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Part 7

 

            Lithuania is a semi-presidential
republic with legislative power vested in the 141-member unicameral parliament
(Seimas), and a directly elected president serving as head of state. Lithuania
has a mixed system, with both single-member district plurality and proportional
representation systems. Lithuanian voters directly elect a president every five
years and its members of the Seimas. 

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For
parliamentary elections, 71 members of the parliament are elected by a majority
vote in single-member districts, with one representative being elected per
district. The winner must have at least 20 percent of the votes.1
Also, there are 70 members of parliament elected by proportional
representation.2
One constituency is formed in the country, and a list is generated to represent
proportional representation without a specific threshold. Whichever party
received the most votes wins a seat in the parliament. The number of active
parties in Lithuania is high because of the nature of the system. As a partly
proportional representation, the state tends to encourage some parties to gain
power and participate in the democratic process. This shows that the sufficient
number of parties is a function of the electoral rules.

            The first political organization formed
in Lithuania was the Social Democratic Party while other inter-war parties such
as the Populist and Nationalist parties had origins that began during the
beginning two decades of the 20th century. During the times of the Soviet
Union, Lithuania created its first party system in the USSR by
“eliminating article 6 of the Lithuanian SSR, which had guaranteed the
communist party the leading role in the political life of the republic.”3

            Furthermore, current major parties
represented in the parliament exist such as the Lithuanian Peasant and Green
union, (LPGU) Homeland Union-Lithuanian Christian Democrats, Social Democratic
Party, Liberal Movement, Order and Justice, Labour Party, and Green Party. The
Lithuanian Peasant and the Greens Union has been an active agrarian union that
has been very successful in the 2016 parliamentary elections winning nearly 40
percent of the seats. The LPGU is now seeking to form a coalition government
either with the opposition Homeland Union or with the left of centre Social
Democrats.”4

            Most major parties represent
post-materialist concerns. To the right of the spectrum are the Nationalists,
who advocate for educational and cultural progression for the nation. The
Republican Party stress more intervention in family values and less spending by
the government. The Christian Democrats are centered in the middle but are more
liberal in moral/social issues such as immigration or abortion. The Social
Democrats support trade unions and promote the right to work. The Populists have
formed constituencies for farming and agricultural purposes. Lastly, the Green
Party and humanist parties advocate for environmental and humanitarian needs.

             Other parties such as the Liberal Union,
Social Democrats, Democrats and Democratic Labor Party have commitment to the
rule of law. The Independence Party, Nationalist Union, and Republicans differ
from the others by an absolutist view rather than a democratic. The
Nationalists, eliminate freedom of speech and promote governmental agenda. By
contrast, the Liberals, Democrats, Christian Democrats and Social Democrats all
assert the rights and liberties of an individual. Although there may not have
been many cleavages during Lithuania’s post-soviet transition, a link could
exist in the Land/Industry cleavage during the Industrial Revolution. The
formation of the Lithuanian Peasant and Greens Union has formed loyalties and
alignments with other modern parties and has succeeded in winning seats in the
parliament.  

 

 

           

           

 

1 “Political system of
Lithuania.” True Lithuania. July
05, 2017.

2 Ibid.

3 Party Formation in Lithuania:
Prospects for Multiparty Democracy -Romas
Tauras Viesulas. Accessed January 15, 2018

4 “Lithuania election: Farmers’
party in shock triumph.” BBC News.
October 24, 2016.

 

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