Term of office

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TERM OF OFFICE (in Latin cadentia – fall) – that is a legally specified (in the Constitution or in other legal act) term of holding an office, mostly related to electable officer or body; it is a period of time for which the voters are authorising the electable body to perform its tasks. In most constitutional democracies the head of the state is elected for the period of four to seven years, but sometimes the functions are held for life; deputies in representative bodies are usually elected for two to six years. In the past, the term of office also meant an assembly, session, most of all of the court. In legal systems, a limit of terms of office is used in relation to elected bodies, their members, and also in relation to officers (e.g., the head of state can hold the office usually for two terms in a row – this is the most often used limit; in the USA this limit was introduced in a form of the 22nd Amendment to the Constitution passed in 1947, ratified in 1951). Usually, the limits of terms of office do not apply to members of parliament (both members of lower chambers and higher chambers). In Poland, the limit has not been set for elected village mayors, city mayors and presidents of the cities. However, the limit of terms of office has been set for the judges of the Constitutional Tribunal – one term in office; for the President of the country – up to two terms (→ principle of term of office; dissolution of the decision-making body) [ M. Kaczorowska ].

Literature: B. Banaszak, Kadencja parlamentu, [w:] Słownik wiedzy o Sejmie, red. A. Preisner, Warszawa 2001 ■ A. Ławniczak, M. Masternak-Kubiak, Zasada kadencyjności Sejmu: wybrane problemy, „Przegląd Sejmowy” 2002, nr 3 ■ L. Garlicki, Polskie prawo konstytucyjne. Zarys wykładu, Warszawa 2006.