The Changing Role of Councillors in Poland: Contexts and Capabilities
Abstract: During twenty five years of ‘independent’ local government municipal councillors in Poland have undergone considerable change. Intensive reforms, a turbulent environment and innovative trends have resulted in significant pressure for transformations to their role, with this even more visible than in Western countries. This paper explores these factors and addresses the question as to what extent these new ideas are visible in politics which affect representative democracy at the local level. It concludes that over the last two decades the traditional role of local councils and councillors as decision-makers, administrators and even representatives of local communities has been constantly diminished and thus they cannot be perceived at present as a cornerstone of local democracy any longer. Certain innovative concepts, however, in particular the shift from traditionally understood local government to local governance, have created additional possibilities for emerging new roles of the representatives at the municipal level.
Keywords: Councillors, Local Politics, New Trends, Poland