Second Polish Republic

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The Second Polish Republic was a parliamentary democracy from 1919 to 1926, with the President having limited powers. The Parliament elected him, and he could appoint the Prime Minister and the government with the Sejm's (lower house's) approval, but he could only dissolve the Sejm with the Senate's consent. Moreover, his power to pass decrees was limited by the requirement that the Prime Minister and the appropriate other Minister had to verify his decrees with their signatures. The major political parties at this time were the National Democrats and other right-wing groups, the various Peasant Parties, the Social Democrats, and the ethnic minority political groups (mainly the Jewish and German ones). Frequently changing governments and other negative publicity which the democratic politicians received (such as accusations of corruption), made them increasingly unpopular. Major democratic politicians at this time included Wincenty Witos (Prime Minister three times) and Roman Dmowski. By contrast, Marshal Józef Pilsudski led an intentionally modest life, writing historical books for a living. After he took power by a military coup in May 1926, he emphasized that he wanted to heal the Polish society and politics of excessive partisan politics. His regime, accordingly, was called Sanacja in Polish. The 1928 parliamentary elections were still considered free and fair, although the pro-Pilsudski Nonpartisan Bloc for Collaboration with the Government won them. The following three parliamentary elections (in 1930, 1935 and 1938) were manipulated, and thus the pro-government party won huge majorities in them. Pilsudski died just after an authoritarian constitution was approved in the spring of 1935. During the last four years of the Second Polish Republic, the major politicians included President Ignacy Moscicki, Foreign Minister Józef Beck and the Commander-in-Chief of the Polish army, Edward Rydz-Smigly (see, for example, Norman Davies, Poland: God's Playground (some editions since the 1980s), Kalervo Hovi, A History of Poland/Puolan historia, published in Finland in 1993, and the English-language Wikipedia articles on the Polish parliamentary elections between 1919 and 1938).

Chief of State

Presidents

Prime ministers

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