Lithuania is a Republic state based on parliamentary democracy. Lithuania (official name: Republic of Lithuania) after declaring independence from Soviet Union in March 1990 has kept strong democratic traditions.
President is the chief of state and is elected by popular vote for a five-year term. Prime Minister is the head of the government who is appointed by the President on approval of the Parliament (generally leader of the majority party or coalition) to serve a term of four years. Prime Minister enjoys the executive powers which include implementation of the law in the country and running the day-to-day affairs. The Council of Ministers (cabinet) is appointed by the President on the nomination of the Prime Minister.
The legislature is unicameral in Lithuania. The Parliament consists of 141 seats, 71 members are directly elected by popular vote, 70 are elected by proportional representation; all members serve four-year terms. Prime Minister cannot dissolve the Parliament (but President can do so on recommendation of the Parliament) nor can veto its enactment . The people of Lithuania enjoy considerable political rights.
Judiciary in Lithuania is largely independent, though lack of qualified judges and lawyers often undermines the right to a fair trial. The main source of the law in the country is the constitution of 1992; with its legal system based on civil law system. Lithuania being a member of the European Union, the national law in the country needs to comply with the conditions of the Community legislature. Lithuanian is the judicial language used in the country; having an interpreter is possible.
The country is ruled by law. Foreign nationals can expect an impartial trail from country's judicial system. A high degree of corruption exists in the country, especially in political parties and corporate sector.
Major political parties
Lithuania has a multi-party system in which a single party does not have the chance of gaining power alone. So parties work with each other to form coalition governments. Some of the major parties in the country are:
- LSDP (Social Democratic Party of Lithuania) – advocates social democracy, has communist background;
- VNDS (Peasants and New Democratic Party Union) - an agrarian-conservative political party;
- TS (Homeland Union) – a right-wing conservative political party;
- DP (Labour Party) – advocates globalization and free-market economy in entire Europe;
- Liberal Democratic Party – a right-of-centre political party, Election Action of Lithuania's Poles – represents Polish ethnic minority.
Major political leaders
President: Valdas ADAMKUS (since July 2004) – non-partisan
Prime Minister: Gediminas KIRKILAS (since July 2006) – Social Democratic Party, heading a coalition government
Next political election dates
Presidential: June 2009
Parliamentary: October 2008