President: Service for society is the essence of local government
Polish President Andrzej Duda said on Friday that service for society is the essence of local government and the latter's revival was one of the best things which happened after 1989.
The President's words came at an event in the Presidential Palace marking Local Government Day, which falls on Sunday May 27.
The Head of state decorated local government officials with state distinctions, congratulated them and thanked them for their work.
"The real beneficiary of the service of people who are local-government officials," Duda said, "are their fellow citizens, the fellow residents of their areas. This is exactly the essence: service for the society."
As the President noted, working for local government is a serious challenge and requires not just "a calling" but also courage, because things may go wrong and, in small communities, there is no getting away from even personal responsibility as "everybody knows everybody."
Duda also reminded his audience that local government was reinstated after the fall of communism in 1989, saying: "I have no doubts that one of the better things to happen after 1989 was the revival, reconstruction of territorial self-government."
Referring to his initiative to hold a referendum on the Polish constitution this year, the Head of state called on local-government officials to join the debate and take part in the plebiscite.
A voice from the level "which concerns you most, Ladies and Gentlemen, and which you know best, the level of territorial self-government units" is important as well, the President said, as Poles decide on the future institutional system, "for our grandchildren."
Duda added that the aim is to build a modern state up to speed with the changing world, so that Polish institutions perform ever better, "from the central level to the smallest local-government units."
Local Government Day was established by the Polish Sejm (lower house of parliament) in 2000, ten years after first local elections were held following the collapse of communism. (PAP)