P. SOLOCH: Citizens see President as leading figure in defence - News - National Security Bureau


P. SOLOCH: Citizens see President as leading figure in defence

A survey cited by the Rzeczpospolita daily reveals that Polish citizens see the president as the leading figure in national defence, National Security Bureau (BBN) head Pawel Soloch said Wednesday.

Paweł Soloch said most of the poll's respondents considered the president the main deciding voice in defence matters and wanted a clear division of competencies in this sphere between the president and the government. He added that constitutional ambiguities in this respect were among the reasons for the president's campaign on constitutional changes, launched in May.

Minister P. Soloch pointed out that previous heads of state had also encountered the problem.

"According to the president, competencies concerning oversight of the armed forces need to be clearly defined for peacetime, war and crisis", Soloch said, remarking that under present laws the president had a lesser say in defence issues during peacetime than during war, which was "unhealthy".

"These shortcomings can lead to tension and conflict between the president and the government, whereas there should be no doubts about responsibilities in such fundamental matters as defence", P. Soloch said.

In the survey, over 75 percent of respondents named the president as the chief superior over the armed fprces during peacetime. Some 14.8 percent named the defence minister, and 2.5 percent the prime minister.

Under the Polish constitution the president is the supreme commander of national armed forces and during peacetime executes his duties through the defence minister. During war, the president names a military commander based on a motion by the prime minister.

Source: PAP, own information