Elections to the Seimas
The Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania lays down that the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania consists of 141 representatives of the Nation, who are elected for a four-year term on the basis of universal, equal, and direct suffrage by secret ballot. The procedure for the election of the Members of the Seimas is established by the Law on Elections to the Seimas.
The Members of the Seimas are elected in 71 single-member constituencies and 1 multi-member constituency in mixed-system elections. In single-member constituencies 71 Members of the Seimas are elected in two election rounds, and in the multi-member constituency 70 Members of the Seimas are elected according to the proportional system of elections. The right to take part in the distribution of mandates is won by the parties whose list of candidates receive over 5 percent of all votes cast in the elections. Coalitions have to cross the threshold of 7 percent of all votes cast.
Regular elections to the Seimas are announced by the President of the Republic. They are held on the second Sunday of October, in the year of the expiration of the powers of the Members of the Seimas. The elections to the Seimas are organised and conducted by the Central Electoral Commission, constituency electoral committees, and polling district committees.
Any citizen of the Republic of Lithuania who is not under allegiance to a foreign state, who is at least 25 years of age on the election day, and who permanently resides in Lithuania may stand for election as a Member of the Seimas. Citizens of the Republic of Lithuania who, on the election day, are 18 years of age have the right to vote.
The term of powers of Members of the Seimas begins from the day on which the newly elected Seimas convenes for the first sitting. The term of powers of previously elected Members of the Seimas expires at the beginning of this sitting.
An elected Member of the Seimas acquires all the rights of a representative of the Nation only after taking an oath at the Seimas to be faithful to the Republic of Lithuania.
The text of the oath is the following:
“I (full name),
swear to be faithful to the Republic of Lithuania;
swear to respect and uphold its Constitution and laws and to protect the integrity of its lands;
swear to strengthen, to the best of my ability, the independence of Lithuania, and to conscientiously serve my Homeland, democracy, and the welfare of the people of Lithuania.
So help me God.”
The oath may also be taken by omitting the last sentence.
The main rights and obligations of a Member of the Seimas are defined by the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania, the Statute of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania, and other laws.
The Seimas debates, adopts and passes laws, gives or does not give its assent to the candidate proposed by the President of the Republic for the post of the Prime Minister (head of the Government), supervises the activities of the Government, approves the State Budget and supervises its execution, establishes state taxes, calls elections to municipal councils, and ratifies international treaties of the Republic of Lithuania.
The Seimas forms committees for consideration of draft laws and standing and other ad hoc commissions for resolving issues of narrower scope. The Conference of Chairs, which comprises members of the Board of the Seimas and representatives of the political groups, approves work programmes of the Seimas session and agendas of sittings and coordinates the organisation of the work of the committees and political groups of the Seimas.
11th Seimas (2012–2016)
Photo O. Posaškova
In autumn 2012, during the election to the 11th Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania, Lithuanian citizens entrusted the mandates of Members of the Seimas to the representatives of the following political parties: Lithuanian Social Democratic Party (37 seats), Homeland Union - Lithuanian Christian Democrats (33 seats), Labour Party (29 seats), Party “Order and Justice” (11 seats), Liberals Movement of the Republic of Lithuania (10 seats), Lithuanian Poles’ Electoral Action (8 seats), Political Party “The Way of Courage” (7 seats), and Lithuanian Peasant and Greens Union (1 seat), as well as self-nominated candidates (3 seats).
After the election, the Lithuanian Social Democratic Party, Labour Party, Party “Order and Justice” and Lithuanian Poles’ Electoral Action informed about the Coalition Agreement on the Joint Work in the Name of Lithuania. On 26 August 2014, the Lithuanian Poles’ Electoral Action withdrew from the ruling coalition.
The oath of loyalty to the Republic of Lithuania was taken by 135 Members of the Seimas during the first sitting of the 11th Seimas. The Parliament resolved that the elected Members of the Seimas: Zigmantas Balčytis, Vilija Blinkevičiūtė, Zdislavas Palevičius and Valdemaras Tomaševskis, failed to take the oath in the manner prescribed by law and therefore lost their mandate of a Member of the Seimas. The re-run elections took place in two electoral constituencies (Biržų–Kupiškio and Zarasų–Visagino) on 3 March 2013.
During its first sitting on 16 November 2012, the new Seimas elected Vydas Gedvilas, Labour Party member, as Speaker of the Seimas. Since 3 October 2013, the Seimas has been led by Loreta Graužinienė from the Labour Party.
The political groups established in the 11th Seimas are the following: Lithuanian Social Democratic Party Political Group, Homeland Union - Lithuanian Christian Democrat Political Group, Labour Party Political Group, Order and Justice Political Group, Liberals Movement Political Group, Lithuanian Poles' Electoral Action Political Group, and Political Group of Non-affiliated Members of the Seimas.