Liberum veto

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The liberum veto (Latin for "I freely forbid") was a parliamentary device in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. It allowed any member of the Sejm (legislature) to force an immediate end to the current session and nullify any legislation that had already been passed at the session by shouting Nie pozwalam! (Polish: "I do not allow!").

From the mid-16th to the late 18th century, the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth utilized the liberum veto, a form of unanimity voting rule, in its parliamentary deliberations. The "principle of liberum veto played an important role in emergence of the unique Polish form of constitutionalism." This constraint on the powers of the monarch were significant in making the "rule of law, religious tolerance and limited constitutional government ... the norm in Poland in times when the rest of Europe was being devastated by religious hatred and despotism."

At the same time, liberum veto has been criticized as responsible for the deterioration of the Commonwealth political system, particularly in the 18th century, when foreign powers bribed Sejm members to paralyze the proceedings for many decades. Piotr Stefan Wandycz wrote that "liberum veto had become the sinister symbol of old Polish anarchy".<ref...
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