State and politics
The Declaration of Independence in March 1990 declared
the Soviet Constitution invalid and was temporarily replaced
by the Constitution of 1938. Lithuania's current
constitution was adopted by a referendum in the October 1992
Lithuania is a democracy with a so-called
semi-presidential system, that is, a mix between
parliamentarism and presidential rule. See AbbreviationFinder for abbreviation of LT and its meanings of Lithuania.
The president is head of state and is elected in direct
elections for a period of five years with the possibility of
re-election. The executive power lies mainly with the
government. The President can veto Parliament's legislation.
Only by an absolute majority (more than three-quarters) can
Parliament repeal such a veto. The President can also
dissolve Parliament if it refuses to approve the
government's budget within sixty days or vote for distrust
of the entire government. The president further appoints
commander-in-chief, can appoint diplomatic envoys without
government approval and has some foreign policy leeway.
The legislative power is held by the national
single-chamber parliament, Seimas, which has 141
members. The electoral system is mixed: 70 members are
elected by proportional elections according to lists drawn
up by the parties and the rest are elected by majority
voting in one-man constituencies, where a second round of
elections is arranged in those constituencies where no
candidate has obtained a majority. In the proportional
elections, 5 percent of the vote is required for a party to
be allocated some seats; the limit for multi-party
associations is 7 percent.
The party image in Lithuania is fragmented and there is a
tendency to re-form, split and merge parties before the
elections. Most governments have been coalitions and until
2008 no government had sat for a full term. Compared to
other EU countries, corruption is a relatively big problem
and political scandals and corruption trials have succeeded.
This has led to low confidence in the authorities. Voter
turnout is usually around 50 percent.
The reformed Communist Party Lithuanian Democratic
Workers' Party (LDDP) was clearly the biggest in the
1992 elections, and the following year, party leader
Algirdas Brazauskas won the presidential election. In
addition, during the Soviet era, the Communist Party in
Lithuania was significantly more nationally oriented than
the parties in many other Soviet republics.
In 1996, the LDDP lost government power to the
Conservative and Nationalist Confederation, under
the leadership of former head of state Vytautas Landsbergis.
The party has its roots in the Sajūdis popular front,
which was a unifying force during the liberation struggle in
the late 1980s.
In 2001, the LDDP merged with the Social Democrats under
the name of this party, the Lithuanian Social Democratic
Party (LSDP), with Brazauskas as party leader.
Following a government crisis that year, Brazauska became
prime minister at the head of a coalition government. During
Algirdas Brazaukua's time as head of government, Lithuania
became a member of the EU and NATO, which there was great
political agreement around.
In 2012-16, the country was led by a coalition government
dominated by the LSDP, whose party leader Algirdas
Butkevičius (born 1958) was prime minister. Prior to the
mandate, the country was ruled by a center-right government
led by Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius from the
Confederation of the Confederation of Finland.
The 2016 parliamentary elections led to significant
delays between the parties. The largest party was
surprisingly Lithuanian farmers and green alliance
(LVZS), thanks in large part to winning 35 of 71 one-man
election circles. The party's success was based on
widespread dissatisfaction with the former government
parties' policies, especially in the economic sphere, and
their inability to reduce the emigration of young people
from the country.
The politically independent former national police chief
and Minister of the Interior Saulius Skvernelis (born 1970),
who ran in the election for LVZS, was appointed prime
minister in the fall of 2016 and together with the Socialist
Party formed a coalition government. However, the LSDP
officially left the government cooperation in 2017. The
decision caused division within the party, and MPs loyal to
the government formed the Lithuanian Social Democratic
Workers Party (LSDDP) in 2018. Since 2019, the smaller
parties have also included the Election Campaign for
Poles in Lithuania, as well as National Conservative
Order and Justice in the government documentation.
In the 2019 presidential election, independent
right-center candidate Gitanas Nausėda (born 1964) won.
See also History.
Despite independence, Lithuania continues to use laws
from the Soviet era in the absence of alternatives. However,
radical legal reforms in the market economy direction are
being implemented. The death penalty was abolished in 1998.
The last execution took place in 1995.
Heads of State
||Vytautas the Great