Politics of Lithuania

Lithuania is a multi-party, parliamentary democracy. President Valdas Adamkus, who took office in February 1998, is the head of state. The president is elected directly for 5 years, is also commander in chief overseeing foreign and security policy, and nominates the prime minister and his cabinet and a number of other top civil servants. The next presidential election is scheduled for December 2002.

The parliament (Seimas) has 141 members that are elected for a 4-year term. About half of the members are elected in single constituencies (71), and the other half (70) are elected in the nationwide vote by party lists. A party must receive at least 5% of the national vote to be represented in the Seimas. The last parliamentary elections took place in October 2000.

All major parties have declared their support for Lithuania's membership in NATO and the European Union (EU). The government's stated goal is to receive an invitation to join NATO in 2002, to complete negotiations with the EU in 2002, and join the EU in 2004.

Since 1991, Lithuanian voters have shifted from right to left and back again, swinging between the Conservatives, led by Vytautas Landsbergis, and the (formerly communist) Labor Party, led by former president Algirdas Brazauskas. This pattern was broken in the October 2000 elections when the Liberal Union and New Union parties won the most votes and were able to form a centrist ruling coalition with minor partners. President Adamkus played a key role in bringing the new centrist parties together. The leader of the center-left New Union (also known as the Social Liberal party), Arturas Paulauskas, became the Chairman of the Seimas. The government of liberal Rolandas Paksas got off to a rocky start and collapsed within 7 months. In July 2001, the center-left New Union party forged an alliance with the left-wing Social Democratic Party and formed a new cabinet under former president Algirdas Brazauskas.

The cabinet of Algirdas Brazauskas is made up mostly of nonparty technocrats and has emphasized the need for financial discipline. The government remains focused on NATO and EU membership goals.

Country name:
conventional long form: Republic of Lithuania
conventional short form: Lithuania
local long form: Lietuvos Respublika
local short form: Lietuva
former: Lithuanian Soviet Socialist Republic

Data code: LH

Government type: parliamentary democracy

Capital: Vilnius

Administrative divisions: 44 regions (rajonai, singular - rajonas) and 11 municipalities*: Akmenes Rajonas, Alytaus Rajonas, Alytus*, Anyksciu Rajonas, Birstonas*, Birzu Rajonas, Druskininkai*, Ignalinos Rajonas, Jonavos Rajonas, Joniskio Rajonas, Jurbarko Rajonas, Kaisiadoriu Rajonas, Kaunas*, Kauno Rajonas, Kedainiu Rajonas, Kelmes Rajonas, Klaipeda*, Klaipedos Rajonas, Kretingos Rajonas, Kupiskio Rajonas, Lazdiju Rajonas, Marijampole*, Marijampoles Rajonas, Mazeikiu Rajonas, Moletu Rajonas, Neringa* Pakruojo Rajonas, Palanga*, Panevezio Rajonas, Panevezys*, Pasvalio Rajonas, Plunges Rajonas, Prienu Rajonas, Radviliskio Rajonas, Raseiniu Rajonas, Rokiskio Rajonas, Sakiu Rajonas, Salcininku Rajonas, Siauliai*, Siauliu Rajonas, Silales Rajonas, Silutes Rajonas, Sirvintu Rajonas, Skuodo Rajonas, Svencioniu Rajonas, Taurages Rajonas, Telsiu Rajonas, Traku Rajonas, Ukmerges Rajonas, Utenos Rajonas, Varenos Rajonas, Vilkaviskio Rajonas, Vilniaus Rajonas, Vilnius*, Zarasu Rajonas

Independence: 11 March 1991 (from Soviet Union)

National holiday: Statehood Day, 16 February (1918)

Constitution: adopted 25 October 1992

Legal system: based on civil law system; no judicial review of legislative acts

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:

  • chief of state:
  • cabinet (http://www.lrvk.lt):Council of Ministers appointed by the president on the nomination of the premier
  • elections:president elected by popular vote for a five-year term; election last held 21 December 1997 and 5 January 1998 (next to be held NA 2003); premier appointed by the president on the approval of the Parliament
  • election results:Valdas Adamkus elected president; percent of vote - Valdas Adamkus 50.4%, [[Arturas Paulauskas] 49.6%

Legislative branch: unicameral Parliament or Seimas (http://www.lrs.lt) (141 seats, 71 members are directly elected by popular vote, 70 are elected by proportional representation; members serve four-year terms)
elections: last held 8 October 2000 (next to be held 2004)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - LSDP 49, LS 34, NS 29, TS 9, LVS 4, LCS 3, LKDP 2, independents 2, others 9

Judicial branch: Supreme Court, judges appointed by the Parliament; Court of Appeal, judges appointed by the Parliament

Political parties and leaders:

  • Lietuvos krikscioniu demokratu partija or LKPD (Christian Democratic Party), chairman Algirdas Saudargas
  • Tevynes Sajunga/Lietuvos Konservatoriai or TS-LK (Homeland Union/Conservative Party)), chairman Vytautas Landsbergis
  • Lietuvos Liberalu Sajunga or LLS (Liberal Union), chairman Eugenijus Gentvilas
  • Lietuvos centro sajunga or LCS (Lithuanian Center Union), chairman Kestutis Glaveckas
  • Lietuvos valstieciu partija or LVP (Lithuanian Farmer's Party), previously Lietuvos ukininku sajunga (Farmers' Union), chairman Albinas Vaizmuzis
  • Lietuvos Tautininku Sajunga or LTS (Lithuanian Nationalist Union), chairman Rimantas Smetona
  • Lietuvos Lenku Sajunga or LLS (Lithuanian Polish Union), chairman Rsztardas Maciekaniec or maybe Rytardas Maciekaniec
  • Lietuvos Nacionaldemokratu Partija or LNDP
  • Lietuvos Socialdemokratu Partija or LSDP (Lithuanian Social Democratic Party. chairman Algirdas Mykolas Brazauskas
  • Naujoji Sajunga (New Union)

Political pressure groups and leaders: Lithuanian Future Forum

International organization participation: BIS, CBSS, CCC, CE, EAPC, EBRD, ECE, EU (applicant), FAO, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICC, ICFTU, ICRM, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Intelsat (nonsignatory user), Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO (correspondent), ITU, OPCW, OSCE, PFP, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNMIBH, UNMIK, UPU, WEU (associate partner), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTrO (applicant)

Flag description: three equal horizontal bands of yellow (top), green, and red

See also : Lithuania

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