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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Main executive and legislative bodies

Lithuania

1.Political, social and economic background and trends

1.2Main executive and legislative bodies

Last update: 27 November 2023

In Lithuania, State power is executed by the Seimas, the President of the Republic and the Government, and the Judiciary. The scope of power is limited by the Constitution. The most significant issues concerning the life of the State and the Nation are decided by referendum declared by the Seimas in cases established by law.

The Seimas is the Parliament of Lithuania and the national legislative body. The Seimas is composed of 141 members elected for a four-year term on the basis of universal, equal, and direct suffrage by secret ballot. The Seimas is deemed elected when not less than 3/5 of the Members of the Seimas have been elected. The President convenes the first sitting of the newly-elected Seimas which must be held within 15 days of the Seimas election. If the President fails to convene the Seimas, the Members of the Seimas assemble by themselves on the day following the expiration of the 15-day period. Every year, the Seimas convenes for two regular sessions—spring and autumn. They last from 10 March to 30 June and from 10 September to 23 December, respectively. The extraordinary sessions are being convened by the Speaker of the Seimas with the suggestion of not less than one-third of all the Members of the Seimas and extraordinary sessions may be convened, in cases provided for in the Constitution, by the President.

The sittings of the Seimas are presided over by the Speaker of the Seimas or one of his/her Deputies. The first sitting of the Seimas after the elections is opened by the eldest Member of the Seimas. The structure and procedure of activities of the Seimas are established by the Statute of the Seimas. The Statute of the Seimas has the power of law.

The Seimas discusses, passes and enacts laws, approves or rejects the candidature of the Prime Minister (Head of the Government) proposed by the President, supervises the activities of the Government, approves the state budget and monitors its implementation, establishes state taxes, announces local government election, ratifies or denounces international. The Seimas forms committees for deliberation of draft laws and commissions (permanent and temporary) for consideration of narrower issues.

The Seimas has the Committee of Education, Science and Culture, which prepares and discusses draft of laws, and other legal documents and proposals concerning education, science and culture. It also considers drafts of documents relating to education, science, culture and provision of information and provides opinion on them; discusses other projects submitted to the Committee evaluating whether they comply with the Government policy on these issues; prepares proposals and recommendations to the Government and local governments on provision of education, science, culture and information; is concerned with provision of support to individuals, organisations and movements serving the needs of culture and performs parliamentary control of activities carried out by the Ministry of Education and Science, the Ministry of Culture and other educational, research and cultural institutions.

The President is Head of State who is being elected for 5 year term by the citizens of Lithuaniathat haveunversal, equal and direct franchise in secret vote. Same person can be elected no more than twice in turn. The greatest power of the President is vested in foreign policy: the President decides the basic issues of foreign policy and, together with the Government, conducts foreign policy, signs international treaties and submits them to the Seimas for ratification, appoints and recalls, upon the submission of the Government, diplomatic representatives of the Republic of Lithuania to foreign states and international organisations, receives letters of credence and recall of diplomatic representatives of foreign states, confers the highest diplomatic ranks and special titles.

The President also performs significant domestic policy functions: the President is Commander-in-Chief of the country’s armed forces and heads the State Defence Council. He/she confers the highest military ranks, appoints and dismisses, upon the assent of the Seimas, the Commander of the Armed Forces and the Head of the Security Service. The President also has the right of legislative initiative at the Seimas as well as the right to veto laws passed by the Seimas, appoint and dismiss, upon the assent of the Seimas, the Prime Minister, charge him to form the Government, and approve its composition. He/she may appeal to the Constitutional Court and, in cases provided for in the Constitution, announce pre-term elections to the Seimas.

The President is an important guarantee for the effective functioning of the judicial system: he/she submits candidatures of the Supreme Court justices and a candidature for the President of the Supreme Court to the Seimas; appoints judges of the Court of Appeal and the President of the Court of Appeal; appoints judges and presidents of regional and local courts; submits the candidatures for three justices of the Constitutional Court and a candidature for the President of the Constitutional Court to the Seimas.

The President has a right to grant citizenship of the Republic of Lithuania according to the procedure established by law, grant pardons to convicted persons and confer State awards.

On 13 July 2009, Dalia Grybauskaitė was elected President of the Republic of Lithuania. On 2014 Dalia Grybauskaitė was re-elected for the second term in turn. The person can be elected for the President for two terms in turn. 

The Government exercises the executive power in Lithuania. The Government consists of the Prime Minister and 14 ministers in the term of 2012-2016. The Prime Minister is appointed and dismissed by the President, with the assent of the Seimas. The Ministers are appointed and dismissed by the President of the Republic, upon the submission of the Prime Minister.

The Government of the Republic of Lithuania is jointly responsible to the Seimas for the general activities of the Government. At least once a year, the Government makes an annual report on its activities at the Seimas. Upon the request of the Seimas, the Government or individual Ministers must give an account of their activities to the Seimas in an order established by the Statute of the Seimas. The Ministers, in directing the branches of administration entrusted to them, are responsible to the Seimas, the President, and directly subordinate to the Prime Minister.

Government meetings are convened and chaired by the Prime Minister. They are usually held in the premises of the Government once a week, on Wednesday, at the time scheduled by the Prime Minister. In the event that the Government needs to take immediate decisions, the Government meeting may be held at some other time scheduled by the Prime Minister. The Government meeting is lawful if it is attended by more than half of the members of the Government.

A Minister heads his/her respective ministry, resolves issues within the competence of the ministry and also discharges other functions provided for by laws. The Ministers, in directing the branches of administration entrusted to them, are responsible to the Seimas, the President, and directly subordinate to the Prime Minister.

On the governmental level, the Ministry of Education and Science is responsible for education. It formulates the state policy on education, organises, coordinates and controls its implementation and – in cases established by law – also implements it in branches of administration entrusted to the Minister of Education and Science. The ministries of Social Security and Labour, Economy, Culture, Health and others are partially responsible for the education and science. 

The Local Self-Government denotes the right and actual power of the institutions of a local government which is elected by the residents of an administrative unit of the State territory to freely and independently on their own responsibility regulate and manage public affairs and meet the needs of local residents according to the Constitution and laws of Lithuania.

In Lithuania, there are sixty (60) municipalities (the local self-government). Municipality (municipality, Lithuanian, savivaldybė) is an unit of the State territory, the community of which has the right to local (municipal) self-government guaranteed by the Constitution and exercised through the Municipal Council elected by residents of the administrative unit concerned and through executive and other municipal institutions and bodies that are formed by the Municipal Council and are accountable to it. The municipality is a public legal entity.

Institutions responsible for enforcing the right to self-governance in the interests of their communities include the local government‘s elective representative institution – the Municipal Council – charged with the rights and obligations of local governance and public administration and the local government‘s executive institution (executive institutions) – the Municipal Administration headed by the Administrator, Deputy Administrator(s).

The members of Municipal Councils are elected in multi-candidate constituencies for a four-year term on the basis of universal, equal and direct suffrage by secret ballot in direct elections under the system of proportional representation. The Municipality is headed by the Mayor. From 2015 the Mayor will be elected directly by the inhabitants of the territorial unit for the four-year term. Until the next self-government election in 2015 the Mayor was elected by the Municipal Council. The Mayor is accountable to the Municipal Council and the local community for his and the municipal activities.

Each municipal administration has a department responsible for the activities of educational institutions in a particular municipality that is engaged in exploring and assessing the state of education in the municipality, drawing up the municipal budget for the implementation of education programmes, etc.