New amendments to the constitution come into force on Sunday

All of them are important both for the elections of mayors and municipal councils to be held next year and for the elections to the Seimas scheduled for 2024.

“One of the essential priorities of this Seimas is high-quality legislation, which I declared when I became the Speaker of the Seimas. Two of the three amendments to the Constitution that have come into force have been adopted to correct earlier mistakes. I am talking about the amendments on the direct elections of mayors and the abolition of the permanent restriction to hold office after the constitutional sanctions, ”notes the Speaker of the Seimas Viktorija Čmilytė-Nielsen.

According to the Speaker of the Seimas, the amendment allowing the candidacy of the Seimas from the age of 21 is an initiative implemented together with civic youth, which provides more opportunities for civic adults.

“It simply came to our notice then. And it equalizes the conditions, because even younger people than the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania could run for the European Parliament. The more opportunities we give young people to express themselves in political activities, the more active the society will be, and an active civil society is the basis of democracy, ”emphasizes V. Čmilytė-Nielsen.

Direct elections of mayors are legal

The Seimas, implementing the ruling of the Constitutional Court, with the amendments to the Constitution adopted, has decided that the right of self-government must be exercised not only through municipal councils, but also through mayors of municipalities. In this way, the Lithuanian population will continue to retain the right to elect municipal leaders directly.

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The main document of the country stipulates that the mayors of municipalities are elected for four years by the citizens of the country and other permanent residents of the administrative unit.

After the decision to enshrine direct elections of mayors in the Constitution, the Seimas began to consider a new model of powers of mayors, according to which the municipal council would be the representative institution and the mayor the head of the municipality with the rights and duties of local government and public administration.

Direct elections of mayors have the strong support of the Lithuanian population. Vilmorus survey conducted in 2021 in April, revealed that more than 80% of According to the Lithuanian population, the mayor must be elected directly.

Candidate for the Seimas – from the age of 21

The amendment to the Constitution adopted by the Seimas lowered the age limit and allowed persons who are at least 21 years old to stand for election to the Lithuanian Parliament.

The young candidates will be able to accept this challenge in the upcoming elections to the Seimas in 2024.
Until now, according to the Constitution, only persons who have reached the age of 25 could apply for the position of a member of the Seimas. It should be noted that currently only one member of the Seimas, younger than 30, works in the Lithuanian Parliament.

By the way, the current legislation allows candidates over the age of 21 to stand for election to the European Parliament and for persons over the age of 18 to apply to the municipal council.

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The permanent restriction on office has been lifted

The Seimas also supplemented the Constitution with a new provision and abolished the permanent restriction on being elected a member of the Seimas or holding other positions specified in the Constitution by applying constitutional sanctions.

It paves the way for Rolandas Paksas, who has been removed from the presidency, to reappoint as president, member of the Seimas or member of the government.

Thus, the Lithuanian Parliament implemented the 2011 report of the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights. January 6 a decision recognizing Lithuania as violating Article 3 of Protocol No. 1 to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, which guarantees the right to free elections, due to the permanent and irreversible nature of the restriction of the applicant’s “passive” right to stand for election to the legislature.

According to the adopted amendment, a person who has been removed from office or revoked the term of office of a member of the Seimas by the Seimas in accordance with the procedure of impeachment proceedings for gross violation of the Constitution or breach of oath will be able to hold office. at least 10 years.

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