History of the Seimas

 

The history of the Seimas of Lithuania has a complex yet intriguing, interesting, and insightful story to tell. It inspires an unexpected sense of pride in anyone willing to delve into the realm of Lithuania’s political history. It decidedly demonstrates Lithuania’s affiliation with the European civilisation as a context conducive to the development of parliamentary institutions. Unique achievements were made in Lithuania’s parliamentarianism from the very turn of the 16th century through to the first half of the 17th century, when Lithuania’s Seimas first appeared, and up to the modern parliamentarianism of the present day and age, despite the painful moments and breaking points in Lithuania’s 20th century history.

Lithuania’s ability to build and consolidate the democratic republic is based on a parliamentary system enabling decision-making through joint public consultations and decisions made by authorised representatives. The Seimas website section on the History of the Seimas offers you to take an exciting journey into the unique and fascinating history of parliamentarianism in Lithuania.

 


 

Seimas of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania before 1569

The development of institutions representing the estates and the political nation is a characteristic feature of the High and Late Middle Ages in Europe. In Western European countries, the representative institutions were called the Parliament, the Estates General, the Reichstag, or Cortes. In Central Europe, they were usually referred to as the Seimas.
       
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Seimas in the Commonwealth of the Two Nations (1569–1795)

The Seimas of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania entered a new stage of development on 1 July 1569 when the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the Kingdom of Poland concluded the Union of Lublin. Signed in the city of Lublin, the Act of the Union firmly enshrined the requirement to hold joint conventions.
       
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Origins of Modern Parliamentarianism

Lithuanian public activists became increasingly vociferous in their demands for the establishment of an independent Lithuanian State. The end of the nineteenth century, was the period of the early emergence of the national ideology. In a sense, this marked the early stage of shaping of the Lithuanian political landscape. The beginning of the twentieth century, was the time when the issue of Lithuania’s autonomy within the Russian Empire was first clearly raised.

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Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania (1920–1940)

Even before the declaration of independence, Lithuania was referred to as a parliamentary state. The urgency to convene the Constituent Seimas was repeatedly referred to in the Act of Independence of Lithuania of 16 February 1918. Constituent assemblies had been convoked in all the countries established after World War I. In the period from 1918 to 1940, five parliaments in total had been convened in Lithuania.
       
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Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania since 1990

At March 11, 1990, the Supreme Council of the Republic of Lithuania adopted an Act embodying the expectations and hopes of the nation “On the Re-establishment of the Independence of the Republic of Lithuania” which solemnly proclaimed the end of the period of occupation by a foreign government and the beginning of a new era of statehood.
       
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