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Political parties and elections in Lithuania


Since independence Lithuania has swung between governments of the right-wing Homeland Union, led by the independence champion Vytautas Landsbergis, and the left-wing Lithuanian Democratic Labour Party - the reformed Communist Party - led by a former construction engineer and Communist official, Algirdas Brazauskas. 

President of the Republic of Lithuania, elected on 4 January, 1998, - Valdas Adamkus, a former high-level US Environmental Protection Agency official. 

After parliamentary elections in October 2000, a government was formed by the centre-right coalition of the Lithuanian Liberal Union and the New Union, mostly made up of younger and more image-minded politicians than their predecessors. 

But the coalition collapsed in June 2001 when the New Union party withdrew from the government. 


By breaking with the USSR Communist Party in 1989, the Lithuanian Communist Party had, in fact created the Soviet Union multi-party system and favoured the creation of other political parties in Lithuania. Sajudis won the 1990 parliamentary elections. 72 deputies were supported by Sajudis. It is very important to note that among those elected, there were already representatives of other political parties : 9 socio-democrats, 2 Christian democrats and 2 greens. 7 members of parliament represented the pro-Soviet fraction of the old Lithuanian Communist Party etc., the total number of seats being 141. It was this parliament which declared the countrys independence of the USSR on March 11, 1990. Even though these elections were organised according to Soviet laws, they constituted considerable progress towards democracy.


The parliamentary elections in 2000 resulted in the sudden appearance of two new political powers alongside the traditional parties : the liberals with R. Paksas who came first and the socio-liberals led by A. Paulauskas. The representatives of the socio-democrats obtained 49 seats, the liberals 34 seats and the socio-liberals 29 seats. The total number of seats being 141. The President of the Republic asked the liberal and socio-liberal coalition to form the government. The representative of the liberals, R. Paksas, who became Prime Minister, formed a coalition government. From an ideological point of view, this coalition was slightly artificial and consequently very fragile. It survived hardly a year. In July 2001 A. Brazauskas formed a new second coalition government of socio-liberals and socio-democrats.


The balance of political life The political equilibrium is the reflection of the battle between two eminent politicians : V. Landsbergis and A. Brazauskas. The first represents the political forces of the right and the second, those of the left. In 1990, V. Landsbergis was elected President of a parliament of which the majority were representatives of Sajudis. In the 1992-1996 parliament, it was the left that dominated. In 1993, A. Brazauskas became President of the Republic. The following elections were won by the right who stayed in power from 1996 to 2000. A. Brazauskas did not participate in the 1997 presidential elections and abandoned political life for three years. At the parliamentary elections in 2000, A. Brazauskasí coalition obtained more seats in parliament but the victory was insufficient to form a government.


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