The upper house of the National Assembly, the Senate, was reestablished by the Round Table Agreement more than four decades after being abolished by the communist government. The Round Table Agreement provides for the direct popular election of all 100 senators--two from each of the forty-nine districts (województwa; sing. województwo, sometimes seen in English as voivodship) with the exception of Warsaw and Katowice, which elect three senators each. The senators' four-year terms of office coincide with those of Sejm deputies.
The Senate sets its own agenda and committee structure. As in the Sejm, committee appointments are dictated by the numerical strength of the parties and factions represented in the chamber. Besides its budget review function, the Senate also reviews Sejm legislation and may approve, amend, or reject within thirty days. The Senate also confirms key appointments, including the commissioner for citizens' rights and the chairperson of the Supreme Control Chamber, both of whom are nominated by the Sejm.
Within one month after parliamentary elections, the president is required to call the first session of the new Senate. The Senate Presidium consists of the permanent marshal and six other prominent senators. The Sejm and Senate presidia occasionally meet to coordinate agendas and create joint committees as required.
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