Digital transformation of the Lithuanian Parliament: the Seimas has smoothly switched towards a remote work environment
Press release, 25 January 2021
Ensuring safe continuation of its activities, the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania convened and voted remotely for the first time amidst the turmoil of Covid-19.
It was the successful cooperation of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania with Microsoft, the global leader in cloud services, and its joint team of partners, which includes Fortevento, Avalytics and Ondato, that has allowed access to remote work and voting thus facilitating uninterrupted operation of the Seimas.
Photo by Olga Posaškova, Office of the Seimas
Despite the sensitive, complex and unique nature of the remote work decision as determined by legislative procedures, Microsoft’s joint team together with the Office of the Seimas implemented the decision in a particularly short timeframe. The technological solution was only a part of the project. Equally important was the resolution of the issues pertaining to legislative procedures and the drafting of a legislative framework to ensure that remote voting takes place in compliance with the law. Moreover, it was necessary to train the system users in a short period of time.
‘In my opinion, it is one of the most successful examples of cooperation between private and public players. My wish is that our country had as much of this kind of cooperation as possible. Particularly complex and sensitive matters pertaining to authentication, voting and other subtleties of Seimas sitting procedures were implemented very quickly. The established virtual chamber of the Seimas has become a convenient and effective tool, which the Lithuanian Parliament will be using and improving to ensure the continuity of the legislative work in Lithuania,’ said Viktorija Čmilytė-Nielsen, Speaker of the Seimas
The solution has been developed on the basis of the cloud communication and cooperation platform Microsoft Teams combined with a specifically designed Microsoft Power Platform voting application and SharePoint Online service for data storage and integration with the voting system available at the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania. Recording of interventions and comments has been enabled with the help of the Microsoft Lists solution. Azure AD Multi-Factor Authentication is used for safe authentication of the user. A digital signature of the Smart-ID app is used to identify Members of the Seimas. Moreover, to ensure additional security during the vote, captured face images of voting Members of the Seimas are recorded.
‘E-Parliament and e-voting constitute a decisive step towards a digital Lithuania at a difficult time for the country. I very much appreciate the trust placed on us by the new Lithuanian Parliament. It is my hope that the coming year will become a period of breakthrough when it comes to digital transformation and the application of innovative, effective, and safe cloud decisions in the Lithuanian public sector ,’ said Simonas Černiauskas, country manager at Microsoft Lithuania.
According to the study conducted by the Office of the Seimas in late November 2020, as many as nine parliaments (Belgian Chamber of Deputies, Estonian Riigikogu, Croatian Parliament, Latvian Saeima, Polish Sejm, Spanish Congress of Deputies and Senate, Slovenian National Assembly, and the European Parliament) have either access to or the legal and technical capacity to make use of remote voting in plenary sittings.
Information and Communication Department, tel. +370 5 239 6666, e-mail: [email protected]