Quote: The Constitution of the Republic of Poland is the supreme Polish legal document and the basis of the political system of the Polish State. It guarantees civil rights and freedoms, determines the relationships between the legislative, executive and judiciary powers, decides about the structure and method of appointing the highest state institutions such as the Sejm and Senate (the lower and upper chamber of the Polish parliament), the President, and the Council of Ministers (Cabinet); and it directly influences the structure of the judiciary, territorial, and administrative bodies, and the supervisory agencies which exercise control on behalf of the State. It also regulates issues related to the organization of government and administration, public finance, and extreme situations (states of emergency). Poland is a pioneer of European constitutionalism. In 1791 the King and Parliament of the Republic of Poland and Lithuania passed the first constitution in the Old World, later called the 3rd of May Constitution. The current Constitution of the Republic of Poland, passed by the National Assembly (viz. the Sejm and Senate sitting in a joint session) on April 2nd, 1997, was approved by the Nation in the Constitutional Referendum of May 25th of the same year. It was signed by the President of Poland, Aleksander Kwaśniewski, on July 16th, 1997, and came into effect as of October 17th, 1997. Prior to that there was a Small Constitution in effect, which amended the main articles of the Stalinist constitution of 1952 and formed the legal basis of the Polish State between 1990 and 1997. * * * ..