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Senate of the Republic of Poland, Warsaw, Poland

June 6th, 2007 / / Links: Google Earth, Google Maps, Yahoo! Maps, Virtual Earth / Nearest places

The Senate (Senat) is the upper house of the Polish parliament. It consists of 100 senators elected by universal ballot and is headed by the speaker of Senate (Marszałek Senatu).

The Senate can be traced back to a council of royal advisors. In the Nobles' Democracy, the Senate was the upper chamber of the Sejm, and consisted of members of the royal cabinet and the royal court, together with voivods, prefects and castellans (all appointed by the king), and Catholic bishops (see Senatorial offices for details).

In the so-called Second Polish Republic, senators were elected by universal ballot. After a referendum organized in 1946 by the Communist regime, the Senate was abolished in the post-Second World War People's Republic of Poland. It was only re-established after the fall of communism in 1989.

The term of office of a senator is four years. The Senate may reject or amend the bills passed by the Sejm but any rejection or amendment may still be overruled by an absolute majority vote in the Sejm. A joint session of the Senate and the Sejm is known as a National Assembly. Traditionally, the Senate takes particular care of Polonia, Polish communities outside Poland.

Senators are elected by a plurality bloc voting method (rare internationally), where several candidates with the highest support are elected from each electorate, and each voter selects their whole preferred set. The exact number of senators from each electorate is dependent on its population and varies from two to four.

[Source: Wikipedia]

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