pl in which all Polish politicians holding the office, having a mandate or other public function would be obliged to prepare reports once for 6 months for their prosocial official and mandate activity in the statutory mode together with declared intentions for next 6 months of their political activity will be very beneficial. During the electoral campaign this website would have images of all registered candidates, who would present their pre-electoral program for a fee. In such a way it would appear a public dossier of each active politician for a period of the term and elections, constituting an additional element of a civil, politethical supervision over the politicians by a possibility of monitoring their political actions and intentions. All interested citizens in voting age would have access to this website and the material gathered there would allow to create a view about current and declared political activity of particular active politicians and undertake an appropriate electoral decision during next elections.
The acceptance of the above-mentioned solution would constitute an important precedent for improved functioning of the electoral law in the Polish, public space. It would improve the political awareness of the citizens and would cause that their vote would not be accidental but considered, approved by a concrete political knowledge acquired among others on this website. It especially refers to the self-government elections, in which the citizens previously voted without any belief caused by the lack of knowledge about candidates or even pot shot or they did not participate in the elections.
In the future, such a website would essentially improve the electoral campaign course. The Internet being an acknowledged more and more common medial power is able to adopt the electoral campaign customs saving candidates’ time and their own costs as well as costs of street advertisements and numerous electoral meetings during which often unethical conducts of the political opponents appear.
The ethicality of the political activity should be monitored up to date by means of the Civil Politethical Survey placed on a determined website. Each mature citizen could vote for the ethicality or unethicality of politicians once a year in the survey including a list of all active politicians. The Politethical Survey would be an electronic, political barometer of civil moods, supporting the ethic connection of the politicians with the society.
The above-mentioned point is a proposal of a regular survey of social moods referring to the current politics. It is an indicator of political ties of politicians with the society. It allows to assess the social moods, thanks to which a perspective determination of the state’s development is possible. Such a survey would be more reliable with reference to other surveys which have been conducted until now. It would make the politicians’ aware of their own fame and degree of social acceptance. It would mobilize them to their own improving in their political mission for the society.
Sanction provisions (examples)
A governing or coalition party, designating their own politician for fulfilling a given function or on a given position in widely considered public sector from so-called “party key”, often without his/her appropriate qualifications and preparation should lose a designated function or a position in favour of the opposition party, if a designated politician makes a mischief due to his/her conduct while holding an office for the state, the society or the international society. An opposition party should be subject to the same proceedings in case of disclosing incompetence of its candidate. The implementation of this Politethical Code in this scope is aimed at appointing competitive and substantially prepared candidates on given public functions and positions.
In the event of adjudicating a punishment for a politician of the political party for breaching the Politethical Code or of committing a crime (including a fiscal crime) or an offence (including a fiscal offence), a political party, of which the politician was or is a member does not obtain the national bailout to the political activity for the next term equivalent to the number of politicians against whom the punishment was inflicted in the following way:
The above-mentioned provision is aimed at mobilizing the political parties for the effective discipline of their own members so that they would not breach the law, including the Politethical Code. Additionally, the examples of ethical faults should be registered in a proper way and their number, at the end of the term or the period for which the politician was appointed to hold the function or a position, should be provided for the public domain. Decreasing financing for the political parties would be the higher the bigger number of politicians of a given political party would breach the provisions of the Politethical Code and other regulations.
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