Poland, which is officially the Republic of Poland, is a country in Central Europe that is governed as a unitary semi-presidential constitutional republic. The President of Poland is the head of state, while the prime minister serves as the head of government. Poland's constitution outlines the functions of the president, which include leading the executive branch of government, as well as representing the country in international affairs. The president is elected by a majority vote to serve a five-year term, and can be re-elected only once. After assuming office, the president appoints the prime minister, usually from the political party with the majority seats in parliament. The President of Poland can initiate the legislative process, veto bills, appoint and recall ambassadors, and ratify or revoke international agreements. While in office, the president occupies the official presidential residence, called the Presidential Palace, which is located in Poland's national capital, Warsaw.
The Presidential Palace serves as the official residence of the President of Poland. Location in the nation's capital, Warsaw, the palace is an improved version of a building that has stood on the site since 1643, and has been remodeled and rebuilt numerous times. Several noble families occupied the residence for the first 175 years, until it was declared a government building in 1818, when the Viceroy of Poland occupied it during the Russian occupation. After the First World War, Poland re-emerged as a sovereign state, and the building served as the seat of the Council of Ministers. German forces occupied the palace during the Second World War, but it managed to survive bombings by Allied forces. In 1993, the building was declared the official residence of the president, and Lech Walesa became its first occupant. In 2010, President Bronislaw Komorowski opted to live in the smaller Belweder Palace, purportedly in honor of past presidents, although political experts describe the move as an attempt to avoid confrontation with mourners and supporters of President Lech Kaczynski, who died in an airplane crash in Russia.
Other Presidential Residences
Although the Presidential Palace serves as the primary official residence, there are also other recognized residences within Poland. Though the Belweder Palace was stripped off the official status in 1993, it is still considered a presidential residence and is occupied by foreign head of states and other important guests. The Presidential Castle in Whisla served as a recreational facility for presidents until 1931, was renovated in 2002, and reopened by President Aleksander Kwaśniewski in 2005 as a recreational, hotel, and conference center for the president. Additional presidential residences are located in Łucień and Ciechocinek.