République tchèque

Institutions of Lithuania


The state of Lithuania is an independent, democratic republic since March 11, 1990 when the Supreme Council has declared the restoration of Lithuanian independence. The state power in Lithuania belongs to the Seimas (Parliament), President of the Republic, Government and Court. Powers are limited according to the constitution, adopted in 1992 by a referendum. The territory of the state is one and not divisible. The official language - is Lithuanian. Lithuania State has celebrated its' 1000 anniversary in 2009, as it is mentioned 1009 in Qedinburgh annals for the fist time. 

Lithuanias political system is defined by the Lithuanian Constitutional Court as a parliamentary republic but also with the characteristics of a semi-presidential regime. That is why the role of the President of Lithuania is somewhat different to that of the majority of other presidents of republics in Europe. He is not the head of executive power but assumes some of its functions. The President of the Republic is elected for a period of five years and cannot carry out more than two consecutive mandates. According to the Lithuanian constitution, the president is the head of the State and has relatively extensive powers. Among these are the designation and dismissal, on condition that the Seimas gives its consent, of the Prime Minister, each of the ministers and the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces. The President also has certain powers with regard to foreign policies.

The head of the State

The Lithuanian President is the head of the State. He represents the Lithuanian State and carries out other functions designated in the constitution and other laws. By adopting the constitution, the Lithuanian people expressed their desire for stability in the workings of the State. That is why the President is elected for a different length of time than parliament and the government. The fact that the President is obliged to end his political party activities after he has been elected, demonstrates the concern of those who drew up the constitution, that the Lithuanian President should represent the people as widely as possible. The role of the Lithuanian President is far from being solely representative or formal. He is the one who signs international treaties and submits them to the Seimas for ratification. The President also directs the State Defence Council and is the supreme head of the armed forces.

The Presidential elections

Like his French or American counterparts, the Lithuanian President is elected by direct universal voting. Often and particularly before presidential elections, one hears politicians and political experts discussing the election method for the purpose of finding out whether it corresponds to the functions attributed to it. It is clear that Lithuanian President has less important competencies than the American or French Presidents. Would it not be more rational to change the election method to an indirect universal vote ? The election could be carried out by an electoral group including members of parliament and various representatives of local councils, as was the case in France before 1965 ; particularly as this method would be more similar to that of neighbouring countries such as Latvia and Estonia.

The Government

The executive power is represented by the Cabinet (government), under the direction of the Prime Minister. The government law determines the list of Lithuanian ministers. There are 13 ministers: the ministers of the environment, finances, defence, culture, social security and labour, transport, health, education and sciences, justice, economy, foreign affairs, home affairs and agricultural. In addition there are agencies attached to each ministry, there is the government chancellery and 15 central agencies directly attached to the government. In all, the government has a hundred institutions with executive powers.


As in all the other former communist countries, the economic liberalisation movement initiated by the first Lithuanian governments between 1990 and 1995, had several perverse effects on the economy. This uncontrolled process resulted in, among other things, a great reduction in activity, hyperinflation and the development of an unofficial economy. Despite legitimisation by this highly symbolic policy, the Lithuanian State found itself rapidly confronted with a double necessity. Firstly, it had to affirm its authority over the national participants in the economy by combating any kind of clandestine activity. Then it had to establish a social system capable of remedying the problems resulting from all that was forgotten during economic transition.

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