|The consequences of strengthening the political position of municipal council in Poland following changes in local government law introduced in 2018
The system and organization of territorial self-government, both in Poland and in other countries (both the West-Anglo-Saxon model, and the North-Scandinavian model) is subject to constant transformation. The idea of direct election of representatives in the basic units of territorial self-government (municipalities) first appeared in the countries of Western Europe at the turn of the 18th and 19th centuries. The presidential model in the local government was introduced in several Central and Southern European countries (Slovenia, Romania, Italy, Greece), including Poland (in 2002). In our country, this change was aimed at strengthening the legitimacy of the mayor's authority (municipality administrator, mayor, president of the city), safeguarding actual and decisive influence on the creation of local politics, as well as reducing dependence on the council. The 2002 reformers assumed the cooperation of these bodies and their mutual balancing. Meanwhile, the phenomenon of cohabitation became the principle of coexistence of both bodies in municipalities/cities, where the head of municipality (municipality administrator, mayor, city president) represents a different political option than the majority in the council. As research demonstrates, these are not rare cases, because half of the municipal governments after the 2010 and 2014 elections were affected by the phenomenon of cohabitation, including permanent conflict. Balancing authorities in a conflict brings negative effects in the functional layer, hinders the effective decision-making process, and sometimes leads to paralysis of authorities, which using their powers and tools hinder the mutual functioning:
First: it is the introduction of an obligatory committee of complaints, proposals and petitions.
Second: introducing the obligation to submit a report on the condition of the municipality by its head (municipality administrator, mayor, president of the city) by the end of May each year.
Thirdly: the granting of additional competences
By applying the institutional and legal method, the position of municipal bodies in the legal system will be clarified, and how the newly adopted regulations, especially the tools introduced by the amendment of the local government law from the term 2018-2023, affect the systemic and actual strengthening of the council.
The comparative method, will be important, among others in comparison of the previously regulated systemic position of the council to the current one, i.e. from the beginning of the term 2018-2023; comparing the practice of using new tools in municipal self-governments free of cohabitation and those subject to it, especially in its conflict form. The basis for inference in the content analysis is the content of the message, e.g. articles from local newspapers, records (minutes, recordings) of meetings of municipal/city authorities. This method will be useful to demonstrate the practice of using new tools.
Using the decision method, the decision processes will be determined in the analyzed municipalities, and how the new tools and powers granted to the council, added to the self-government system in 2018, influence this process.