A sejmik (diminutive of the Polish word "sejm", meaning a type of parliament) was a regional assembly in the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, and earlier in the Kingdom of Poland. Sejmiks existed until the end of the Commonwealth in 1795 following the partitions of Poland. In modern Poland, since 1999, the term sejmik (in full sejmik województwa) has been revived as the name for the elected council of each of the 16 voivodeships or regions (see voivodeship sejmik).
In the 16th century, the leading force at sejmiks was the middle nobility; later this passed to the magnates (magnaci). Lithuanian sejmiks (Lithuanian - seimelis, pl. seimeliai) in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania were dominated much more by the magnates than those which were subject to the Crown of Poland proper. Sejmiks attained the peak of their importance at the turn of the 17th and 18th centuries, when they often set their own time-limits — that is, extended their authorized periods of operation. Such abuses were suppressed by acts of the one-day Silent Sejm (Polish: sejm niemy) of 1717.
Sejmiks were usually held on a large, open field. There were three kinds of sejmik:
They could meet for special purposes:
Sejmiks were called by the king or the governor (voivode) of the province (voivodeship). The king, or his representative, decreed the important matters that the sejmiks should debate in a letter, called a royal legation (Polish legacja królewska). All the nobility (szlachta) residing in a voivodeship were eligible to participate in sejmiks (and only the nobility from the given territory, this was confirmed by the nihil novi constitution); other estates sent only delegations in an advisory capacity. A sejmik could be disrupted with a liberum veto, which eventuality was guarded against by the formation (as at sejms) of a confederation, which compelled majority voting.
Each sejmik elected a sejmik marshal (marszałek sejmiku: presiding officer of the sejmik, similar to the marshal of the sejm at national Sejms). This term has also been revived since 1999, but it now refers to the chairman of the voivodeship executive board rather than the presiding officer of the sejmik itself.
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