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Photo by John Ohman

The concern for democracy seems insincere the further it goes. Basically in Lithuania there never was any democracy, but something more like particracy. It is obvious that there is no civil society within Lithuania. Besides it actually should not be there, after all only parties have access to all the strings to countries government, who, by the way, represent only 5 percent of Lithuania’s residents. Social organizations and local communities have very little impact nation management.

Here Municipality electoral law gives to parties an exclusive right to submit (rise) their candidates to municipal council. Let’s say, party of K. Brazauskienė can have not a single party member from Visaginas, she can even ‘forget’ to visit this settlement year after year, but she still has a right to submit a candidate for municipal post. However residents of Visaginas, by the mentioned law, cannot submit a candidate while it is the members of local community who they know better and who they can trust. Therefore no other organization (legal entity), except a party, has any parallel rights.

Besides, no such right for parties is delegated in Lithuania’s Constitution. They themselves took it as their owns. The exceptional right for parties is also included in to Seimas electoral law.

Also during election party elites can influence state institutions (the prosecutor’s office, the police, what was demonstrated by Signatory prosecutions for supposedly illegal mitting’s) and the media serves for those elites, of which bigger part has clearly stated dependency from parties or is being controlled by their heads.

New party financing order also serves them, by which legal entities cannot support them, while natural entities can donate not more than 40LTU, otherwise they must provide Declaration of the Property and Income from 2003rd year, and that deters a lot of residents. Systemic parties support from budget in millions while newly created parties do not reactive any funding thus establishment of new parties is becoming impossible.

And there we have it – our systemic picture: parties who represent only 5 percent of Lithuania’s residents have basically usurped practically whole civic authority. Because almost a half of residents do not participate in the elections (they think that democracy is declaratory), the parties represent only the other, active, half of people, in other words they represent only half Lithuania’s civilians. Considering that hundred thousands of civilians had emigrated, and even though they still have a voting right, they cannot realize that right (the electronic voting option was rejected and to travel hundreds of kilometers to vote in amasses who closes just before voting session is just too complicated), a quarter of voters eliminated from political life.

So the result we get is that candidates to Seimas are being supported by maybe a little more than one third of Lithuania’s residents (voters).

Therefore we have this kind of political elite having so ‘many’ supporters. Society (without any mediators) is not allowed to elect municipality boards by themselves (only from 9th of February of 2007 the Constitutional Court agreed that municipality board election law article 34 contradicts to the Constitution. In that way public organizations defended their right for civilians to rise themselves as candidates), their representatives were not allowed to participate in electoral committee, were not allowed to participate during trials delivering justice etc. Therefore society is not allowed to influence on state government.

Everyone perfectly understands that, it is just that no one tells why it is not allowed. And it is not allowed because that way it is more comfortable to control the society. It is one kind of interesting feudalistic-democratic-particratic government over society model.

Truthfully speaking it really is unimportant of which party members will get the most posts in Seimas. Their programs may differ but their actions are the same – already over 20 years we live as if in prolonged postwar period. Eventual society jet again will gain go access to those strings to influence legislative procedure.

Party elites are fighting among themselves for a place in government, while the society is left behind. Therefore it is curtail for us to understand that it is not parties representatives that has to determine destiny of country, but the citizens themselves, local communities, starting from municipal and finishing with Seimas election, has to solve grave questions of nation.

The society needs to fight so that local communities would have rights equal to those that parties’ representatives have, so that seats in Seimas would not be taken by people in grossly written party list, people often having no common sense about legislative procedure or state governing. People delegated by parties must compete in Single-member Constituencies with equal rights as the community representatives. Unfortunately they still do not have a right to delegate even a single candidate, not even talking about full lists of candidates which are being made by parties which not being approbated by the society are given for voting. The society is helpless in changing them. It is only given a symbolic right of judgment – that is ‘rating’ the participants.

Therefore the main objective – is to change electoral law, to shrink parties and to widen the civic society part in nation’s political life.

By Vytautas Budnikas

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