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President of Poland delivers a speech on Constitution Day

Polish President Andrzej Duda, in his official address marking the 229th anniversary of the passage of Poland’s historic Constitution of May 3rd, 1791, said Poland needed constitutional safeguards during the pandemic.

“In today’s difficult times we need order and unity that the [current] Constitution protects and safeguards, so that the government can continue to perform its efficient actions against the epidemic as it protects the safety of citizens, both in the dimension of health and lives, but also in the economic dimension, by saving jobs and supporting Polish businesses,” Duda said at a ceremony in Warsaw’s Castle Square.

To celebrate the May 3 Constitution Day, Poland’s President gave the White Eagle Order to the historian Wojciech Roszkowski and oncologist Andrzej Kułakowski. The White Eagle Order is the highest award given by the President of the Republic of Poland.

Wojciech Roszkowski is a historian, economist, and a university lecturer, the author of a history book distributed illegally in communist Poland. Andrzej Kułakowski is, in turn, an oncologist, doctor, professor and the “co-founder of modern oncologic surgery in Poland.”

During the ceremony, President Andrzej Duda noted that it is a national tradition that the highest state awards in Poland are given on May 3, however this year it was possible to organise “only a very modest celebration” because of the coronavirus epidemic.

The May 3 Constitution was passed on May 3, 1791, by the Great Sejm of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth and was Europe’s first document of its kind, predating the famous French Constitution and following the American one by only four years. It introduced a hereditary constitutional monarchy in place of the free election of kings, religious tolerance and the division of power into the legislative, executive and judicial branches.

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