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On the legal provisions regulating the relations linked with the payment of the election deposit, submission of declarations of candidates, reaching the election threshold, conclusion of the agreement with the political campaign treasurer and distribution of state budget funds among political parties

Case No. 21/2010-30/2010

 THE CONSTITUTIONAL COURT OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA

 RULING

ON THE COMPLIANCE OF CERTAIN PROVISIONS OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA LAW ON PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS, THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA LAW ON ELECTIONS TO THE SEIMAS, THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA LAW ON ELECTIONS TO THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT, THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA LAW ON ELECTIONS TO MUNICIPAL COUNCILS, AND THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA LAW ON FUNDING OF, AND CONTROL OVER FUNDING OF, POLITICAL PARTIES AND POLITICAL CAMPAIGNS, WHICH REGULATE THE RELATIONS CONNECTED WITH THE PAYMENT OF THE ELECTION DEPOSIT, SUBMISSION OF DECLARATIONS OF CANDIDATES, REACHING OF THE ELECTION THRESHOLD, CONCLUSION OF AN AGREEMENT WITH THE POLITICAL CAMPAIGN TREASURER, AND DISTRIBUTION OF THE FUNDS OF THE STATE BUDGET TO POLITICAL PARTIES, WITH THE CONSTITUTION OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA

 29 March 2012

Vilnius

 

The Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania, composed of the Justices of the Constitutional Court Egidijus Bieliūnas, Toma Birmontienė, Pranas Kuconis, Gediminas Mesonis, Ramutė Ruškytė, Egidijus Šileikis, Algirdas Taminskas, Romualdas Kęstutis Urbaitis, and Dainius Žalimas,

with the secretary—Daiva Pitrėnaitė,

in the presence of the representatives of the groups of Members of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania, the petitioners, who were Vytenis Povilas Andriukaitis, a Member of the Seimas, and Gytis Kaminskas, an advocate (the representatives of a group of Members of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania, a petitioner, in the part of the case subsequent to petition No. 1B-22/2010 of this petitioner), as well as Vidmantas Žiemelis, a Member of the Seimas (the representative of a group of Members of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania, a petitioner, in the part of the case subsequent to petition No. 1B-38/2010 of this petitioner),

the representatives of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania, the party concerned, who were Remigijus Žemaitaitis, a Member of the Seimas (the representative of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania, the party concerned, in the parts of the case subsequent to petitions Nos. 1B-22/2010 and 1B-38/2010 of the petitioners), and Ona Buišienė, a senior adviser of the Public Law Unit of the Legal Department of the Office of the Seimas (the representative of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania, the party concerned, in the part of the case subsequent to petition No. 1B-22/2010 of a petitioner),

pursuant to Articles 102 and 105 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and Article 1 of the Law on the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania, in its public hearing, on 6 March 2012, heard constitutional justice case No. 21/2010-30/2010 subsequent to:

1) the petition (No. 1B-22/2010) of a group of Members of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania, a petitioner, requesting to investigate whether the provision “An aspirant to become a candidate for the President of the Republic must arrive and submit to the Central Electoral Commission <...> a document attesting to the payment of a deposit amounting to 5 most recent average monthly work remunerations (hereinafter referred to as the AMWR) in the national economy. After the elections the election deposit shall be refunded to the person who paid it, provided that a candidate for the President of the Republic has received more than 7 per cent of votes cast by the voters who participated in the elections” of Paragraph 2 of Article 36 of the Republic of Lithuania Law on Presidential Elections (wording of 12 June 2008), Items 5, 7 and 9 of Paragraph 1, Items 2 and 3 of Paragraph 2 of Article 38 (wording of 15 April 2008) and Article 41 (wording of 15 April 2008) of the Republic of Lithuania Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000), Items 4, 6 and 8 of Paragraph 1 of Article 37 (wording of 8 May 2008) and Article 40 of the Republic of Lithuania Law on Elections to the European Parliament, and Paragraph 18 of Article 2 (wording of 10 June 2008), Paragraphs 2, 3, 4 and 5 of Article 5 of the Republic of Lithuania Law on Funding of, and Control Over Funding of, Political Parties and Political Campaigns as well as the provision of Article 20 thereof, which obligates an independent political campaign participant to have an agreement concluded with another person—the treasurer of the independent political campaign participant, are not in conflict with the provision of Article 1 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania that the State of Lithuania is an independent democratic republic, also the provision of Paragraph 1 of Article 6 thereof that the Constitution is a directly applicable act, Paragraph 1 of Article 7, Article 23 and Paragraph 1 of Article 33 thereof, as well as with the constitutional principles of a state under the rule of law and the superiority of the Constitution;

2) the petition (No. 1B-38/2010) of a group of Members of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania, a petitioner, requesting to investigate whether:

– Paragraph 3 of Article 13 of the Republic of Lithuania Law on Funding of, and Control Over Funding of, Political Parties and Political Campaigns is not in conflict with the provision of Article 1 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania that the State of Lithuania is an independent democratic republic, also the provision of Paragraph 1 of Article 6 thereof that the Constitution is a directly applicable act, Paragraph 1 of Article 7, Paragraph 1 of Article 29 and Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 34 thereof, as well as with the constitutional principles of a state under the rule of law and the superiority of the Constitution;

– Paragraph 2 of Article 36 of the Republic of Lithuania Law on Presidential Elections (wording of 12 June 2008), Paragraph 4 of Article 41 (wording of 15 April 2008) of the Republic of Lithuania Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000), Paragraph 4 of Article 38 of the Republic of Lithuania Law on Elections to Municipal Councils (wording of 21 December 2006) and Paragraph 3 of Article 40 of the Republic of Lithuania Law on Elections to the European Parliament are not in conflict with the provision of Article 1 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania that the State of Lithuania is an independent democratic republic, also the provision of Paragraph 1 of Article 6 thereof that the Constitution is a directly applicable act, Paragraph 1 of Article 7, Article 23 and Paragraph 1 of Article 29 thereof, as well as with the constitutional principles of a state under the rule of law and the superiority of the Constitution;

– Items 5, 7 and 9 of Paragraph 1 and Items 2 and 3 of Paragraph 2 of Article 38 (wording of 15 April 2008) of the Republic of Lithuania Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000), Items 4, 6 and 8 of Paragraph 1 of Article 37 (wording of 8 May 2008) of the Republic of Lithuania Law on Elections to the European Parliament, Items 5 and 6 of Paragraph 1 of Article 35 of the Republic of Lithuania Law on Elections to Municipal Councils (wording of 21 December 2006) and Paragraph 18 of Article 2 (wording of 10 June 2008), Paragraphs 2, 3, 4 and 5 of Article 5 and Article 20 of the Republic of Lithuania Law on Funding of, and Control Over Funding of, Political Parties and Political Campaigns are not in conflict with the provision of Article 1 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania that the State of Lithuania is an independent democratic republic, also the provision of Paragraph 1 of Article 6 thereof that the Constitution is a directly applicable act, Paragraph 1 of Article 7, Article 23 and Paragraph 1 of Article 33 thereof, as well as with the constitutional principles of a state under the rule of law and the superiority of the Constitution;

– the provision “The list of candidates of a party may receive mandates of Members of the Seimas (takes part in the distribution of mandates) only if not less than 5 per cent of the voters participating in the elections have voted for it. The joint list of candidates, drawn up in accordance with Article 43 of this Law, may receive mandates of Members of the Seimas (takes part in the distribution of mandates) only if not less than 7 per cent of the voters participating in the election have voted for it” of Paragraph 2 of Article 89 of the Republic of Lithuania Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000) is not in conflict with, according to the petitioner, the essential principles of democratic elections entrenched in Article 4 and Paragraph 1 of Article 33 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania, as well as with the principles of universal, equal and direct suffrage entrenched in Paragraph 1 of Article 55 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania.

By the Constitutional Court decision of 28 February 2012 the said petitions of the petitioners were joined into one case and it was given reference No. 21/2010-30/2010.

The Constitutional Court

has established:

I

  1. The petition (No. 1B-22/2010) of a group of Members of the Seimas, a petitioner, requesting to investigate the compliance of the provision of Paragraph 2 of Article 36 of the Law on Presidential Elections (wording of 12 June 2008), the provisions of Articles 38 and 41 of the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000), the provisions of Articles 37 and 40 of the Law on Elections to the European Parliament and the provisions of Articles 2, 5 and 20 of the Law on Funding of, and Control Over Funding of, Political Parties and Political Campaigns with the Constitution and the petition (No. 1B-38/2010) of a group of Members of the Seimas, a petitioner, requesting to investigate the compliance of the same provisions of the Law on Presidential Elections (wording of 12 June 2008), the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000), the Law on Elections to the European Parliament, the Law on Funding of, and Control Over Funding of, Political Parties and Political Campaigns and the provisions of Articles 35 and 38 of the Law on Elections to Municipal Councils (wording of 21 December 2006) with the Constitution are substantiated by the following arguments.

1.1. The petitioners note that the legislator has discretion to specify in more concrete and detailed terms provisions of the Constitution and to legally regulate the relations that are not expressis verbis regulated in the Constitution, but, while doing this, the legislator must not violate the principles and norms of the Constitution. The impugned laws establish additional and constitutionally groundless limitations on the implementation of the passive and active electoral right.

The petitioners also note that if laws establish a different legal regulation competing with a constitutional regulation, the constitutional norms and principals establishing the requirements (conditions) for a person who is eligible to stand in elections are denied, and this is incompatible with the principle of the superiority of the Constitution, the provision of Paragraph 1 of Article 6 of the Constitution that the Constitution is a directly applicable act, and Paragraph 1 of Article 7 thereof under which any law or other act, which is contrary to the Constitution, is invalid.

1.2. A group of Members of the Seimas, a petitioner (petition No. 1B-22/2010), point out that the Constitution establishes the requirements for a person who is eligible to stand in elections of Members of the Seimas and President of the Republic, however, the impugned laws consolidate additional obligations with respect of the persons seeking to exercise their passive electoral right: they must pay the election deposit, submit the declarations on their legal status, which are not provided for by the Constitution, and conclude an agreement with the political campaign treasurer. These additional limitations on the right to be elected are absolutely groundless, and the fact that the person’s participation in an election is related to whether he can afford to pay the election deposit virtually consolidates the property qualification in elections. Moreover, in the opinion of the petitioner, by not refunding the election deposit to the candidate who has not received a certain amount of votes, one violates Article 23 of the Constitution, since such non-refunding constitutes the expropriation of the candidate’s property.

1.3. A group of Members of the Seimas, a petitioner (petition No. 1B-38/2010), also note that the election is a very important expression of democracy and the most important form of participation of citizens in the governance of the state.

The election deposit essentially ensures and fulfils the preventive function that a person who is exercising the passive electoral right would act responsibly and in good faith and would not violate the requirements of legal acts. While taking account of this, the law, according to the petitioner, could and should consolidate only such regulation whereby the election deposit is not refunded only to those persons who have violated the established requirements. Such regulation whereby the election deposit is not refunded to all persons who have not received more than 7 per cent of votes of the voters participating in the election of the President of the Republic or have not been elected Members of the Seimas in a single-member constituency, also whereby the election deposit is not refunded where the list (joint list) has not acquired the right to participate in the distribution of mandates of Members of the Seimas in a multi-member constituency, as well as where the list (joint list) of candidates nominated by a party to members of the municipal council has not acquired the right to participate in the distribution of mandates in a multi-member constituency or has not acquired the right to participate in the distribution of mandates to the European Parliament, constitutes a violation of the constitutional right to property. The laws contain no indication on what grounds the deposit is transferred to the state budget or what needs of society are being served, to say nothing of provision for a fair compensation. The deposit is not a fee for the right to participate in elections, also it is not and may not be a sanction for not winning elections, therefore, the state has no legitimate grounds to transfer the election deposit to the state budget after the election is over and the candidate has not violated any requirements of legal acts.

In the opinion of the petitioner, the current function of the election deposit essentially violates the principal function of the deposit—the election deposit functions as the property qualification, by means of it one seeks to establish economic limitations with respect to persons who wish to exercise the constitutional passive electoral right, and the person’s participation in elections is virtually directly related to whether he can afford to pay the election deposit. The consolidation of the election deposit leads to discrimination against smaller political parties or separate persons, whose possibilities of paying the deposit are more limited and who are more influenced by the fact that the deposit may be not refunded.

Laws do not explicitly establish any criteria on the basis of which the amount of the election deposit is determined. According to the petitioner, each year the election deposit is being gradually increased, in this way limiting the active and passive electoral right even to a greater extent and violating the provisions of non-discrimination. The amount of the deposit is established without following any clear and transparent criteria.

  1. The petition (No. 1B-38/2010) of a group of Members of the Seimas, a petitioner, requesting to investigate the compliance of Paragraph 3 of Article 13 of the Law on Funding of, and Control over Funding of, Political Parties and Political Campaigns with the Constitution is substantiated by the following arguments.

The legal regulation entrenched in the impugned provision groundlessly gives privileges to the political parties that reach the limit of 3 per cent of the votes cast by voters during the election, since such political parties are granted state budget appropriations; such legal regulation is discriminatory and violates equal opportunities of parties. The discriminatory distribution of funding only increases the social separation of parties, as the whole funding is allocated to the ruling, big parties, which poll the most votes, whereas the opportunity of smaller parties to participate in the governance of the state as well as in the formation of politics is inadequately and unreasonably reduced. It is difficult for a small party, which does not have many members, to exist without state funding and to actively voice its political ideas, therefore, with each election their opportunities to receive funding are only decreasing, and in this way the model of pluralistic democracy is being destroyed.

According to the petitioner, the state, having registered a legally operating party and having permitted for it to participate in an election, should not discriminate against it while regulating the support from state funds, i.e. the state must be concerned with the creation of uniform bases for the activity of all parties. Such a model must be created that would allow to assess all political parties according to the support received by them from voters and, while taking account of this, to proportionally allocate state funding, thereby evaluating each party chosen by voters.

  1. The petition (No. 1B-38/2010) of a group of Members of the Seimas, a petitioner, requesting to investigate the compliance of the provision of Paragraph 2 of Article 89 of the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000) with the Constitution is substantiated by the following arguments.

After establishing the conditions of the participation of lists of candidates in the distribution of mandates of Members of the Seimas in a multi-member constituency, the impugned legal regulation denies the essence of the system of proportional representation and precludes smaller or medium-sized parties (candidates nominated by them) from the participation in elections to the Seimas; candidates nominated by bigger political parties have more possibilities of receiving mandates of Members of the Seimas, the votes cast by voters for smaller parties are lost and the voters who cast these votes are not represented.

II

In the course of the preparation of the case for the Constitutional Court hearing written explanations were received from the representatives of the Seimas, the party concerned, who were R. Žemaitaitis, a Member of the Seimas, and O. Buišienė, a senior adviser of the Public Law Unit of the Legal Department of the Office of the Seimas.

  1. The position of the Member of the Seimas R. Žemaitaitis, a representative of the Seimas, the party concerned (in the parts of the case subsequent to petitions Nos. 1B-22/2010 and 1B-38/2010 of the petitioners) is substantiated by the following arguments.

The election deposit is paid as a guarantee that a candidate will indeed participate in an election and by means of it assurance is sought of firmness of the candidate’s self-obligations to participate in a political campaign. The conduct of a political campaign and organisation of an election involve the use of state funds. The institute of the election deposit helps to ensure that these funds are used rationally and effectively.

The legislator has discretion to set the amount of the election deposit. On the other hand, the amount of the election deposit must be such that would enable to achieve the objectives of the election deposit, but which would also correspond to the level of economic welfare of society and would not create any preconditions to limit the possibilities of exercising the passive electoral right guaranteed by the Constitution.

The legal regulation of refunding of the election deposit has been essentially changed. The previously valid legal regulation, under which it was established that the election deposit is refunded only in the cases where a candidate is elected or a list of candidates acquires the right to participate in the distribution of mandates, used to be defective and did not conform to the concept of deposit, which implies that by means of the deposit one ensures that the person will carry out certain actions or will refrain from certain actions, although the person’s election does not depend only upon his actions or inaction.

  1. In the written explanations of the senior adviser of the Public Law Unit of the Legal Department of the Office of the Seimas O. Buišienė, a representative of the Seimas, the party concerned (in the part of the case subsequent to petition No. 1B-22/2010 of a petitioner), it is maintained that the impugned legal regulation, which is established in Paragraph 2 of Article 36 of the Law on Presidential Elections (wording of 12 June 2008), Items 5 and 7 of Paragraph 1 and Items 2 and 3 of Paragraph 2 of Article 38 (wording of 15 April 2008) of the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000) and Items 4 and 6 of Paragraph 1 of Article 37 (wording 8 May 2008) of the Law on Elections to the European Parliament, is not in conflict with the Constitution. The position of the representative of the party concerned is substantiated by the following arguments.

2.1. The impugned legal regulation, which consolidates the requirement to submit the document confirming the payment of the election deposit, is in line with the provision of the official constitutional doctrine that the election is a responsible political process, therefore, the requirement that aspirants for members of parliament prove to have a certain political support of society and/or guarantee the validity of their intentions by a certain (reasonable) financial obligation, is recognised as valid one. The said doctrinal provision is also applicable to the legal regulation of elections of the head of the state—President of the Republic.

The representative of the party concerned draws attention to the legal regulation of electoral relations that is established in other European states and which consolidates the requirement to pay the election deposit when one stands as a candidate in elections to the national parliament and/or the European Parliament (Ireland, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, the United Kingdom, Latvia, the Netherlands, Romania, etc.) as well as in elections of President of the State (Bulgaria).

2.2. The representative of the party concerned also points out that the relations of refunding of the election deposit to the person who has paid that deposit, which are regulated by the impugned provisions, are not identical with the relations of ownership, since the election deposit is a condition for implementing the person’s subjective right to strive to be elected. The Constitution does not guarantee for the person that he will be elected to a political representative institution (the Seimas or the European Parliament) or as President of the Republic, but it guarantees the right to strive to be elected. The person’s decision to stand as a candidate in an election—among other things, confirmed by paying the election deposit of the amount set by the law—means that the person is ex ante aware that the election deposit paid by him will be not refunded to him if the conditions for refunding, which are established in laws, are not fulfilled. Thus, the provisions impugned by the petitioner do not regulate relations of ownership; therefore, they are not in conflict with Article 23 of the Constitution.

2.3. In the explanations of the representative of the party concerned it is noted that the organisation and conduct of elections are related with certain expenditure and are financed from public funds of the state. The state can take on the whole financial burden of organisation and conduct of elections or it can place that burden (certain part thereof) on participants of political campaigns and establish for them, by laws, a certain financial obligation—to pay the election deposit. In that case, one makes a financial contribution to the compensation of the expenditure on organising and conducting elections, moreover, funds of the state budget are allocated for funding the activity of the political parties that are participants of all electoral political campaigns.

The representative of the party concerned draws attention to the legal regulation of electoral relations established in other European states, under which the conditions for refunding the election deposit are related to the amount of votes received by candidates (lists of candidates) or to their election (Ireland, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, the United Kingdom, Latvia, the Netherlands, Romania).

2.4. The purpose of the impugned legal regulation, which consolidates the requirements to submit to electoral commissions, among other things, the extracts of the basic data of income and property declarations of candidates as well as declarations of private interests, is to ensure that voters, while deciding on the suitability of the person to be a member of a political representative institution (the Seimas, the European Parliament), would receive the information about the candidates that might be significant to them. The said requirements established in laws arise from the striving of an open, just and harmonious civil society as well as the constitutional right entrenched in Article 25 of the Constitution to receive information, which is an important precondition for implementing various rights and freedoms of the person enshrined in the Constitution, including the electoral right. The impugned legal regulation creates preconditions for voters to ascertain that the activity of the persons who are being elected by them will be grounded upon the values enshrined in the Constitution, that all the decisions by these persons will be made in the interests of the state and that these persons will avoid conflicts of public and private interests. Thus, the impugned provisions of Item 5 of Paragraph 1 and Item 2 of Paragraph 2 of Article 38 of the Law on Elections to the Seimas and Item 4 of Paragraph 1 of Article 37 of the Law on Elections to the European Parliament do not deviate from the constitutional concept of elections to political representative institutions.

III

In the course of the preparation of the case for the Constitutional Court hearing the specialist Zenonas Vaigauskas, Chairman of the Central Electoral Commission of the Republic of Lithuania, provided his explanations and answered the questions of the justices.

IV

  1. At the Constitutional Court hearing the representatives of the groups of Members of the Seimas, the petitioners, who were V. P. Andriukaitis, a Member of the Seimas, and G. Kaminskas, an advocate (the representatives of a group of Members of the Seimas, a petitioner, in the part of the case subsequent to petition No. 1B-22/2010 of this petitioner) and V. Žiemelis, a Member of the Seimas (the representative of a group of Members of the Seimas, a petitioner, in the part of the case subsequent to petition No. 1B-38/2010 of this petitioner) virtually reiterated the arguments set forth in the petitions of the petitioners and answered the questions of justices of the Constitutional Court.
  2. At the Constitutional Court hearing the representatives of the Seimas, the party concerned, who were R. Žemaitaitis, a Member of the Seimas (the representative of the Seimas, the party concerned in the parts of the case subsequent to petitions Nos. 1B-22/2010 and 1B-38/2010 of the petitioners), and O. Buišienė, a senior adviser of the Public Law Unit of the Legal Department of the Office of the Seimas (the representative of the Seimas, the party concerned, in the part of the case subsequent to petition No. 1B-22/2010 of the petitioner) virtually reiterated the arguments set forth in their written explanations and answered the questions of justices of the Constitutional Court.
  3. At the Constitutional Court hearing Lina Petronienė, a specialist of the Unit of Control over Funding of Political Parties and Political Campaigns of the Secretariat of the Central Electoral Commission, also spoke and answered the questions of the justices.

The Constitutional Court

holds that:

I

  1. A group of Members of the Seimas, a petitioner (petition No. 1B-22/2010), requests investigation into whether inter alia Article 41 (wording of 15 April 2008) of the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000) and Article 40 of the Law on Elections to the European Parliament are not in conflict with the provision of Article 1 of the Constitution that the State of Lithuania is an independent democratic republic, also the provision of Paragraph 1 of Article 6 thereof that the Constitution is a directly applicable act, Paragraph 1 of Article 7, Article 23 and Paragraph 1 of Article 33 thereof, as well as with the constitutional principles of a state under the rule of law and the supremacy of the Constitution.

Although the group of Members of the Seimas, a petitioner (petition No. 1B-22/2010), requests to investigate the compliance of the entire Article 41 (wording of 15 April 2008) of the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000), as well as the entire Article 40 of the Law on Elections to the European Parliament, with the Constitution, from the petition it is clear that the petitioner doubts whether Paragraph 4 of Article 41 (wording of 15 April 2008) of the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000) and Paragraph 3 of Article 40 of the Law on Elections to the European Parliament are not in conflict with the Constitution.

A group of Members of the Seimas, a petitioner (petition No. 1B-38/2010), requests investigation into whether inter alia Paragraph 4 of Article 41 (wording of 15 April 2008) of the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000), Paragraph 3 of Article 40 of the Law on Elections to the European Parliament and Paragraph 4 of Article 38 of the Law on Elections to Municipal Councils (wording of 21 December 2006) are not in conflict with the provision of Article 1 of the Constitution that the State of Lithuania is an independent democratic republic, also the provision of Paragraph 1 of Article 6 thereof that the Constitution is a directly applicable act, Paragraph 1 of Article 7, Article 23 and Paragraph 1 of Article 29 thereof, as well as with the constitutional principles of a state under the rule of law and the supremacy of the Constitution.

1.1. Paragraph 4 of Article 41 (wording of 15 April 2008) of the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000) prescribed:

“Within 40 days following the announcement of the final election results, the Central Electoral Commission shall refund the election deposit to the party or the person who has paid it, if:

1) the nominated candidate for a Member of the Seimas or the person who has nominated himself as a candidate for a Member of the Seimas is elected as a Member of the Seimas in a single-member constituency;

2) the list (joint list) of nominated candidates becomes eligible for distribution of mandates in a multi-member constituency and the report on the sources of the funds and the use thereof for electoral campaigning, which must be published pursuant to this Law, has been published in the press.”

Thus, the impugned Paragraph 4 of Article 41 (wording of 15 April 2008) of the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000) inter alia established the conditions that the election deposit is refunded if the candidate is elected as a Member of the Seimas in a single-member constituency, and if the list (joint list) of nominated candidates becomes eligible for distribution of mandates in a multi-member constituency, i.e. the refunding of the election deposit was related to the election results.

1.2. On 18 May 2010, the Seimas adopted the Republic of Lithuania Law on Amending Articles 38, 39, 41, 45, 46, 48, 49, 50, 51, 52 and 53 of the Law on Elections to the Seimas, which came into force on 15 September 2010. Paragraph 3 of this Law amended Article 41 (wording of 15 April 2008) of the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000) and set it forth in a new wording.

1.3. Article 41 (wording of 18 May 2010) of the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000) inter alia prescribes:

“4. When application documents are submitted belatedly or the announcement of the joint list of candidates of the political party or the coalition of parties is revoked, or the registration of the candidate is cancelled, or the person is not registered as a candidate for a Member of the Seimas on the grounds specified in Paragraph 6 of Article 39 of this Law, the election deposit shall be not refunded.

  1. Upon the expiry of the period of political campaign, the Central Electoral Commission shall, within 40 days, refund the election deposit to the party or the person who has paid it if the relevant report on the funding of political campaign has been submitted.”

After comparing the impugned legal regulation established in Paragraph 4 of Article 41 (wording of 15 April 2008) of the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000) with the one established in Paragraphs 4 and 5 of Article 41 (wording of 18 May 2010) of the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000), it is clear that the legal regulation has essentially changed in the aspect impugned by the petitioners: the refunding of the election deposit is no longer related to the election results (the election of the candidate in a single-member constituency or the eligibility of the list (joint list) of candidates for distribution of mandates in a multi-member constituency).

1.4. Thus, the legal regulation impugned by the petitioners, which established the conditions that the election deposit is refunded if the candidate is elected as a Member of the Seimas in a single-member electoral constituency, and if the list (joint list) of candidates becomes eligible for distribution of mandates in a multi-member electoral constituency, no longer exists.

1.5. Paragraph 3 of Article 40 of the Law on Elections to the European Parliament prescribed: “Within 40 days following the announcement of the final election results, the Central Electoral Commission shall refund the election deposit to the party which has paid it if the list (joint list) of nominated candidates becomes eligible for distribution of mandates and the party has submitted the report on the sources of the funds and the use thereof for electoral campaigning.”

Thus, the impugned Paragraph 3 of Article 40 of the Law on Elections to the European Parliament inter alia established the condition that the election deposit is refunded if the list (joint list) of candidates becomes eligible for distribution of mandates, i.e. the refunding of the election deposit was related to the election results.

1.6. On 18 May 2010, the Seimas adopted the Republic of Lithuania Law on Amending Articles 37, 38, 40, 44, 45, 47, 48, 49, 50 and 51 of the Law on Elections to the European Parliament, which came into force on 15 September 2010. Article 3 of this law amended Article 40 of the Law on Elections to the European Parliament and set it forth in a new wording.

1.7. Article 40 (wording of 18 May 2010) of the Law on Elections to the European Parliament inter alia prescribes:

“3. Upon the expiry of the period of political campaign, the Central Electoral Commission shall, within 40 days, refund the election deposit to the party which has furnished it provided that the party has submitted a report on the funding of political campaign.

  1. When application documents are submitted belatedly or the announcement of the joint list of candidates of the political party or the coalition of parties is revoked, or the registration of the candidate is cancelled, or the person is not registered as a candidate for a Member of the European Parliament on the grounds specified in Paragraph 5 of Article 38 of this Law, the election deposit shall be not refunded.”

After comparing the impugned legal regulation established in Paragraph 3 of Article 40 of the Law on Elections to the European Parliament with that established in Paragraphs 3 and 4 of Article 40 (wording of 18 May 2010) of the Law on Elections to the European Parliament, it is clear that the legal regulation has essentially changed in the aspect impugned by the petitioners: the refunding of the election deposit is no longer related to the election results (the eligibility of the list (joint list) of candidates for distribution of mandates).

1.8. Thus, the legal regulation impugned by the petitioners, which established the condition that the election deposit is refunded if the list (joint list) of candidates becomes eligible for distribution of mandates, no longer exists.

1.9. Paragraph 4 of Article 38 of the Law on Elections to Municipal Councils (wording of 21 December 2006) prescribed: “Within 40 days following the announcement of the final election results, the Central Electoral Commission shall refund the electoral deposit to the party or the person who has paid it if the list (joint list) of candidates for members of the municipal council nominated by the party becomes eligible for distribution of mandates in a multi-member constituency and the report on the sources of the funds and the use thereof for electoral campaigning, which must be announced pursuant to this Law, has been published in the press.”

Thus, the impugned Paragraph 4 of Article 38 of the Law on Elections to Municipal Councils (wording of 21 December 2006) inter alia established the condition that the election deposit is refunded if the list (joint list) of candidates becomes eligible for distribution of mandates, i.e. the refunding of the election deposit was related to the election results.

1.10. On 30 June 2010, the Seimas adopted the Law on Amending the Law on Elections to Municipal Councils, which came into force on 20 July 2010. This law amended the Law on Elections to Municipal Councils (wording of 21 December 2006 with subsequent amendments and supplements) and set it forth in a new wording.

1.11. Article 38 of the Law on Elections to Municipal Councils (wording of 30 June 2010) inter alia prescribes:

“4. Upon the expiry of the period of political campaign, the Central Electoral Commission shall refund the election deposits to the parties or the self-nominated candidates who have paid them provided that the reports on the funding of their political campaign have been submitted.

  1. Where the registration of the candidate is cancelled or the announcement of the list (joint list) of candidates of the party is revoked on the grounds referred to in Paragraph 6 of Article 36 of this Law or where the list (joint list) of candidates is not registered because of the belatedly submitted application documents, the election deposit shall be not refunded.”

After comparing the impugned legal regulation established in Paragraph 4 of Article 38 of the Law on Elections to Municipal Councils (wording of 21 December 2006) with that established in Paragraphs 4 and 5 of Article 38 of the Law on Elections to Municipal Councils (wording of 30 June 2010), it is clear that the legal regulation has essentially changed in the aspect impugned by the petitioners: the refunding of the election deposit is no longer related to the election results (the eligibility of the list (joint list) of candidates for distribution of mandates).

1.12. Thus, the legal regulation impugned by the petitioners, which established the condition that the election deposit is refunded if the list (joint list) of candidates becomes eligible for distribution of mandates, no longer exists.

1.13. Paragraph 4 of Article 69 of the Law on the Constitutional Court provides that the annulment of the impugned legal act shall be grounds to adopt a decision to dismiss the instituted legal proceedings.

In its acts the Constitutional Court has held more than once that the formula “shall be grounds <...> to dismiss the instituted legal proceedings” of Paragraph 4 of Article 69 of the Law on the Constitutional Court is to be construed as establishing the powers of the Constitutional Court, in cases when not courts, but other subjects specified in Article 106 of the Constitution apply to the Constitutional Court, to dismiss the instituted legal proceedings upon taking account of the circumstances of the case at issue. The Constitutional Court has also held that the same can be said as regards the cases when the impugned legal act (part thereof) was not repealed, however, the legal regulation established therein was changed (Constitutional Court ruling of 4 March 2003, decision of 14 March 2006, rulings of 30 March 2006, 14 April 2006 and 21 September 2006, decision of 28 May 2007, rulings of 22 June 2009, 31 March 2010, 28 May 2010 and 29 September 2010).

1.14. Taking account of the arguments set forth, one is to dismiss the part of the constitutional justice case at issue subsequent to the petitions of the groups of Members of the Seimas, the petitioners, requesting to investigate whether:

– Paragraph 4 of Article 41 (wording of 15 April 2008) of the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000) and Paragraph 3 of Article 40 of the Law on Elections to the European Parliament were not in conflict with the provision of Article 1 of the Constitution that the State of Lithuania is an independent democratic republic, also the provision of Paragraph 1 of Article 6 thereof that the Constitution is a directly applicable act, Paragraph 1 of Article 7, Article 23 and Paragraph 1 of Article 33 thereof, as well as with the constitutional principles of a state under the rule of law and the supremacy of the Constitution (petitions Nos. 1B-22/2010 and 1B-38/2010);

– Paragraph 4 of Article 38 of the Law on Elections to Municipal Councils (wording of 21 December 2006) was not in conflict with the provision of Article 1 of the Constitution that the State of Lithuania is an independent democratic republic, also the provision of Paragraph 1 of Article 6 thereof that the Constitution is a directly applicable act, Paragraph 1 of Article 7, Article 23 and Paragraph 1 of Article 29 thereof, as well as with the constitutional principles of a state under the rule of law and the supremacy of the Constitution (petition No. 1B-38/2010).

  1. Although the groups of Members of the Seimas, the petitioners (petitions Nos. 1B-22/2010 and 1B-38/2010), request investigation into whether inter alia Item 9 of Paragraph 1 of Article 38 (wording of 15 April 2008) of the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000) and Item 8 of Paragraph 1 of Article 37 (wording of 8 May 2008) of the Law on Elections to the European Parliament are not in conflict with the provision of Article 1 of the Constitution that the State of Lithuania is an independent democratic republic, also the provision of Paragraph 1 of Article 6 thereof that the Constitution is a directly applicable act, Paragraph 1 of Article 7, Article 23 and Paragraph 1 of Article 33 thereof, as well as with the constitutional principles of a state under the rule of law and the supremacy of the Constitution, and a group of Members of the Seimas, a petitioner (petition No. 1B-38/2010), also requests investigation into whether inter alia Item 6 of Paragraph 1 of Article 35 of the Law on Elections to Municipal Councils (wording of 21 December 2006) is not in conflict with the aforesaid provisions of the Constitution, from the petitions it is clear that the petitioners doubt whether Item 9 of Paragraph 1 of Article 38 (wording of 15 April 2008) of the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000), Item 8 of Paragraph 1 of Article 37 (wording of 8 May 2008) of the Law on Elections to the European Parliament and Item 6 of Paragraph 1 of Article 35 of the Law on Elections to Municipal Councils (wording of 21 December 2006), insofar as it is prescribed therein that a political party must file a copy of the declaration of its last year’s financial activities, are not in conflict with the Constitution.

2.1. Item 9 of Paragraph 1 of Article 38 “Application Documents for the Nomination of Candidates” (wording of 15 April 2008) of the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000) prescribed: “A party must file with the Central Electoral Commission the following application documents: <...> 9) a copy of the declaration of the last year’s financial activities, which had to be submitted to the tax inspectorate pursuant to the Law on Political Parties, approved by this inspectorate, and they may also submit a copy of the account (report), which had to be publicly announced according to the Law on Political Parties, on the budget receipts and their sources, expenditures and their purpose.”

Thus, the impugned legal regulation established in Item 9 of Paragraph 1 of Article 38 (wording of 15 April 2008) of the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000) consolidated the requirement that a party, when submitting the application documents of nominated candidates for Members of the Seimas, must file a copy of the declaration of its last year’s financial activities.

2.2. It has been mentioned that, on 18 May 2010, the Seimas adopted the Law on Amending Articles 38, 39, 41, 45, 46, 48, 49, 50, 51, 52 and 53 of the Law on Elections to the Seimas, which came into force on 15 September 2010. By Article 1 of this law inter alia Item 9 of Paragraph 1 of Article 38 (wording of 15 April 2008) of the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000) was recognised as no longer valid.

2.3. Thus, the legal regulation impugned by the petitioners, which consolidated the requirement that a party, when submitting the application documents of nominated candidates for Members of the Seimas, must file a copy of the declaration of its last year’s financial activities, no longer exists.

2.4. Item 8 of Paragraph 1 of Article 37 “Application Documents for the Nomination of Candidates” (wording of 8 May 2008) of the Law on Elections to the European Parliament prescribed: “A party must file with the Central Electoral Commission the following application documents: <...> 8) a copy of the declaration of the last year’s financial activities, which had to be submitted to the tax inspectorate pursuant to the Law on Political Parties, approved by this inspectorate, and information about the funds received during the period from 1 January of the current year till the first day of the month when the documents were submitted as well as information about the funds in hand and in the current account (accounts) of the party. In addition, they may submit a copy of the account (report), which had to be publicly announced according to the Law on Political Parties, on the budget receipts and their sources and expenditures.”

Thus, the impugned legal regulation established in Item 8 of Paragraph 1 of Article 37 (wording of 8 May 2008) of the Law on Elections to the European Parliament consolidated the requirement that a political party, when submitting the application documents for nomination of candidates for Members of the European Parliament, must file a copy of the declaration of its last year’s financial activities.

2.5. It has been mentioned that, on 18 May 2010, the Seimas adopted the Law on Amending Articles 37, 38, 40, 44, 45, 47, 48, 49, 50 and 51 of the Law on Elections to the European Parliament, which came into force on 15 September 2010. Article 1 of this law amended inter alia Item 8 of Paragraph 1 of Article 37 (wording of 8 May 2008) of the Law on Elections to the European Parliament and set it forth in a new wording.

2.6. Item 8 of Paragraph 1 of Article 37 (wording of 8 May 2010) of the Law on Elections to the European Parliament prescribes: “A party must file with the Central Electoral Commission the following application documents: <...> 8) information about the funds received during the period from 1 January of the current year till the first day of the month when the documents were submitted as well as information about the funds in hand and in the current account (accounts) of the political party.”

After comparing the legal regulation established in Item 8 of Paragraph 1 of Article 37 (wording of 8 May 2008) of the Law on Elections to the European Parliament with the one established in Item 8 of Paragraph 1 of Article 37 (wording of 8 May 2010) of the Law on Elections to the European Parliament, it is clear that the legal regulation impugned by the petitioners, which consolidated the requirement that a political party, when submitting the application documents for nomination of candidates for Members of the European Parliament, must file a copy of the declaration of its last year’s financial activities, no longer exists.

2.7. Item 6 of Paragraph 1 of Article of 35 “Application Documents for the Nomination of Candidates for Members of Municipal Councils” of the Law on Elections to Municipal Councils (wording of 21 December 2006) prescribed: “A party must file with the Central Electoral Commission the following application documents: <...> 6) a copy of the declaration of the last year’s financial activities, which had to be submitted to the tax inspectorate pursuant to the Law on Political Parties, approved by this inspectorate, and it may also submit a copy of the account (report), which had to be publicly announced according to the Law on Political Parties, on its budget receipts and their sources, expenditures and their purpose.”

Thus, the impugned legal regulation established in Item 6 of Paragraph 1 of Article 35 of the Law on Elections to Municipal Councils (wording of 21 December 2006) consolidated the requirement that a political party, when submitting the application documents for nomination of candidates for members of municipal councils, must file a copy of the declaration of its last year’s financial activities.

2.8. It has been mentioned that, on 30 June 2010, the Seimas adopted the Republic of Lithuania Law on Amending the Law on Elections to Municipal Councils, by means of which the Law on Elections to Municipal Councils (wording of 21 December 2006 with subsequent amendments and supplements) was amended and set forth in a new wording.

2.9. It needs to be noted that neither Article 35 of the Law on Elections to Municipal Councils (wording of 30 June 2010), which regulates the submission of the application documents of candidates for members of municipal councils, nor other articles of this law consolidate the requirement that a political party, when submitting the application documents for nomination of candidates for members of municipal councils, must file a copy of the declaration of its last year’s financial activities.

2.10. Thus, the legal regulation impugned by the petitioners, which consolidated the requirement that a political party, when submitting the application documents for nomination of candidates for members of municipal councils, must file a copy of the declaration of its last year’s financial activities, no longer exists.

2.11. Paragraph 4 of Article 69 of the Law on the Constitutional Court provides that the annulment of the impugned legal act shall be grounds to adopt a decision to dismiss the instituted legal proceedings.

It has been mentioned that in its acts the Constitutional Court has held more than once that the formula “shall be grounds <...> to dismiss the instituted legal proceedings” of Paragraph 4 of Article 69 of the Law on the Constitutional Court is to be construed as establishing the powers of the Constitutional Court, in cases when not courts, but other subjects specified in Article 106 of the Constitution apply to the Constitutional Court, to dismiss the instituted legal proceedings upon taking account of the circumstances of the case at issue. The Constitutional Court has also held that the same can be said as regards the cases when the impugned legal act (part thereof) was not repealed, however, the legal regulation established therein was changed.

2.12. Taking account of the arguments set forth, one is to dismiss the part of the constitutional justice case at issue subsequent to the petitions of the groups of Members of the Seimas, the petitioners, requesting to investigate whether:

– Item 9 of Paragraph 1 of Article 38 (wording of 15 April 2008) of the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000) and Item 8 of Paragraph 1 of Article 37 (wording of 8 May 2008) of the Law on Elections to the European Parliament, insofar as it was prescribed therein that a political party must file a copy of the declaration of its last year’s financial activities, were not in conflict with the provision of Article 1 of the Constitution that the State of Lithuania is an independent democratic republic, also the provision of Paragraph 1 of Article 6 thereof that the Constitution is a directly applicable act, Paragraph 1 of Article 7, Article 23 and Paragraph 1 of Article 33 thereof, as well as with the constitutional principles of a state under the rule of law and the supremacy of the Constitution (petitions Nos. 1B-22/2010 and 1B-38/2010);

– Item 6 of Paragraph 1 of Article 35 of the Law on Elections to Municipal Councils (wording of 21 December 2006), insofar as it prescribed that a political party must file a copy of the declaration of its last year’s financial activities, was not in conflict with the provision of Article 1 of the Constitution that the State of Lithuania is an independent democratic republic, also the provision of Paragraph 1 of Article 6 thereof that the Constitution is a directly applicable act, Paragraph 1 of Article 7, Article 23 and Paragraph 1 of Article 33 thereof, as well as with the constitutional principles of a state under the rule of law and the supremacy of the Constitution (petition No. 1B-38/2010).

  1. A group of Members of the Seimas, a petitioner (petition No. 1B-22/2010), requests investigation into whether a provision of Paragraph 2 of Article 36 of the Law on Presidential Elections (wording of 12 June 2008), Items 5 and 7 of Paragraph 1 and Items 2 and 3 of Paragraph 2 of Article 38 (wording of 15 April 2008) of the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000), Items 4 and 6 of Paragraph 1 of Article 37 (wording of 8 May 2008) of the Law on Elections to the European Parliament, Paragraph 18 of Article 2 (wording of 10 June 2008), Paragraphs 2, 3, 4 and 5 of Article 5 and a provision of Article 20 of the Law on Funding of, and Control Over Funding of, Political Parties and Political Campaigns, and a group of Members of the Seimas, a petitioner (petition No. 1B-38/2010), requests investigation into whether Paragraph 2 of Article 36 of the Law on Presidential Elections (wording of 12 June 2008), Items 5 and 7 of Paragraph 1 and Items 2 and 3 of Paragraph 2 of Article 38 (wording of 15 April 2008) of the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000), Items 4 and 6 of Paragraph 1 of Article 37 (wording of 8 May 2008) of the Law on Elections to the European Parliament, Item 5 of Paragraph 1 of Article 35 of the Law on Elections to Municipal Councils (wording of 21 December 2006) and Paragraph 18 of Article 2 (wording of 10 June 2008), Paragraphs 2, 3, 4 and 5 of Article 5, Paragraph 3 of Article 13 and Article 20 of the Law on Funding of, and Control Over Funding of, Political Parties and Political Campaigns, are not in conflict with inter alia the constitutional principles of a state under the rule of law and the supremacy of the Constitution.

The Constitutional Court has held more than once that the principle of the supremacy of the Constitution, which is enshrined in the Constitution, is inseparably linked with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law, which is a universal constitutional principle upon which the entire Lithuanian legal system and the Constitution itself are based; violation of the principle of the supremacy of the Constitution would mean that the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law is violated as well (Constitutional Court rulings of 24 December 2002, 29 October 2003, 5 March 2004 and 20 March 2007).

Thus, the petitions of the petitioners requesting to investigate the compliance of the indicated provisions with inter alia the constitutional principles of a state under the rule of law and the supremacy of the Constitution are to be treated as the petitions requesting to investigate the compliance of the said provisions with inter alia the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

  1. The groups of Members of the Seimas, the petitioners, doubt regarding inter alia the compliance of the certain provisions of the Law on Presidential Elections (wording of 12 June 2008), the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000), the Law on Elections to the European Parliament and the Law on Elections to Municipal Councils (wording of 21 December 2006), which regulate the relations connected with the election deposit, with the Constitution.

4.1. Although a group of Members of the Seimas, a petitioner (petition No. 1B-22/2010), requests investigation into whether inter alia the provision “An aspirant to become a candidate for President of the Republic must arrive and submit to the Central Electoral Commission <...> a document attesting to the payment of a deposit amounting to 5 most recent average monthly work remunerations (hereinafter referred to as the AMWR) in the national economy. After the election deposit shall be refunded to the person who has paid it provided that the candidate for President of the Republic has received more than 7 per cent of votes cast by the voters who participated in the election” of Paragraph 2 of Article 36 of the Law on Presidential Elections (wording of 12 June 2008) is not in conflict with the provision of Article 1 of the Constitution that the State of Lithuania is an independent democratic republic, also the provision of Paragraph 1 of Article 6 thereof that the Constitution is a directly applicable act, Paragraph 1 of Article 7, Article 23 and Paragraph 1 of Article 33 thereof, as well as with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law, and a group of Members of the Seimas, a petitioner (petition No. 1B-38/2010), requests investigation into whether Paragraph 2 of Article 36 of the Law on Presidential Elections (wording of 12 June 2008) is not in conflict with the provision of Article 1 of the Constitution that the State of Lithuania is an independent democratic republic, also the provision of Paragraph 1 of Article 6 thereof that the Constitution is a directly applicable act, Paragraph 1 of Article 7, Article 23 and Paragraph 1 of Article 29 thereof, as well as with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law, from the petitions of the petitioners it is clear that the petitioners doubt whether Paragraph 2 of Article 36 of the Law on Presidential Elections (wording of 12 June 2008), insofar as it prescribes the requirement to submit a document attesting to the payment of a deposit amounting to 5 most recent average monthly work remunerations (hereinafter referred to as the AMWR) in the national economy, as well as insofar as it prescribes that after the election deposit is refunded to the person who has paid it provided that the candidate for President of the Republic has received more than 7 per cent of votes cast by the voters who participated in the election, is not in conflict with the Constitution.

4.2. Although the groups of Members of the Seimas, the petitioners, request investigation into whether inter alia Item 7 of Paragraph 1 and Item 3 of Paragraph 2 of Article 38 of the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000) and Item 6 of Paragraph 1 of Article 37 of the Law on Elections to the European Parliament are not in conflict with the provision of Article 1 of the Constitution that the State of Lithuania is an independent democratic republic, also the provision of Paragraph 1 of Article 6 thereof that the Constitution is a directly applicable act, Paragraph 1 of Article 7, Article 23 and Paragraph 1 of Article 33 thereof, as well as with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law, from the petitions of the petitioners it is clear that the petitioners doubt whether Item 7 of Paragraph 1 and Item 3 of Paragraph 2 of Article 38 of the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000) and Item 6 of Paragraph 1 of Article 37 of the Law on Elections to the European Parliament, insofar as they prescribe the requirement to file (submit) a document attesting to the payment of the election deposit, are not in conflict with the Constitution.

4.3. Although a group of Members of the Seimas, a petitioner (petition No. 1B-38/2010), requests investigation into whether Item 5 of Paragraph 1 of Article 35 of the Law on Elections to Municipal Councils (wording of 21 December 2006) is not in conflict with the provision of Article 1 of the Constitution that the State of Lithuania is an independent democratic republic, also the provision of Paragraph 1 of Article 6 thereof that the Constitution is a directly applicable act, Paragraph 1 of Article 7, Article 23 and Paragraph 1 of Article 33 thereof, as well as with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law, from the petition of the petitioner it is clear that the petitioner doubts regarding the compliance of Item 5 of Paragraph 1 of Article 35 of the Law on Elections to Municipal Councils (wording of 21 December 2006), insofar as it prescribes the requirement to file a document attesting to the payment of the election deposit, with the Constitution.

It has been mentioned that, on 30 June 2010, the Seimas adopted the Law on Amending the Law on Elections to Municipal Councils, which came into force on 20 July 2010. This Law amended the Law on Elections to Municipal Councils (wording of 21 December 2006 with subsequent amendments and supplements) and set it forth in a new wording.

Thus, the petitioner requests investigation into whether Item 5 of Paragraph 1 of Article 35 of the Law on Elections to Municipal Councils (wording of 21 December 2006), insofar as it prescribed the requirement to file a document attesting to the payment of the election deposit, was not in conflict with the Constitution.

4.4. Although a group of Members of the Seimas, a petitioner (petition No. 1B-38/2010), requests investigation into whether Paragraph 2 (to the specified extent) of Article 36 of the Law on Presidential Elections (wording of 12 June 2008) is not in conflict with the provision of Article 1 of the Constitution that the State of Lithuania is an independent democratic republic, also the provision of Paragraph 1 of Article 6 thereof that the Constitution is a directly applicable act, Paragraph 1 of Article 7, Article 23 and Paragraph 1 of Article 29 thereof, as well as with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law, and whether Item 7 of Paragraph 1 and Item 3 of Paragraph 2 of Article 38 of the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000), Item 6 of Paragraph 1 of Article 37 of the Law on Elections to the European Parliament and Item 5 of Paragraph 1 of Article 35 of the Law on Elections to Municipal Councils (wording of 21 December 2006) are not in conflict with the provision of Article 1 of the Constitution that the State of Lithuania is an independent democratic republic, also the provision of Paragraph 1 of Article 6 thereof that the Constitution is a directly applicable act, Paragraph 1 of Article 7, Article 23 and Paragraph 1 of Article 33 thereof, as well as with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law, from the arguments set forth in the petition of the petitioner it is clear that the petitioner also doubts regarding the compliance of Item 7 of Paragraph 1 and Item 3 of Paragraph 2 of Article 38 of the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000), Item 6 of Paragraph 1 of Article 37 of the Law on Elections to the European Parliament and Item 5 of Paragraph 1 of Article 35 of the Law on Elections to Municipal Councils (wording of 21 December 2006) with Paragraph 1 of Article 29 of the Constitution.

  1. The groups of Members of the Seimas, the petitioners, doubt inter alia regarding the compliance of the provisions of the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000) and the Law on Elections to the European Parliament, which regulate the relations connected with the declaration of property, income, and private interests of candidates for Members of the Seimas and Members of the European Parliament, with the Constitution.

Although the groups of Members of the Seimas, the petitioners, request investigation into whether Item 5 (wording of 15 April 2008) of Paragraph 1 and Item 2 (wording of 15 April 2008) of Paragraph 2 of Article 38 of the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000) and Item 4 (wording of 8 May 2008) of Paragraph 1 of Article 37 of the Law on Elections to the European Parliament are not in conflict with the provision of Article 1 of the Constitution that the State of Lithuania is an independent democratic republic, also the provision of Paragraph 1 of Article 6 thereof that the Constitution is a directly applicable act, Paragraph 1 of Article 7, Article 23 and Paragraph 1 of Article 33 thereof, as well as with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law, from the petitions of the petitioners it is clear that the petitioners doubt whether Item 5 (wording of 15 April 2008) of Paragraph 1 and Item 2 (wording of 15 April 2008) of Paragraph 2 of Article 38 of the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000) and Item 4 (wording of 8 May 2008) of Paragraph 1 of Article 37 of the Law on Elections to the European Parliament, insofar as they prescribe the requirement to file (submit) the extracts of the basic data of income and property declarations of candidates as well as the declarations of private interests of candidates, are not in conflict with the provision of Article 1 of the Constitution that the State of Lithuania is an independent democratic republic, also the provision of Paragraph 1 of Article 6 thereof that the Constitution is a directly applicable act, Paragraph 1 of Article 7 and Paragraph 1 of Article 33 thereof, as well as with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

  1. The groups of Members of the Seimas, the petitioners, doubt inter alia regarding the compliance of the provisions of the Law on Funding of, and Control Over Funding of, Political Parties and Political Campaigns (wording of 23 August 2004), which are related to the requirement to conclude an agreement with the political campaign treasurer, with the Constitution.

6.1. Although a group of Members of the Seimas, a petitioner (petition No. 1B-22/2010), requests investigation into whether inter alia Paragraph 18 of Article 2 (wording of 10 June 2008) and Paragraphs 2, 3, 4 and 5 of Article 5 of the Law on Funding of, and Control Over Funding of, Political Parties and Political Campaigns as well as the provision of Article 20 thereof, which obligates an independent political campaign participant to have an agreement concluded with another person—the treasurer of the independent political campaign participant, are not in conflict with the provision of Article 1 of the Constitution that the State of Lithuania is an independent democratic republic, also the provision of Paragraph 1 of Article 6 thereof that the Constitution is a directly applicable act, Paragraph 1 of Article 7, Article 23 and Paragraph 1 of Article 33 thereof, as well as with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law, and a group of Members of the Seimas, a petitioner (petition No. 1B-38/2010), requests investigation into whether inter alia Paragraph 18 of Article 2 (wording of 10 June 2008), Paragraphs 2, 3, 4 and 5 of Article 5 as well as the provision of Article 20 the Law on Funding of, and Control Over Funding of, Political Parties and Political Campaigns are not in conflict with the aforesaid provisions of the Constitution, from the petitions of the petitioners it is clear that the petitioners doubt regarding the compliance of Paragraph 18 of Article 2 (wording of 10 June 2008), Paragraph 2, Items 2 and 4 of Paragraph 3 and Item 3 of Paragraph 4 of Article 5 and Paragraph 2 of Article 20 of the Law on Funding of, and Control Over Funding of, Political Parties and Political Campaigns (wording of 23 August 2004), insofar as it is prescribed therein that an independent political campaign participant must conclude the agreement with the political campaign treasurer, with the provision of Article 1 of the Constitution that the State of Lithuania is an independent democratic republic, also the provision of Paragraph 1 of Article 6 thereof that the Constitution is a directly applicable act, Paragraph 1 of Article 7 and Paragraph 1 of Article 33 thereof, as well as with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

6.2. On 18 May 2010, the Seimas adopted the Republic of Lithuania Law on Amending the Law on Funding of, and Control Over Funding of, Political Parties and Political Campaigns, which (with a certain exception) came into force on 15 September 2010. This law amended the Law on Funding of, and Control Over Funding of, Political Parties and Political Campaigns (wording of 23 August 2004 with subsequent amendments and supplements) and set it forth in a new wording.

Thus, the petitioners request investigation into whether inter alia Paragraph 18 of Article 2 (wording of 10 June 2008), Paragraph 2, Items 2 and 4 of Paragraph 3 and Item 3 of Paragraph 4 of Article 5 and Paragraph 2 of Article 20 of the Law on Funding of, and Control Over Funding of, Political Parties and Political Campaigns (wording of 23 August 2004), insofar as it was prescribed therein that an independent political campaign participant must conclude the agreement with the political campaign treasurer, were not in conflict with the provision of Article 1 of the Constitution that the State of Lithuania is an independent democratic republic, also the provision of Paragraph 1 of Article 6 thereof that the Constitution is a directly applicable act, Paragraph 1 of Article 7 and Paragraph 1 of Article 33 thereof, as well as with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

  1. Although a group of Members of the Seimas, a petitioner (petition No. 1B-38/2010), requests investigation into whether inter alia the provision “The list of candidates of a party may receive mandates of Members of the Seimas (takes part in the distribution of mandates) only if not less than 5 per cent of the voters participating in the elections have voted for it. The joint list of candidates, drawn up in accordance with Article 43 of this Law, may receive mandates of Members of the Seimas (takes part in the distribution of mandates) only if not less than 7 per cent of the voters participating in the election have voted for it” of Paragraph 2 of Article 89 of the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000) is not in conflict with, according to the petitioner, the essential principles of democratic elections entrenched in Article 4 and Paragraph 1 of Article 33 of the Constitution, as well as with the principles of universal, equal and direct suffrage entrenched in Paragraph 1 of Article 55 of the Constitution, from the petition of the petitioner it is clear that the petitioner doubts whether Paragraph 2 of Article 89 of the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000), insofar as it provides that the list of candidates of a party may receive mandates of Members of the Seimas (takes part in the distribution of mandates) only if not less than 5 per cent of the voters participating in the elections have voted for it, and the joint list of candidates—if not less than 7 per cent of the voters participating in the election have voted for it, is not in conflict with Article 4, Paragraph 1 of Article 33 and Paragraph 1 of Article 55 of the Constitution.
  2. Although a group of Members of the Seimas, a petitioner (petition No. 1B-38/2010), requests investigation into whether inter alia Paragraph 3 of Article 13 of the Law on Funding of, and Control Over Funding of, Political Parties and Political Campaigns is not in conflict with the provision of Article 1 of the Constitution that the State of Lithuania is an independent democratic republic, also the provision of Paragraph 1 of Article 6 thereof that the Constitution is a directly applicable act, Paragraph 1 of Article 7, Paragraph 1 of Article 29 and Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 34 thereof, as well as with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law, from the petition of the petitioner it is clear that the petitioner doubts whether Paragraph 3 of Article 13 of the Law on Funding of, and Control Over Funding of, Political Parties and Political Campaigns (wording of 23 August 2004), insofar as it provides that a state budget appropriation is distributed to those political parties that have received not less than 3 per cent of all the votes cast by the voters for the candidates of the political parties in those elections to the Seimas and municipal councils, according to the results of which that state budget appropriation is distributed, is not in conflict with the provision of Article 1 of the Constitution that the State of Lithuania is an independent democratic republic, also Paragraph 1 of Article 29 and Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 34 thereof, as well as with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

It has been mentioned that, on 18 May 2010, the Seimas adopted the Law on Amending the Law on Funding of, and Control Over Funding of, Political Parties and Political Campaigns, which (with a certain exception) came into force on 15 September 2010. This law amended the Law on Funding of, and Control Over Funding of, Political Parties and Political Campaigns (wording of 23 August 2004 with subsequent amendments and supplements) and set it forth in a new wording.

Thus, the petitioner requests investigation into whether Paragraph 3 of Article 13 of the Law on Funding of, and Control Over Funding of, Political Parties and Political Campaigns (wording of 23 August 2004), insofar as it provided that a state budget appropriation is distributed to those political parties that have received not less than 3 per cent of all the votes cast by the voters for the candidates of the political parties in those elections to the Seimas and municipal councils, according to the results of which that state budget appropriation is distributed, was not in conflict with the provision of Article 1 of the Constitution that the State of Lithuania is an independent democratic republic, also Paragraph 1 of Article 29 and Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 34 thereof, as well as with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

  1. Thus, in the constitutional justice case at issue it will be investigated whether:

– Paragraph 2 of Article 36 of the Law on Presidential Elections (wording of 12 June 2008), insofar as it prescribes the requirement to submit a document attesting to the payment of a deposit amounting to 5 most recent average monthly work remunerations in the national economy, also insofar as it provides that after the elections the election deposit is refunded to the person who has paid it provided that during the election the candidate for the President of the Republic has received more than 7 per cent of votes cast by the voters who participated in the election, is not in conflict with the provision of Article 1 of the Constitution that the State of Lithuania is an independent democratic republic, also the provision of Paragraph 1 of Article 6 thereof that the Constitution is a directly applicable act, Paragraph 1 of Article 7, Article 23, Paragraph 1 of Article 29 and Paragraph 1 of Article 33 thereof, as well as with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law;

– Item 7 of Paragraph 1 and Item 3 of Paragraph 2 of Article 38 of the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000) and Item 6 of Paragraph 1 of Article 37 of the Law on Elections to the European Parliament, insofar as they prescribe the requirement to file (submit) a document attesting to the payment of the election deposit, are not in conflict with the provision of Article 1 of the Constitution that the State of Lithuania is an independent democratic republic, also the provision of Paragraph 1 of Article 6 thereof that the Constitution is a directly applicable act, Paragraph 1 of Article 7, Article 23, Paragraph 1 of Article 29 and Paragraph 1 of Article 33 thereof, as well as with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law;

– Item 5 of Paragraph 1 of Article 35 of the Law on Elections to Municipal Councils (wording of 21 December 2006), insofar as it prescribed the requirement to file a document attesting to the payment of the election deposit, was not in conflict with the provision of Article 1 of the Constitution that the State of Lithuania is an independent democratic republic, also the provision of Paragraph 1 of Article 6 thereof that the Constitution is a directly applicable act, Paragraph 1 of Article 7, Article 23, Paragraph 1 of Article 29 and Paragraph 1 of Article 33 thereof, as well as with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law;

– Item 5 (wording of 15 April 2008) of Paragraph 1 and Item 2 (wording of 15 April 2008) of Paragraph 2 of Article 38 of the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000) and Item 4 (wording of 8 May 2008) of Paragraph 1 of Article 37 of the Law on Elections to the European Parliament, insofar as they prescribe the requirement to file (submit) the extracts of the basic data of income and property declarations of candidates as well as the declarations of private interests of candidates, are not in conflict with the provision of Article 1 of the Constitution that the State of Lithuania is an independent democratic republic, also the provision of Paragraph 1 of Article 6 thereof that the Constitution is a directly applicable act, Paragraph 1 of Article 7 and Paragraph 1 of Article 33 thereof, as well as with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law;

– Paragraph 18 of Article 2 (wording of 10 June 2008), Paragraph 2, Items 2 and 4 of Paragraph 3 and Item 3 of Paragraph 4 of Article 5 and Paragraph 2 of Article 20 of the Law on Funding of, and Control Over Funding of, Political Parties and Political Campaigns (wording of 23 August 2004), insofar as it was prescribed therein that an independent political campaign participant must conclude the agreement with the political campaign treasurer, were not in conflict with the provision of Article 1 of the Constitution that the State of Lithuania is an independent democratic republic, also the provision of Paragraph 1 of Article 6 thereof that the Constitution is a directly applicable act, Paragraph 1 of Article 7 and Paragraph 1 of Article 33 thereof, as well as with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law;

– Paragraph 2 of Article 89 of the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000), insofar as it is established therein that the list of candidates of a party may receive mandates of Members of the Seimas (participate in the distribution of mandates) only if that list receives not less than 5 per cent of votes cast by the voters who participated in the election, and the joint list of candidates—if it receives not less than 7 per cent of votes cast by the voters who participated in the election, is not in conflict with Article 4, Paragraph 1 of Article 33 and Paragraph 1 of Article 55 of the Constitution;

– Paragraph 3 of Article 13 of the Law on Funding of, and Control Over Funding of, Political Parties and Political Campaigns (wording of 23 August 2004), insofar as it provided that a state budget appropriation is distributed to those political parties that have received not less than 3 per cent of all the votes cast by the voters for the candidates of the political parties in those elections to the Seimas and municipal councils according to the results of which that state budget appropriation is distributed, was not in conflict with the provision of Article 1 of the Constitution that the State of Lithuania is an independent democratic republic, also Paragraph 1 of Article 29 and Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 34 thereof, as well as with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

II

On the compliance of the provisions of the Republic of Lithuania Law on Presidential Elections (wording of 12 June 2008), the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000), the Law on Elections to the European Parliament and the Law on Elections to Municipal Councils (wording of 21 December 2006) which entrench the institute of the election deposit with the Constitution.

  1. It has been mentioned that in this constitutional justice case it will be investigated, whether inter alia:

– Paragraph 2 of Article 36 of the Law on Presidential Elections (wording of 12 June 2008), insofar as it prescribes the requirement to submit a document attesting to the payment of a deposit amounting to 5 most recent average monthly work remunerations in the national economy, also insofar as it provides that after the elections the election deposit is refunded to the person who has paid it provided that during the election the candidate for the President of the Republic has received more than 7 per cent of votes cast by the voters who participated in the election, is not in conflict with the provision of Article 1 of the Constitution that the State of Lithuania is an independent democratic republic, also the provision of Paragraph 1 of Article 6 thereof that the Constitution is a directly applicable act, Paragraph 1 of Article 7, Article 23, Paragraph 1 of Article 29 and Paragraph 1 of Article 33 thereof, as well as with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law;

– Item 7 of Paragraph 1 and Item 3 of Paragraph 2 of Article 38 of the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000) and Item 6 of Paragraph 1 of Article 37 of the Law on Elections to the European Parliament, insofar as they prescribe the requirement to file (submit) a document attesting to the payment of the election deposit, are not in conflict with the provision of Article 1 of the Constitution that the State of Lithuania is an independent democratic republic, also the provision of Paragraph 1 of Article 6 thereof that the Constitution is a directly applicable act, Paragraph 1 of Article 7, Article 23, Paragraph 1 of Article 29 and Paragraph 1 of Article 33 thereof, as well as with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law;

– Item 5 of Paragraph 1 of Article 35 of the Law on Elections to Municipal Councils (wording of 21 December 2006), insofar as it prescribed the requirement to file a document attesting to the payment of the election deposit, was not in conflict with the provision of Article 1 of the Constitution that the State of Lithuania is an independent democratic republic, also the provision of Paragraph 1 of Article 6 thereof that the Constitution is a directly applicable act, Paragraph 1 of Article 7, Article 23, Paragraph 1 of Article 29 and Paragraph 1 of Article 33 thereof, as well as with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law;

 

The impugned legal regulation

  1. Therefore, subsequent to the petitions of the petitioners, it is investigated whether inter alia the provision of Paragraph 2 of Article 36 of the Law on Presidential Elections (wording of 12 June 2008), insofar as it prescribes the requirement to submit a document attesting to the payment of a deposit amounting to 5 most recent average monthly work remunerations in the national economy, also insofar as it provides that after the elections the election deposit is refunded to the person who has paid it provided that during the election the candidate for the President of the Republic has received more than 7 per cent of votes cast by the voters who participated in the election, is not in conflict with the Constitution.

2.1. On 22 December 1992, the Seimas adopted the Law on Presidential Elections. This law has been more than once amended and/or supplemented, inter alia by the Republic of Lithuania Law on Amending the Law on Presidential Elections adopted by the Seimas on 12 June 2008 (which came into force on 21 June 2008), whereby it was set forth in a new wording.

2.2. Paragraph 2 of Article 36 “Statement about a Person’s Participation in the Elections as a Candidate for the President of the Republic” of the Republic of Lithuania Law on Presidential Elections which is impugned to the specified extent by the petitioners in this constitutional justice case, prescribes:

“If an aspirant to become a candidate for the President of the Republic is nominated by parties, such decision shall also be presented in writing. An aspirant to become a candidate for the President of the Republic must arrive and submit to the Central Electoral Commission a document attesting to the citizenship of the Republic of Lithuania and a document attesting to the payment of a deposit amounting to 5 most recent average monthly work remunerations (hereinafter referred to as the AMWRs) in the national economy. After the elections the election deposit shall be refunded to the person who paid it, provided that a candidate for the office of President of the Republic has received more than 7 per cent of votes cast by the voters who participated in the elections.”

2.3. Thus, the impugned Paragraph 2 of Article 36 of the Republic of Lithuania Law on Presidential Elections (wording of 12 June 2008) inter alia establishes the following:

– the requirement that if a person is aspiring to become a candidate for the office of President of the Republic, i.e. submits a statement about participation in the elections as a candidate for the office of President of the Republic, the election deposit of an established amount has to have been paid and a document attesting to the payment thereof must be submitted;

– the condition that after the elections the election deposit shall be refunded to the person who paid it, provided that the candidate for the office of President of the Republic has received more than 7 per cent of votes cast by the voters who participated in the elections, i.e. refunding of the election deposit to the person who paid it after the elections is related to the number of votes cast by the voters who participated in the elections.

2.4. On 18 May 2010, the Seimas adopted the Republic of Lithuania Law on Amending Articles 36, 38, 42, 43, 45 and 46 of the Law on Presidential Elections (which came into force on 15 September 2010) whereby one amended Article 36 of the Republic of Lithuania Law on Presidential Elections (wording of 12 June 2008), however, Paragraph 2 of this article which is impugned to the specified extent in this constitutional justice case, was not amended or supplemented.

2.5. In the context of the constitutional justice case at issue one also needs to note the following provisions of the Republic of Lithuania Law on Presidential Elections (wording of 12 June 2008): “Individual persons may nominate themselves aspirants to be candidates for the President of the Republic” (Paragraph 1 of Article 35); “The parties <…> may nominate <…> aspirants to become candidates for the President of the Republic” (Paragraph 2 of Article 35); “Aspirants to become candidates for the President of the Republic shall acquire the status of a candidate for the President of the Republic upon their registration as candidates for the President of the Republic with the Central Electoral Commission <…>” (Paragraph 5 of Article 38).

It needs to be noted that the Republic of Lithuania Law on Presidential Elections (wording of 12 June 2008) has been amended and/or supplemented more than once, inter alia Article 38 thereof was amended, however, the legal regulation significant in the constitutional justice case at issue did not change.

2.6. Thus, while construing the impugned legal regulation established in Paragraph 2 of Article 36 of the Republic of Lithuania Law on Presidential Elections (wording of 12 June 2008) together with the one established in Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 35 and Paragraph 5 of Article 38 of the Republic of Lithuania Law on Presidential Elections (wording of 12 June 2008 with subsequent amendments and supplements), it needs to be noted that:

– in all cases when after an aspirant has been nominated or has nominated himself to become a candidate for the President of the Republic, one submits a statement about participation in the elections as a candidate for the President of the Republic, it is necessary to fulfil inter alia the requirement that the election deposit amounting to 5 most recent AMWRs in the national economy has to have been paid and a document attesting to the payment must be submitted;

– the amount of the election deposit (5 AMWRs) shall be equal irrespective of the fact whether a person has nominated himself or he has been nominated an aspirant to become a candidate for the President of the Republic.

  1. As mentioned, in the constitutional justice case at issue it is investigated whether inter alia Item 7 of Paragraph 1 and Item 3 of Paragraph 2 of Article 38 of the Law on Elections to the Seimas, insofar as they establish that a document attesting to the payment of the election deposit must be filed (submitted), are not in conflict with the Constitution.

3.1. On 9 July 1992, the Supreme Council-Reconstituent Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania adopted the Republic of Lithuania Law on Elections to the Seimas. This law has been amended and/or supplemented more than once, inter alia by the Republic of Lithuania Law on Amending the Law on Elections to the Seimas adopted by the Seimas on 18 July 2000 (which came into force on 19 July 2000), whereby it was set forth in a new wording.

3.2. Article 38 “Application Documents for the Nomination of Candidates” of the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000) inter alia prescribes:

“1. A party must file with the Central Electoral Commission the following application documents: <...>

7) documents attesting to the payment of the election deposit; <...>

  1. The person who decides to nominate himself as a candidate for the Member of the Seimas, must submit to the electoral commission of the constituency the following documents: <...>

3) a document attesting to the payment of the election deposit. An authorisation by a candidate for representing him in the Central Electoral Commission and the electoral commission of the constituency may also be presented.”

3.3. Thus, the impugned legal regulation established in Item 7 of Paragraph 1 of Article 38 of the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000) enshrines the requirement that when the application documents for the nominated candidates for the Members of the Seimas (a list thereof) are submitted, the election deposit has to have been paid and a document attesting to the payment thereof must be submitted.

Meanwhile, the impugned legal regulation established in Item 3 of Paragraph 2 of Article 38 of the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000) enshrines the requirement that when the application documents for a self-nominated candidate for the Member of the Seimas are submitted, the election deposit has to have been paid and a document attesting to the payment thereof must be submitted.

Consequently, the requirement that the election deposit has to have been paid and a document attesting to the payment thereof must be filed (submitted) is one of the requirements for submission of application documents for candidates for Members of the Seimas.

3.4. The Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000), inter alia Article 38 thereof, has subsequently been amended and/or supplemented more than once, inter alia by the Law on Amending Articles 38, 39, 41, 45, 46, 48, 49, 50, 51, 52 and 53 of the Law on Elections to the Seimas which was adopted by the Seimas on 18 May 2010 (which came into force on 15 September 2010), however, Item 7 of Paragraph 1 and Item 3 of Paragraph 2 of Article 38 of this law, which are impugned to the specified extent in the constitutional justice case at issue, have not been amended or supplemented.

3.5. In the context of the constitutional justice case at issue, the following provisions of the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000 with subsequent amendments and supplements) are to be mentioned:

– “The election deposit for one candidate for the Member of the Seimas to be registered in a single-member constituency shall be equal to one announced most recent average monthly work remuneration (hereinafter referred to as the AMWR) in the national economy <…>” (Paragraph 1 of Article 41 (wordings of 20 February 2001 and 18 May 2010);.

– “The election deposit left in order to register one list of candidates for Members of the Seimas in the multi-member electoral constituency shall be in the amount of twenty AMWRs” (Paragraph 2 of Article 41 (wording of 20 February 2001)); “The election deposit left in order to register one list of candidates for Members of the Seimas in the multi-member electoral constituency shall be in the amount of ten AMWRs” (Paragraph 2 of Article 41 (wording of 18 May 2010));

– “Election deposits for registration of the list of candidates shall be doubled for the party which at the preceding elections to the Seimas or municipal councils nominated candidates or the list (lists) of candidates and did not submit a copy of the report <…>” (Paragraph 3 of Article 41 (wordings of 15 April 2008 and 18 May 2010)).

3.6. Thus, while construing the legal regulation established in Item 7 of Paragraph 1 and Item 3 of Paragraph 2 of Article 38 of the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000) together with the one established in the provisions of Paragraphs 1, 2 and 3 of Article 41 of the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000 with subsequent amendments and/or supplements), the following needs to be noted:

– a requirement that when the application documents for the candidates are submitted, the election deposit has to have been paid and a document attesting to that payment must be filed (submitted) is established for all the subjects (persons) who are granted the right to nominate candidates for Members of the Seimas or to nominate themselves as candidates;

– a different amount of the election deposit in order to register is established for the candidates for Members of the Seimas in the single-member electoral constituencies and for lists of candidates in the multi-member electoral constituency, as well as for the lists of candidates of those political parties which complied with the requirement to submit a copy of a certain report (linked to financing of political parties) and those parties which did not comply with that requirement, however, this amount is the same when in single-member electoral constituencies one registers the candidates nominated by all the political parties and all the candidates for Members of the Seimas who nominated themselves, as well as this amount is the same when in the multi-member electoral constituency one registers the list of candidates of all the political parties which complied with the requirement to submit a copy of a certain report, and it is the same when in the multi-member electoral constituency one registers the list of candidates of all those political parties which did not comply with that requirement.

  1. As mentioned, in this constitutional justice case it is investigated whether inter alia Item 6 of Paragraph 1 of Article 37 of the Law on Elections to the European Parliament, insofar as it prescribes the requirement to file a document attesting to the payment of the election deposit, is not in conflict with the Constitution.

4.1. On 20 November 2003, the Seimas adopted the Republic of Lithuania Law on Elections to the European Parliament which came into force on 10 December 2003.

4.2. Item 6 of Paragraph 1 of Article 37 “Application Documents for the Nomination of Candidates” of the Law on Elections to the European Parliament prescribes: “A party must file with the Central Electoral Commission the following application documents: <…> 6) a document attesting to the payment of the election deposit.”

4.3. Thus, the impugned legal regulation established in Item 6 of Paragraph 1 of Article 37 of the Law on Elections to the European Parliament enshrines the requirement that when the application documents for the nominated candidates for the European Parliament are submitted, the election deposit has to have been paid and a document attesting to that payment must be submitted.

Consequently, the requirement that the election deposit has to have been paid and a document attesting to the payment thereof must be submitted is one of the requirements for submission of application documents for the candidates for Members of the European Parliament necessary to comply with.

4.4. The Law on Elections to the European Parliament, inter alia Article 37 thereof, has subsequently been amended and/or supplemented more than once, inter alia by the Law on Amending Articles 37, 38, 40, 44, 45, 47, 48, 49, 50 and 51 of the Law on Elections to the European Parliament which was adopted by the Seimas on 18 May 2010 (which came into force on 15 September 2010), however, Item 6 of Paragraph 1 of Article 37 of this law has not been amended or supplemented.

In this context it needs to be noted that in its ruling of 9 November 2010, the Constitutional Court held that inter alia Article 36 (wording of 12 February 2009; Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2009, No. 19-743) of the Law on Elections to the European Parliament insofar as it is established that citizens of the Republic of Lithuania as well as citizens of other Member States of the European Union, permanently residing in Lithuania, may be elected to the European Parliament only if they are enlisted in the lists of candidates for Members of the European Parliament, which are drawn up by political parties, was in conflict with Paragraph 2 of Article 34 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

It needs to be noted that in its ruling of 9 November 2010, the Constitutional Court inter alia held that “under the Constitution, such (proportional) electoral system entrenched in the Republic of Lithuania Law on Elections to the European Parliament, where candidates entered into lists of political parties compete for mandates of Members of the European Parliament, is allowed. However, the right of political parties to nominate candidates in the elections to the European Parliament may not be entrenched as the exclusive one”.

4.5. In the context of the constitutional justice case at issue, one is to note also the following provisions of the Law on Elections to the European Parliament (wording of 20 November 2003 with subsequent amendments and/or supplements), linked to the regulation of payment of the election deposit:

– “The election deposit left in order to register one list of candidates shall be in the amount of twenty most recently announced average monthly work remunerations (hereinafter referred to as the AMWRs) in the national economy” (Paragraph 1 of Article 40 (wording of 20 November 2003)); “The election deposit left in order to register one list of candidates shall be of the amount of ten most recently announced average monthly work remunerations (hereinafter referred to as the AMWRs) in the national economy ” (Paragraph 1 of Article 40 (wording of 18 May 2010));

– “An election deposit for registration of one list of candidates shall be tripled for the party which during three preceding elections to the Seimas, the European Parliament or municipal councils did not submit <…> reports <…> within the time limit specified in the Law on the Control of Financing <…>” (Paragraph 2 of Article 40 (wordings of 20 November 2003 and 18 May 2010)).

4.6. Thus, while construing the legal regulation established in Item 6 of Paragraph 1 of Article 37 of the Law on Elections to the European Parliament together with the one established in the provisions of Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 40 of the Law on Elections to the European Parliament (wording of 20 November 2003 with subsequent amendments and supplements), the following needs to be noted:

– a requirement that when the application documents for candidates for Members of the European Parliament are submitted, the election deposit has to have been paid and a document attesting to that payment must be submitted, is established for all the subjects who are granted the right to nominate candidates for Members of the European Parliament;

– a different amount of election deposit in order to register the candidates (lists thereof) is established when the subjects who nominated them complied with the corresponding requirements of financing control and when they did not comply with them, however, this amount is the same in registering all the candidates (lists thereof) when the subjects who nominated them complied with the said requirements of financing control and it is the same in registering all the candidates (lists thereof) when the subjects who nominated them did not comply with the said requirements of financing control.

  1. As mentioned, in this constitutional justice case it is investigated whether inter alia Item 5 of Paragraph 1 of Article 35 of the Law on Elections to Municipal Councils (wording of 21 December 2006), insofar as it prescribed the requirement to file a document attesting to the payment of the election deposit, was not in conflict with the Constitution.

5.1. On 7 July 1994, the Seimas adopted the Republic of Lithuania Law on Elections to Municipal Councils, which came into force on 13 July 1994.

This law has been amended and/or supplemented more than once, inter alia by the Republic of Lithuania Law on Amending the Law on Elections to Municipal Councils adopted by the Seimas on 21 December 2006 (which came into force on 30 December 2006), whereby it was set forth in a new wording.

5.2. Article 35 “Application Documents for the Nomination of Candidates for Members of the Municipal Council” of the Law on Elections to Municipal Councils (wording of 21 December 2006), Item 5 of Paragraph 1 of which is impugned in this constitutional justice case, prescribed: “A party must file with the Central Electoral Commission the following application documents: <…> 5) a document attesting to the payment of the election deposit.”

In this context it needs to be noted that, in its ruling of 9 February 2007, the Constitutional Court recognised that Paragraph 1 of Article 34 (wording of 21 December 2006) of the Law on Elections to Municipal Councils, insofar as, after the legislator had chosen only the proportionate system of elections to municipal councils, it was not established therein that permanent residents of administrative units of the territory of the Republic of Lithuania may be elected to the councils of respective municipalities by being included in the lists of candidates for members of municipal councils that are drawn up also by entities other than political parties, was in conflict with Paragraph 2 of Article 119 of the Constitution.

5.3. Thus, the impugned legal regulation established in Item 5 of Paragraph 1 of Article 35 of the Law on Elections to Municipal Councils (wording of 21 December 2006) enshrines the requirement that when the application documents for the nominated candidates for members of the municipal council are submitted, the election deposit has to have been paid and a document attesting to that payment must be submitted.

Consequently, the requirement that the election deposit has to have been paid and a document attesting to that payment must be submitted is one of the requirements for submission of application documents for nomination of candidates for members of the municipal council.

5.4. In the context of the constitutional justice case at issue, one is also to note the following provisions of the Law on Elections to Municipal Councils (wording of 21 December 2006):

– “The election deposit for registering one list of candidates for members of the municipal council in an electoral constituency shall be equal to one most recently announced average monthly work remuneration in the national economy (hereinafter referred to as “AMWR”)” (Paragraph 1 of Article 38);

– “Election deposits for registration of the list of candidates shall be doubled for that party which at the preceding elections to the Seimas or municipal councils nominated candidates or the list (lists) of candidates and did not submit a copy of the report published in the press concerning the sources and use of the funds for election campaign (Paragraph 3 of Article 38).

5.5. Thus, while construing the impugned legal regulation established in Item 5 of Paragraph 1 of Article 35 of the Law on Elections to Municipal Councils (wording of 21 December 2006) together with the one established in Paragraphs 1 and 3 of Article 38 of the Law on Elections to Municipal Councils (wording of 21 December 2006), the following needs to be noted:

– a requirement that when the application documents of the candidates are submitted, the election deposit has to have been paid and a document attesting to that payment must be submitted is established for all the subjects who are granted the right to nominate candidates (lists thereof) for members of the municipal council;

– in the election to municipal councils a different amount of election deposit in order to register the candidates (lists thereof) was established when the subjects who nominated them complied with the corresponding requirements of financing control and when they did not comply with them, however, this amount was the same in registering all the candidates (lists thereof) when the subjects who nominated them complied with the said requirements of financing control and it was the same in registering all the candidates (lists thereof) when the subjects who nominated them did not comply with the said requirements of financing control.

  1. Summing up the specified provisions of the aforementioned laws on elections, in the context of the constitutional justice case at issue, it needs to be noted that:

– all the said laws on elections establish the requirement that when the application documents are submitted, the election deposit has to have been paid and a document attesting to that payment must be submitted;

– this requirement is binding upon all the subjects (persons) who may submit the application documents of candidates; thus, the legislator has not established the exceptions of application of the requirement entrenched in the impugned laws;

– in all the laws on elections the legislator established different amounts of the election deposits; these amounts are calculated by taking account of the corresponding amount of the most recently announced AMWR in the national economy;

– the amount of the election deposit is not enshrined in any of the aforesaid laws on elections so that it would be different in the corresponding elections for certain persons who may nominate themselves as candidates (aspirants) and certain subjects who can submit the lists of the nominated candidates that complied with the said requirements of the control of financing of a political campaign. Thus, the legislator established the same amounts of the election deposit in all the laws on election with regard to submission of application documents of all the subjects that are in the same situation.

7. The impugned legal regulation entrenched in the specified provisions of the said laws on elections is to be construed inter alia in the context of the Law on Funding of, and Control over Funding of, Political Parties and Political Campaigns.7.1. On 23 August 2004, the Seimas adopted the Law on Funding of, and Control over Funding of, Political Parties and Political Campaigns which came into force on 10 September 2004 (with certain exceptions). This law is applicable to political campaigns linked inter alia to elections to the Seimas, elections of the President of the Republic, elections to the European Parliament and elections to municipal councils (Paragraph 8 of Article 2).7.2. In the context of the constitutional justice case at issue, the following provisions of the Law on Funding of, and Control Over Funding of, Political Parties and Political Campaigns (wording of 23 August 2004 with subsequent amendments) are to be noted:

“Political campaign participants may be independent and represented by the right to receive donations and incur political campaign expenditure” (Paragraph 1 of Article 3);

– “‘Political campaign participant’ means an independent or representative participant of political campaign who seeks to be elected <…>” (Paragraph 11 of Article 2 (wording of 10 June 2008));– “Only [those] <…> who have been registered as independent political campaign participants <…>, may accept donations, acquire obligations in property relating to political campaign expenditure” (Paragraph 6 of Article 3);“The following may be registered only as an independent political campaign participant: <...> 2) aspirant <...>” (Paragraph 2 of Article 3);– “‘Donations’ means cash <…>, intended for funding <…> political campaigns of independent political campaign participants” (Paragraph 2 of Article 2 (wording of 10 June 2008));– “‘Aspirant’ means a natural person who satisfies the requirements of laws for standing as a candidate and is able of being an independent participant of political campaign during the period from the start of a political campaign to the end of submission of application documents, who has declared that he will stand as a candidate, <…> and has received in accordance with the procedure laid down by the Central Electoral Commission an authorisation to participate in a political campaign as an independent participant of political campaign” (Paragraph 18 of Article 2 (wording of 10 June 2008)).Therefore, under the legal regulation established in the Law on Funding of, and Control Over Funding of, Political Parties and Political Campaigns (wording of 23 August 2004 with subsequent amendments and supplements), a person, who may stand as an independent political campaign participant and who has declared until the end of submission of application documents that he will stand as a candidate, could inter alia fund his political campaign linked to inter alia elections to the Seimas and elections of the President of the Republic, by means of cash donated by the corresponding persons (cash transferred without return under the established procedure during the political campaign).7.3. This law has been amended and/or supplemented more than once, inter alia by the Law on Amending the Law on Funding of, and Control Over Funding of, Political Parties and Political Campaigns adopted by the Seimas on 18 May 2010 (which came into force (with a certain exception) on 15 September 2010), whereby the Law on Funding of, and Control Over Funding of, Political Parties and Political Campaigns (wording of 23 August 2004 with subsequent amendments and supplements) was set forth in a new wording.It needs to be noted that having set forth the Law on Funding of, and Control Over Funding of, Political Parties and Political Campaigns (wording of 23 August 2004 with subsequent amendments and supplements) in a new wording of 18 May 2010, the legal regulation entrenched in the quoted provisions which is significant in the constitutional justice case at issue did not change.7.4. In this context it needs to be noted that Item 2 of Paragraph 8 of Article 16 (wording of 10 May 2007) of the Law on Funding of, and Control Over Funding of, Political Parties and Political Campaigns (wording of 23 August 2004 with subsequent amendments and supplements) prescribed: “The maximum amount of expenditure for political campaign shall be not reduced: <…> 2) by funds designated for payment of the election deposit.”Thus, according to the legal regulation established in Item 2 of Paragraph 8 of Article 16 (wording of 10 May 2007) of the Law on Funding of, and Control Over Funding of, Political Parties and Political Campaigns (wording of 23 August 2004 with subsequent amendments and supplements), the funds of the political campaign could be designated for payment of the election deposit.7.5. In this context it also needs to be noted that the Law on Funding of, and Control Over Funding of, Political Parties and Political Campaigns (wording of 18 May 2010) prescribed: “The following shall be not regarded as political campaign expenditure: <…> 2) expenditure designated for payment of the election deposit” (Paragraph 7 of Article 17).Having compared the legal regulation established in Paragraph 7 of Article 17 of the Law on Funding of, and Control Over Funding of, Political Parties and Political Campaigns (wording of 18 May 2010) with the one established in Item 2 of Paragraph 8 of Article 16 (wording of 10 May 2007) of the Law on Funding of, and Control Over Funding of, Political Parties and Political Campaigns (wording of 23 August 2004 with subsequent amendments and supplements), it is obvious that the political campaign expenditure may no longer be designated for payment of the election deposit.Thus, according to the legal regulation established in the Law on Funding of, and Control Over Funding of, Political Parties and Political Campaigns (wording of 18 May 2010 with subsequent amendments and supplements), the political campaign of the natural persons who, as independent political campaign participants, have declared during the period from the beginning of a political campaign to the end of submission of application documents that they will stand as candidates, where this campaign is linked inter alia to elections of the Seimas and elections of the President of the Republic elections, may be inter alia funded by funds donated by the corresponding persons (donations transferred without return under the established procedure during the political campaign), however, these funds received from the funding sources of the political campaign, inter alia donations, may no longer be linked to the expenditure for payment of the election deposit.

7.6. Thus, while construing the legal regulation impugned by the petitioners which is linked to payment of the election deposit and submission of a document attesting to that together with the quoted provisions of the Law on Funding of, and Control Over Funding of, Political Parties and Political Campaigns (wordings of 23 August 2004 and 18 May 2010), the following needs to be noted:

– by the impugned legal regulation entrenched in the specified provisions of the said laws on elections, one does not regulate the relations linked to the source of the financial funds necessary for payment of the election deposit;

– until 18 May 2010, while regulating the relations linked to funding of financial campaigns and control over funding of, the legislator had not established a legal regulation, under which inter alia the expenditure designated for payment of the election deposit would (could) be not considered as the expenditure of the political campaign;

– since 18 May 2010, the legislator does not consider inter alia the expenditure designated for payment of the election deposit as the expenditure of the political campaign.

7.7. It needs to be noted that the aforesaid provisions of the Law on Funding of, and Control Over Funding of, Political Parties and Political Campaigns (wordings of 23 August 2004 and 18 May 2010) are not subject to investigation in this constitutional justice case.

 

Historical comparative aspects

  1. The institute of the election deposit is not a novel in the Law on Presidential Election (wording of 12 June 2008), Paragraph 2 of Article 36 whereof is impugned to the specified extent in this constitutional justice case.

8.1. Paragraph 2 of Article 32 “Declaration of a Person’s Participation in the Elections as a Candidate for the President of the Republic” of the Law on Presidential Elections which was adopted by the Seimas on 22 December 1992 inter alia prescribed: “and <…> a deposit equalling five average monthly work remunerations shall be paid. Having collected twenty thousand (20,000) voter signatures as provided in Article 79 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania, the total deposit shall be refunded to the person who has paid it.”

Article 32 of the Law on Presidential Elections (wording of 22 December 1992) has subsequently been amended and/or supplemented more than once, inter alia by the Republic of Lithuania Law on Supplementing and Amending Articles 9, 13, 15, 31, 32, 33, 34, 42 and 42 of the Law on Presidential Elections which was adopted by the Seimas on 15 April 2004 (which came into force on 16 April 2004), Article 5 of which amended Article 32 of the Republic of Lithuania Law on Presidential Elections and set it forth in a new wording.

8.2. Paragraph 2 of Article 32 (wording of 15 April 2004) of the Law on Presidential Elections (wording of 22 December 1992) inter alia prescribed: “An aspirant to become as a candidate for the President of the Republic must <…> submit <…> a document attesting to the payment of a deposit amounting to 5 most recent average monthly work remunerations (hereinafter referred to as the AMWRs) in the national economy . After the elections the deposit shall be refunded to the person who paid it, provided that a candidate for the office of President of the Republic has received more than 7 per cent of the votes during the polling.”

8.3. While summing up the development of the aforesaid legal regulation established in the Law on Presidential Elections (wordings of 22 December 1992 and 12 June 2008), in the context of the constitutional justice case at issue, it needs to be noted that:

– from 22 December 1992 till 15 April 2004, the legislator related the refunding of the paid election deposit to the person who paid it with the collection of twenty thousand (20,000) voter signatures as provided in Article 79 of the Constitution;

– since 15 April 2004 (until now), the legislator has related the refunding of the paid election deposit after the election to the person who paid it to the number of votes during the polling received by the candidate for the President of the Republic (more than 7 per cent);

– since 22 December 1992 (until now), while regulating the relations linked to elections of the President of the Republic, the legislator has not changed the requirement, entrenched in the law, whereby, while submitting a statement about a person’s participation in the elections as a candidate for the office of President of the Republic, one had to pay the election deposit and to present the document attesting to the payment thereof.

8.4. Consequently, when entrenching the institute of the election deposit in the Republic of Lithuania Law on Presidential Elections, the legislator followed (follows) the position that payment of the election deposit of a certain amount is a part of the requirements which must be followed while submitting a statement about a person’s participation in the elections as a candidate for the office of President of the Republic.

  1. The institute of the election deposit is not a novel in the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000), inter alia Item 7 of Paragraph 1 and Item 3 (to the specified extent) of Paragraph 2 of Article 38 of which are impugned in this constitutional justice case, either.

9.1. Items 6 and 7 of Paragraph 1 of Article 31 “Application Documents for the Nomination of Candidates” of the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 9 July 1992) prescribed: “<…> for the nomination of candidates must file <...> 6) documents attesting to the payment of the election deposit of the candidates’ list equal to one average monthly work remuneration (AMWR) multiplied by the number of the candidates included in the list; 7) documents attesting to the payment of the election deposits of candidates nominated by an organisation in one-candidate electoral constituency, equal to one average monthly work remuneration (AMWR) for each candidate”; Item 3 of Paragraph 2 of this article entrenched that “individual persons who have nominated themselves for the candidates for Members of the Seimas, must submit <…>: 3) a document attesting to the payment of the election deposit equal to one average monthly work remuneration (AMWR).”

Thus, according to the quoted provision of Item 6 of Paragraph 1 of Article 31 of the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 9 July 1992), the amount of the election deposit for the list of candidates was related not only with the amount of the AMWR, but also with the number of candidates on the list, i.e. the amount of the election deposit equalled to the multiplication of the AMWR by the number of candidates on the list.

9.2. Item 7 of Paragraph 1 and Item 3 of Paragraph 2 of Article 38 “Application Documents for the Nomination of Candidates” of the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 27 June 1996) enshrined that a document attesting to the payment of the election deposit must be filed, while Article 41 “Election Deposit” thereof inter alia prescribed: “The election deposit for one candidate for the Member of the Seimas to be registered in a one-candidate electoral constituency shall be equal to one average monthly work remuneration (AMWR)” (Paragraph 1); “The election deposit in order to register one list of candidates for Members of the Seimas in a multi-candidate electoral constituency shall be equal to twenty AMWRs” (Paragraph 2); “Election deposits for registration of the list of candidates shall be doubled for that party, which <…> did not submit a copy <…>” (Paragraph 3).

9.3. Item 7 of Paragraph 1 and Item 3 of Paragraph 2 of Article 38 “Application Documents for the Nomination of Candidates” of the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000) also inter alia enshrined that a document attesting to the payment of the election deposit must be filed, while Article 41 “Election Deposit” thereof inter alia entrenched: “The election deposit for one candidate for the Member of the Seimas to be registered in a one-candidate electoral constituency shall be equal to one average monthly work remuneration (AMWR)” (Paragraph 1); “The election deposit in order to register one list of candidates for Members of the Seimas in a multi-candidate electoral constituency shall be equal to twenty AMWRs” (Paragraph 2); “Election deposits for registration of the list of candidates shall be doubled for that party, which <…> did not submit a copy <…>” (Paragraph 3).

9.4. It has been mentioned that Article 41 (wording of 18 May 2010) of the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000) inter alia prescribes: “The election deposit for one candidate for the Member of the Seimas to be registered <…> shall be equal to one announced most recent average monthly work remuneration (hereinafter referred to as the AMWR) in the national economy” (Paragraph 1);. “The election deposit in order to register one list of candidates for Members of the Seimas <…> shall be equal to ten AMWRs” (Paragraph 2); “Election deposits for registration of the list of candidates shall be doubled for that party, which <…> did not submit a copy <…>” (Paragraph 3).

9.5. While summing up the aforesaid development of the legal regulation entrenched in the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wordings of 9 July 1992, 27 June 1996 and 18 July 2000), it needs to be noted that:

– from 9 July 1992 till 27 June 1996, the legislator related the amount of the election deposit for registration of all the lists of nominated candidates to multiplication of 1 AMWR by the number of candidates on the list;

– from 27 June 1996 till 18 May 2010, the legislator related the amount of the election deposit for registration of those lists of the nominated candidates, the nominating subjects of which complied with the requirement to submit a copy of certain (political campaigns’ financing) documents, with the amount of 20 AMWRs, whereas since 18 May 2010 (until now)—the election deposit has been related with the amount of 10 AMWRs;

– since 27 June 1996 (until now), there has been a principle established by the legislator whereby the amount of the election deposit shall be doubled for those lists of the nominated candidates, the nominating subjects of which do not comply with the requirement to submit a copy of the said documents.

9.6. Consequently, when entrenching the institute of the election deposit in the Law on Election to the Seimas (wordings of 9 July 1992, 27 June 1996 and 18 July 2000), the legislator followed the position that payment of the election deposit of a certain amount and submission of a document attesting to the payment thereof are a part of the requirements which must be followed while submitting the application documents of candidates for Members of the Seimas.

  1. The institute of the election deposit is not a novel in the Law on Elections to Municipal Councils (wording of 21 December 2006), inter alia Item 5 (to the specified extent) of Paragraph 1 of Article 35 of which is impugned in this constitutional justice case, either.

10.1. Item 4 of Paragraph 1 of Article 31 “Application Documents for the Nomination of Candidates for Council Members” of the Law on Elections to Municipal Councils (wording of 7 July 1994) inter alia prescribed: “<…> must file <…> the following application documents: <…> 4) documents attesting to the payment of electoral roll deposit in the amount of average monthly work remuneration (AMWR) multiplied by the number of constituencies in which candidates will be nominated.”

Thus, according to the quoted Item 4 of Paragraph 1 of Article 31 of the Law on Elections to the Municipal Councils (wording of 7 July 1994), while submitting the application documents of candidates, it was necessary to submit the document attesting to the payment of the election deposit, and the amount of the election deposit for the list of candidates was related not only to the amount of the AMWR, but also to the number of constituencies in which candidates will be nominated, i.e. the amount of the election deposit equalled to the multiplication of the AMWR by the number of constituencies in which candidates will be nominated.

10.2. Item 5 of Paragraph 1 of Article 36 “Application Documents for the Nomination of Candidates for Municipal Council Members” of the Law on Elections to Municipal Councils (wording of 23 December 1996) inter alia established that a document attesting to the payment of the election deposit must be filed by a party, while Article 39 “Election Deposit” inter alia entrenched: “The election deposit for registering one list of candidates for members of the municipal council in an electoral constituency shall be equal to one average monthly work remuneration (AMWR) (Paragraph 1)”; “Election deposits for registration of the list of candidates shall be doubled for that party <…> which <…> did not submit a copy <…>” (Paragraph 3).

10.3. The legal regulation of the amount of the election deposit and submission of the document attesting to the payment thereof established correspondingly in Item 5 of Paragraph 1 of Article 35 and Paragraphs 1 and 3 of Article 38 of the Law on Elections to Municipal Councils (wording of 19 October 1999) in comparison with the one established in Item 5 of Paragraph 1 of Article 36 and Paragraphs 1 and 3 of Article 39 of the Law on Elections to Municipal Councils (wording of 23 December 1996) did not change.

10.4. The legal regulation of the amount of the election deposit and submission of the document attesting to the payment thereof established correspondingly in Item 5 of Paragraph 1 of Article 35 and Paragraphs 1 and 3 of Article 38 of the Law on Elections to Municipal Councils (wording of 21 December 2006) in comparison with the one established in Item 5 of Paragraph 1 of Article 35 and Paragraphs 1 and 3 of Article 38 of the Law on Elections to Municipal Councils (wording of 19 December 1999) did not change essentially.

10.5. The legal regulation established in Item 5 of Paragraph 2 of Article 35 of the Law on Elections to Municipal Councils (wording of 30 June 2010) did not change essentially in the aspect which is impugned by the petitioner as the established requirement to pay the election deposit remained in effect.

10.6. While summing up the aforesaid development of the legal regulation entrenched in the Law on Elections to Municipal Councils (wordings of 7 July 1994, 23 December 1996, 19 October 1999, 21 December 2006 and 30 June 2010) in the context of the constitutional justice case at issue, it needs to be noted that:

– from 7 July 1994 till 23 December 1996 the legislator related the amount of the election deposit for the subjects submitting the lists of the nominated candidates to the multiplication of the amount of the AMWR by the number of constituencies in which the candidates will be nominated;

– since 23 December 1996 (until now) there has been the amount of the election deposit of 1 AMWR, established by the legislator, for the lists of the nominated candidates, the nominating subjects of which complied with the requirement to submit a copy of certain (political campaigns’ financing) documents, and there has been the principle, established by the legislator, whereby the amount of the election deposit shall be doubled for registration of those lists of the nominated candidates, the nominating subjects of which did not comply with that requirement.

10.7. Consequently, when entrenching the institute of the election deposit in the Law on Election to the Municipal Councils (wordings of 7 July 1994, 23 December 1996, 19 October 1999, 21 December 2006 and 30 June 2010), the legislator followed the position that payment of the election deposit of a certain amount and submission of a document attesting to that payment are a part of the requirements which must be followed while submitting the application documents of candidates for members of municipal councils.

  1. It needs to be noted that, as it has been mentioned, the institute of the election deposit is also entrenched in Item 6 of Paragraph 1 of Article 37 of the Law on Elections to the European Parliament which was adopted by the Seimas on 20 November 2003, in which it is established that one must submit a document attesting to the payment of the election deposit.

It has also been mentioned that the Law on Elections to the European Parliament (wording of 20 November 2003 with subsequent amendments and/or supplements) prescribes: “The election deposit in order to register one list of candidates shall be in the amount of twenty most recently announced average monthly work remunerations (hereinafter referred to as the AMWRs) in the national economy” (Paragraph 1 of Article 40 (wording of 20 November 2003)); “The election deposit in order to register one list of candidates shall be in the amount of ten most recently announced average monthly work remunerations (hereinafter referred to as the AMWRs) in the national economy” (Paragraph 1 of Article 40 (wording of 18 May 2010)); “An election deposit for registration of one list of candidates shall be tripled for the party which during three preceding elections to the Seimas, the European Parliament or municipal councils did not submit <…> reports <…> within the time limit specified in the Law on the Control of Financing <…>” (Paragraph 2 of Article 40 (wordings of 20 November 2003 and 18 May 2010)).

While summing up the specified development of the legal regulation entrenched in the Law on Elections to the European Parliament, it needs to be noted that:

– from 20 November 2003 till 18 May 2010, the legislator related the amount of the election deposit for registration of those lists of the nominated candidates for Members of the European Parliament, the nominating subjects of which complied with the requirements of the control of financing of a political campaign, to the amount of 20 AMWRs, and since 18 May 2010 (until now)—there has been the relation of the amount of the election deposit to the amount of 10 AMWRs, which is twice less than before;

– since 20 November 2003 (until now) there has been the principle, entrenched by the legislator, whereby the election deposit shall be increased three times (is three times bigger) for registration of the lists of the nominated candidates for Members of the European Parliament the nominating subjects of which did not comply with the said requirements of financing control.

Consequently, when entrenching the institute of the election deposit in the Law on Election to the European Parliament, the legislator followed (follows) the position that payment of the election deposit of a certain amount and submission of a document attesting to the payment thereof are a part of the requirements which must be followed while submitting the application documents of candidates for Members of the European Parliament.

  1. While summing up the development of the aforementioned provisions of all the said laws, i.e. the Law on Presidential Elections (wordings of 22 December 1992 and 12 June 2008), the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wordings of 18 July 1992, 27 June 1996 and 18 July 2000), the Law on Elections to Municipal Councils (wordings of 7 July 1994, 23 December 1996, 19 October 1999, 21 December 2006 and 30 June 2010) and the Law on Elections to the European Parliament, it needs to be noted that from the adoption of the very first wordings of the Law on Presidential Elections, the Law on Elections to the Seimas and the Law on Elections to Municipal Councils, as well as when adopting and subsequently amending the Law on Elections to the European Parliament, one is to note that the legislator has chosen the election deposit as one of the means to regulate the election relations.

Thus, from the historical legal perspective, the election deposit is to be assessed as a tradition of regulating the election relations by means of laws in the Republic of Lithuania.

  1. It needs to be noted that the specified provisions of the Law on Presidential Elections (wording of 22 December 1992), the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wordings of 18 July 1992 and 27 June 1996) and the Law on Elections to Municipal Councils (wording of 7 July 1994, 23 December 1996 and 19 October 1999) are not subject to investigation in this constitutional justice case.
  2. In this context it needs to be mentioned that concrete amounts of the election deposit, applied in the latest elections of the President of the Republic, elections to the Seimas, elections to the European Parliament as well as in the elections to municipal councils determined by the said interrelation with the amounts of the AMWR, were as follows:

– in the 2008 elections to the Seimas—LTL 2,151 (1 AMWR) for registration of a candidate in a single-member electoral constituency, LTL 43,020 (20 AMWR) for registration of a list of candidates in a multi-member electoral constituency (these concrete amounts are implied inter alia by Decision of the Central Electoral Commission No. 30 “On the Election Deposit of the Elections to the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania” of 26 June 2008 (Information Bulletin, 2 July 2008, No. 48), in which it is established that “the election deposit which, according to the law, is equal to the gross average monthly work remuneration (AMWR) in the national economy, shall be LTL 2,151”; see: Elections to the Seimas, 2008. October 12. Composed and prepared by the Central Electoral Commission. Vilnius, 2009, pp. 21-22, 220-243);

– in the 2009 elections of the President of the Republic—LTL 11,600 (5 AMWRs) (this concrete amount is implied inter alia by Decision of the Central Electoral Commission No. 8 “On the Election Deposit of the Presidential Elections and Elections to the European Parliament” of 4 February 2009 (Information Bulletin, 11 February 2009, No. 11 (1)), in which it is established that “under the laws on elections the election deposit is related to the most recent announced amount of the gross average monthly work remuneration (AMWR) in the national economy which equals to LTL 2,320”; see: Elections in the Republic of Lithuania 2009. Presidential Elections. Elections to the European Parliament. Composed and prepared by the Central Electoral Commission. Vilnius, 2009, 18, pp. 105–106);

– in the 2009 elections to the European Parliament—LTL 46,400 (20 AMWRs) (these concrete amounts are implied inter alia by the aforementioned Decision of the Central Electoral Commission No. 8 of 4 February 2009 (Information Bulletin, 11 February 2009, No. 11 (1)); Elections in the Republic of Lithuania 2009. Presidential Elections. Elections to the European Parliament. pp. 144–145, 222–223);

– in the 2011 elections to municipal councils—LTL 2,056 (1 AMWR) for the candidate who nominated himself and for the list of the nominated candidates (this concrete amount is implied inter alia by the Decision of the Central Electoral Commission No. Sp-84 “On the Election Deposit of the Elections to Municipal Councils and New Elections to the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania in a Single-member Marijampolė Electoral Constituency” of 13 October 2010, in which it is established that “under the laws on elections the election deposit is related to the most recent announced amount of the gross average monthly work remuneration (AMWR) in the national economy which equals to LTL 2,056”).

  1. It is also to be mentioned that in comparative constitutional law the institute of the election deposit is known as one of the procedural means in order to ensure the seriousness of the intentions of candidates.
  2. It is obvious from the material of this constitutional justice case, inter alia the review “Regulation of the Electoral Right in the States of the European Union” carried out by the Parliamentary Research Department of the Office of the Seimas on 20 December 2011 that the deposit in the elections to national parliaments and the European Parliament is also entrenched in certain Member States of the European Union (for example, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Latvia, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom). The conditions of refunding of the election deposit differ in these states, in some of them these conditions are related to a certain number of the votes received by the subject participating in the elections or the acquired right of the list of candidates to participate in distribution of mandates (in Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, etc.).
  3. It needs to be mentioned that the aspect of the election deposit has been considered in the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights. It is noted in it that while establishing the election deposit, one has the legitimate aim of guaranteeing the right to effective, streamlined representation by enhancing the responsibility of those standing for election and confining elections to serious candidates, whilst avoiding the unreasonable outlay of public funds. While establishing the election deposit, the state must find the balance between two different interests: to deter frivolous candidates from participation and to create possibilities of participation for responsible candidates who happen to be economically disadvantaged (judgement of 28 March 2006 in the case Sukhovetskyy v. Ukraine, application No. 13716/02).

 

Provisions of the Constitution and the official constitutional doctrine

  1. In the constitutional justice case at issue it is investigated whether the specified provisions of election laws, which regulate the relations related to the election deposit, are not in conflict with the provision of Article 1 of the Constitution that the State of Lithuania is an independent democratic republic, also with the provision of Paragraph 1 of Article 6 thereof that the Constitution is a directly applicable act, with Paragraph 1 of Article 7, Article 23 and Paragraph 1 of Article 33 thereof, as well as with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.
  2. First of all, in this context it needs to be noted that the provisions of the official constitutional doctrine on elections have been formulated and developed in various acts of the Constitutional Court, which were adopted in previous constitutional justice cases, inter alia:

– regarding the aspect of elections of the President of the Republic, as well as regards the general aspects of election law—the Ruling “On the compliance of Article 1-1 (wording of 4 May 2004) and Paragraph 2 (wording of 4 May 2004) of Article 2 of the Republic of Lithuania Law on Presidential Elections with the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania” of 25 May 2004;

– regarding the aspect of elections of the Seimas—the Ruling “On the compliance of Paragraph 1 (wording of 15 April 2008) of the Republic of Lithuania Law on Elections to the Seimas with the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania” of 1 October 2008;

– regarding elections to the European Parliament—the Ruling “On the compliance of Article 36 (wordings of 8 May 2008 and 12 February 2009) of the Republic of Lithuania Law on Elections to the European Parliament with the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania” of 9 November 2010;

– regarding the aspect of elections to municipal councils—the Ruling “On the compliance of Paragraph 1 of Article 34 (wording of 21 December 2006) of the Republic of Lithuania Law on Elections to Municipal Councils with the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania” of 9 February 2007, the Ruling “On the compliance of Paragraph 1 of Article 34 (wording of 21 December 2006) of the Republic of Lithuania Law on Elections to Municipal Councils with the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania” of 11 May 2011 and the Ruling “On the compliance of Paragraph 1 of Article 34 (wording of 21 December 2006) of the Republic of Lithuania Law on Elections to Municipal Councils with the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania” of 17 November 2011.

  1. In this context it also needs to be noted that in various acts of the Constitutional Court one formed and developed the official constitutional doctrine of a democratic state under the rule of law, democratic elections, passive electoral right, equality of persons, as well as of inviolability of property.

20.1. Article 1 of the Constitution prescribes: “The State of Lithuania shall be an independent democratic republic.”

The provisions of Article 1 of the Constitution, as well as the principle of a law-governed state established in the Constitution, determine the main principles of organisation and activities of state power of the Lithuanian State (Constitutional Court rulings of 18 October 2000 and 25 January 2001). In Article 1 of the Constitution the fundamental principles of the State of Lithuania are established, inter alia that the state power must be organised in a democratic way, and there must be a democratic political regime in this country (Constitutional Court rulings of 23 February 2000, 18 October 2000, 6 December 2000, 25 January 2001, 19 September 2002, conclusion of 5 November 2004 and rulings of 13 December 2004 and 21 June 2011).

20.2. A fundamental requirement of a democratic state under the rule of law is the principle of the supremacy of the Constitution entrenched in Paragraph 1 of Article 7 of the Constitution which provides that any law or other act, which is inconsistent with the Constitution, shall be invalid; this principle in various aspects is also entrenched in other articles of the Constitution, inter alia Paragraph 1 of Article 6 which provides that the Constitution shall be an integral and directly applicable act (Constitutional Court rulings of 24 December 2002, 29 October 2003, 5 March 2004 and 20 March 2007). The principle of the supremacy of the Constitution means that the Constitution rests in the exceptional, highest, place in the hierarchy of legal acts; no legal act may be in conflict with the Constitution; no one is permitted to violate the Constitution; the constitutional order must be protected (Constitutional Court rulings of 24 December 2002, 29 October 2003, 5 March 2004, 20 March 2007, decision of 20 November 2009).

Under the Constitution, the legislator may not establish the legal regulation which would restrict or deny an opportunity to directly apply the Constitution (Constitutional Court ruling of 24 December 2002).

20.3. In Paragraph 1 of Article 33 of the Constitution it is inter alia established that citizens shall have the right to participate in the governance of their state both directly and through their democratically elected representatives. While construing this constitutional provision, the Constitutional Court has noted that one of fundamental characteristics of a democratic state is democratic elections of representative institutions of state power. It is through elections that every citizen accomplishes his right to participate in running his country along with the other citizens (Constitutional Court conclusion of 23 November 1996, ruling of 1 October 2008).

Paragraph 1 of Article 33 of the Constitution is interrelated with various other provisions of the Constitution, inter alia Article 34 thereof.

20.4. In Article 34 of the Constitution, the constitutional grounds for the active and passive electoral rights are enshrined.

The provision of Article 34 of the Constitution that citizens who, on the day of election, have reached 18 years of age, shall have the electoral right (Paragraph 1) enshrines the so-called active electoral right, i.e. the possibility of persons to participate in the elections to the corresponding institutions of public power by freely choosing for which of the nominated candidate or which candidates to vote. The provision of Paragraph 2 of this article that the right to be elected shall be established by the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and by the election laws enshrines the so-called passive electoral right, i.e. the opportunity for a person to nominate himself for the members of the corresponding elected institution of public power under the procedure established by the Constitution and election laws, therefore the opportunity to seek to be elected (Constitutional Court rulings of 1 October 2008 and 9 November 2010).

It needs to be noted that, while construing Paragraph 2 (“The right to be elected shall be established by the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and by the election laws”) of Article 34 of the Constitution, the Constitutional Court inter alia held that “under the Constitution, when regulating election relations by law, one is obliged to ensure an equal active electoral right of all the voters (the right to vote, i.e. the right to elect), as well as an equal passive electoral right of all the candidates (the right to be registered in elections as a candidate, i.e. the right to be elected)” (Constitutional Court ruling of 11 May 2011).

It also needs to be noted that, as the Constitutional Court held, the articles of the Constitution which regulate the relations of elections to the corresponding institutions of public power, i.e. Articles 55, 56 and 57 of the Constitution, consolidating the legal imperatives of elections of the Members to the Seimas, Articles 78, 79 and 80 thereof, consolidating the legal imperatives of elections of the President of the Republic, and Article 119 of the Constitution, consolidating the legal imperatives of elections of the members to municipal councils, are inseparable from the provisions of Article 34 of the Constitution which enshrine the constitutional grounds for the active and passive electoral rights (Constitutional Court ruling of 1 October 2008).

  1. In the context of the constitutional justice case at issue one is to pay heed to the particularity of the constitutional grounds of elections of the President of the Republic.

21.1. It needs to be noted that the requirements for the person who may stand in elections for President of the Republic are established in the Constitution, inter alia Paragraph 1 (“A Lithuanian citizen by origin, who has lived in Lithuania for not less than the last three years, if he has reached the age of not less than 40 prior to the election day, and if he may be elected a Member of the Seimas, may be elected President of the Republic”) of Article 78 thereof, and Paragraph 1 (“Any citizen of the Republic of Lithuania who <…> has collected the signatures of not less than 20,000 voters shall be registered as a candidate for the President of the Republic”) of Article 79 thereof.

21.2. Thus, as the Constitutional Court noted in the ruling of 25 May 2004, the provision “The right to be elected shall be established by <…> the election laws” of Paragraph 2 of Article 34 of the Constitution inter alia means that:

– under the Constitution, the legislator has powers to establish in the election laws, thus in the Republic of Lithuania Law on Presidential Elections as well, the constitutionally grounded requirements (conditions) to a person who may stand in elections for President of the Republic;

– in the election laws, thus in the Republic of Lithuania Law on Presidential Elections as well, the procedure of elections of the President of the Republic, the proceedings of implementation of the rights of a person to stand in elections for President of the Republic, etc. should be regulated;

– the Republic of Lithuania Law on Presidential Elections may not establish any such requirements (conditions) which would distort or deny the requirements (conditions) established in the Constitution, which are to be met by a person so that he can stand in elections for President of the Republic.

  1. In the context of the constitutional justice case at issue one is to pay heed to the particularity of the constitutional grounds of the elections for Members of the Seimas.

22.1. It needs to be noted that the requirements to a person who may stand in elections for a Member of the Seimas are also established in the Constitution, inter alia Paragraph 1 (“Any citizen of the Republic of Lithuania who is not bound by an oath or pledge to a foreign state, and who, on the election day, is not younger than 25 years of age and permanently resides in Lithuania, may be elected a Member of the Seimas”) of Article 56 thereof.

22.2. Consequently, while the legislator is implementing Paragraph 3 (“The procedure for election of Members of the Seimas shall be established by law”) of Article 55 of the Constitution, one is to apply mutatis mutandis the provision of the official constitutional doctrine that the provision “the right to be elected shall be established <...> by the election laws” of Paragraph 2 of Article 34 of the Constitution means that, under the Constitution, the legislator has powers to establish in the election laws, thus in the Republic of Lithuania Law on Presidential Elections as well, the requirements (conditions) to a person, who may stand in elections for President of the Republic, which are constitutionally grounded (Constitutional Court ruling of 25 May 2004).

22.3. It needs to be noted that, as the Constitutional Court held, from the Constitution, inter alia Articles 34, 55 and 56 thereof, a duty stems for the legislator to consolidate, by means of a law, a system of elections of Members of the Seimas, to establish the grounds and procedure of arrangement of elections, inter alia including nomination of candidates for Members of the Seimas; while establishing the requirements which must be met by a candidate for the Member of the Seimas, the legislator must heed the Constitution; he may neither himself deny, distort or limit the universal, equal and direct suffrage and secret ballot, nor may he create any legal preconditions for others to do that (Constitutional Court ruling of 1 October 2008).

  1. In the context of the constitutional justice case at issue one is to pay heed to the particularity of the constitutional grounds of the elections of members of municipal councils.

23.1. It needs to be noted that the requirements for the person who may be elected a member of municipal councils, as well as the powers of the legislator to establish other requirements for such a person are enshrined inter alia in Paragraph 2 (“The members of municipal councils shall be elected for a four-year term, as provided for by law, from among citizens of the Republic of Lithuania and other permanent residents of the administrative unit by the citizens of the Republic of Lithuania and other permanent residents of the administrative unit, on the basis of universal, equal and direct suffrage by secret ballot”) and Paragraph 3 (“The procedure for the organisation and activities of self-government institutions shall be established by law”) of Article 119 of the Constitution.

23.2. Consequently, while the legislator is implementing Paragraphs 2 and 3 of Article 119 of the Constitution and establishing the procedure for the elections of the members of municipal councils, one is to apply mutatis mutandis the provision of the official constitutional doctrine that the provision “the right to be elected shall be established <...> by the election laws” of Paragraph 2 of Article 34 of the Constitution means that, under the Constitution, the legislator has powers to establish in the election laws, thus in the Republic of Lithuania Law on Presidential Elections as well, the constitutionally grounded requirements (conditions) to a person who may stand in elections for President of the Republic (Constitutional Court ruling of 25 May 2004).

23.3. In this context one also is to note other provisions of the official constitutional doctrine which disclose the constitutional concept of the grounds of the procedure of elections of the members of municipal councils:

– the legislator has the constitutional competence to regulate the procedure of municipal council elections by law (Constitutional Court ruling of 24 December 2002);

– the legislator has a duty to consolidate, by means of a law, a system of elections to municipal councils, to establish the procedure and grounds for organising elections, inter alia nomination of candidates to municipal councils (Constitutional Court ruling of 11 May 2011);

– when regulating the relations of elections to municipal councils by the law, the legislator must pay heed to the provisions of the Constitution—its norms and principles and the constitutional concept of local self-government; the legal regulation, as established by law, should not create preconditions to violate the right of universal, equal and direct suffrage, as well as the imperative of secret ballot, either (Constitutional Court rulings of 9 February 2007 and 11 May 2011);

– whatever system of elections is chosen by the legislator, he must establish such legal regulation that would ensure democratic representation of permanent residents of administrative units of the territory of the Republic of Lithuania at the municipal institutions, as well as the proper implementation of the right of self-government and functioning of municipal institutions, and not create any preconditions for unpredictability, instability and non-efficiency of the activity of municipal councils (Constitutional Court ruling of 9 February 2007);– elections, including elections to municipal councils, are a political process (Constitutional Court rulings of 9 February 2007 and 17 November 2011).

  1. In the context of the constitutional justice case at issue one also is to pay heed to the following provisions of the official constitutional doctrine regarding the elections of the Members to the European Parliament:

– the European Parliament is not the representation of the Nation, however, it is to be regarded as a representative political institution of the European Union, whose election procedure in the concrete Member State of the European Union is established by the legislator of the corresponding Member State (Constitutional Court ruling of 9 November 2010);

– the provision of Paragraph 2 of Article 34 of the Constitution that the right to be elected shall be established by the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and by the election laws inter alia means that the legislator, while regulating, by means of laws, the implementation of the passive electoral right in electing representative political institutions, inter alia the European Parliament, has the constitutional duty to heed the imperatives, inter alia the principles of electoral law, which arise from the Constitution (Constitutional Court ruling of 9 November 2010).

  1. In the context of the constitutional justice case at issue, it needs to be emphasized that in its ruling of 1 October 2008, the Constitutional Court noted that in Member States of the European Union and in other democratic states, while regulating the election relations, one quite often also establishes special requirements, upon fulfilment (meeting) of which, a person may nominate himself as a candidate for the member of the parliament, for example, the requirement to collect a certain number of signatures which confirm the political support of a certain part of society, or the requirement to pay a certain deposit of elections; elections are responsible political process, therefore, the requirement that aspirants for candidates for members of parliament prove to have a certain political support of society and/or guarantee the validity of their intentions by a certain (reasonable) financial obligation, is recognised as valid one.
  2. Paragraph 1 of Article 29 of the Constitution entrenches formal equality of all persons. The constitutional principle of equality of all persons before the law requires that in law the main rights and duties be established equally to all (Constitutional Court rulings of inter alia 30 June 2000, 24 December 2008, 2 March 2009 and 22 December 2010).
  3. Article 23 of the Constitution enshrines inviolability of property and protection of the rights of ownership. While construing Article 23 of the Constitution, the Constitutional Court inter alia has held that under the Constitution, the owner has the right to perform any actions in regard of his property, save those prohibited by the law, as well as to use his property and determine its future in any way, which does not violate the rights and freedoms of other persons (Constitutional Court rulings of inter alia 14 March 2006, 20 May 2008, 30 October 2008 and 10 April 2009).

 

The compliance of the provisions under investigation with the Constitution

  1. It has been mentioned that in this constitutional justice case it will be investigated, whether inter alia Paragraph 2 of Article 36 of the Law on Presidential Elections (wording of 12 June 2008), insofar as it prescribes the requirement to submit a document attesting to the payment of a deposit amounting to 5 most recent average monthly work remunerations in the national economy, also insofar as it provides that after the elections, the election deposit is refunded to the person who has paid it provided that during the election the candidate for the President of the Republic has received more than 7 per cent of votes cast by the voters who participated in the election, is not in conflict with the provision of Article 1 of the Constitution that the State of Lithuania is an independent democratic republic, also the provision of Paragraph 1 of Article 6 thereof that the Constitution is a directly applicable act, Paragraph 1 of Article 7, Article 23, Paragraph 1 of Article 29 and Paragraph 1 of Article 33 thereof, as well as with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.
  2. It has also been mentioned that the doubts of the groups of Members of the Seimas, the petitioners, regarding the compliance of the impugned legal regulation of election relations linked to payment of the election deposit with the Constitution, are grounded inter alia on the fact that it consolidates additional obligation with respect of the persons seeking to exercise their passive electoral right: they must pay the election deposit; this additional limitation of the right to be elected is absolutely groundless, and the fact that the person’s participation in an election is related to whether he can afford to pay the election deposit virtually consolidates the property qualification in elections; the consolidation of the election deposit leads to discrimination against smaller political parties or separate persons, whose possibilities of paying the deposit are more limited and who are more influenced by the fact that the deposit may be not refunded.
  3. While deciding whether Paragraph 2 of Article 36 of the Law on Presidential Elections (wording of 12 June 2008), insofar as it prescribes the requirement to submit a document attesting to the payment of a deposit amounting to 5 most recent average monthly work remunerations in the national economy, also insofar as it provides that after the election, the election deposit is refunded to the person who has paid it provided that during the election the candidate for the President of the Republic has received more than 7 per cent of votes cast by the voters who participated in the election, is not in conflict with the provision of Article 1 of the Constitution that the State of Lithuania is an independent democratic republic, also the provision of Paragraph 1 of Article 6 thereof that the Constitution is a directly applicable act, Paragraph 1 of Article 7, Article 23, Paragraph 1 of Article 29 and Paragraph 1 of Article 33 thereof, as well as with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law, it needs to be noted that, as it has been mentioned:

– the election is a responsible political process;

– under the Constitution, the legislator has powers to establish in the election laws, thus in the Republic of Lithuania Law on Presidential Elections as well, the constitutionally grounded requirements (conditions) to a person who may stand in elections for President of the Republic;

– in the election laws, thus in the Republic of Lithuania Law on Presidential Elections as well, the procedure of elections of the President of the Republic, the proceedings of implementation of the rights of a person to stand in elections for President of the Republic, etc. should be regulated;

– under the Constitution, when regulating election relations by law, one is obliged to ensure an equal passive electoral right of all the candidates (the right to be registered in elections as a candidate, i.e. the right to be elected);

– the Republic of Lithuania Law on Presidential Elections may not establish any such requirements (conditions) which would distort or deny the requirements (conditions) established in the Constitution, which are to be met by a person so that he can stand in elections for President of the Republic.

30.1. Thus, while regulating the election relations connected inter alia with electoral procedures of the elections of the President of the Republic, the legislator, under the Constitution, may establish inter alia such constitutionally grounded conditions for the implementation of the passive electoral right by means of which, while taking account of the specificity of the elections of the President of the Republic and the conditions established in the Constitution which must be met by a candidate to President of the Republic, it is sought to proportionally ensure that the elections of the President of the Republic would be a responsible political process and that this process would involve the participation of only those candidates (persons seeking to stand as candidates) who have serious intentions.

Therefore, in regulating the election relations, inter alia the relations connected with electoral procedures of the elections of the President of the Republic, the legislator, under the Constitution, may consolidate the election deposit as a legal institute and it enjoys the discretion, bound by the norms and principles of the Constitution, to establish at which procedural stage of the elections of the President of the Republic the election deposit must be paid, who is allowed to pay the election deposit, at which procedural stage of the elections of the President of the Republic or whether after these procedures are over the election deposit is refunded to the person who has paid it, and what the conditions of such refunding are.

30.2. It needs to be noted that, as it has been mentioned, under the legal regulation entrenched in Paragraph 2 of Article 36 of the Presidential Elections (wording of 12 June 2008):

– the requirement that the election deposit has to have been paid and a document attesting to that payment must be submitted is linked to submission of application documents of the aspirant to become a candidate for the President of the Republic; the amount of the election deposit is related to 5 most recent announced amounts of the AMWR in the national economy; the possibility of refunding of the election deposit to the person who paid it is related to the number of votes during the polling received by the candidate for the President of the Republic (more than 7 per cent);

– all persons who have been nominated or who have nominated themselves as aspirants for the President of the Republic and submitting the application documents of an aspirant for the President of the Republic are bound by the requirement entrenched in the law that the election deposit has to have been paid and a document attesting to that payment must be submitted; in case that during the election of the President of the Republic every candidate for the President of the Republic receives more than 7 per cent of votes cast by the voters who participated in the election, every election deposit paid before the submission of the application documents of this person, i.e. an aspirant to become a candidate for the President of the Republic, must be refunded to every person who has paid it.

30.3. It also needs to be noted that the interrelation of the amount of the election deposit with 5 most recent announced amounts of the AMWR in the national economy entrenched in the provision of Paragraph 2 of Article 36 of the Law on Presidential Elections (wording of 12 June 2008) (as it has been mentioned, while applying this provision in the latest elections of the President of the Republic which took place in 2009, the amount of the election deposit determined by its interrelation with 5 most recent announced amounts of the average monthly work remuneration (AMWR) in the national economy equalled to LTL 11,600) does not create preconditions to artificially aggravate the fulfilment of the requirement (that when the application documents are submitted, the election deposit has to have been paid and the document attesting to that payment must be submitted) which is enshrined in the impugned law or to distort the purpose of the election deposit in elections of the President of the Republic.

30.4. It also needs to be noted that the impugned condition of refunding of the election deposit to the person who has paid it after the elections of the President of the Republic “provided that the candidate for the President of the Republic has received more than 7 per cent of votes cast by the voters who participated in the election” entrenched in the aforesaid provision of Paragraph 2 of Article 36 of the Law on Presidential Elections (wording of 12 June 2008) does not create preconditions to distort the purpose of the election deposit in the elections of the President of the Republic, i.e. this condition is proportionate in order to ensure the objective that a candidate to President of the Republic would have serious intentions and the elections of the President of the Republic would be a responsible political process.

30.5. It needs to be noted that payment of the election deposit implies a certain risk and does not create the expectation defended by the Constitution that a certain aspirant to become a candidate for the President of the Republic, having submitted the application documents, will collect the signatures of not less than 20,000 voters, therefore, will be registered as a candidate for the President of the Republic, that the candidate for the President of the Republic will not revoke the application documents, let alone that he will receive more than 7 per cent of votes cast by the voters who participated in the election.

Thus, the requirement, which is binding upon the submission of application documents of a freely nominated or freely self-nominated aspirant to become a candidate for the President of the Republic, that the election deposit has to have been paid in advance, does not deny the right of the owner to property, nor does it limit this right in a disproportionate manner.

30.6. It also needs to be noted that in impugned (to the specified extent) Paragraph 2 of Article 36 of the Law on Presidential Elections (wording of 12 June 2008) does not establish any exceptions whereby in certain cases, when the application documents are submitted, the election deposit could be not paid or it would be not refunded after the elections, when during that elections certain candidates receive more than 7 per cent of votes cast by the voters who participated in the election. Consequently, under the impugned legal regulation entrenched in this provision, the legal situation of all the candidates for the President of the Republic (aspirants to become candidates for the President of the Republic) is equal. Thus, there are no sufficient grounds to state that the legal regulation entrenched in the aforementioned provision of Paragraph 2 of Article 36 of the Law on Presidential Elections (wording of 12 June 2008), as it is stated by the group of Members of the Seimas, a petitioner (petition No. 1B-38/2010), discriminates smaller political parties or individual persons, whose possibilities of paying the deposit are more limited and who are more influenced by the fact that the deposit may be not refunded.

30.7. It also needs to be noted that as it has been mentioned, the legislator, since the adoption of the Law on Presidential Elections on 22 December 1992, has chosen the election deposit as one of the means to regulate the relations of elections of the President of the Republic, i.e. from the historical legal perspective, the election deposit is to be assessed as a tradition of legal regulation of the elections of the President of the Republic which took place in 1993, 1998, 2003, 2004 and 2009. The said fact is to be deemed a fairly significant circumstance in the context of the impugned (to the specified extent) legal regulation of election relations.

30.8. It needs to be emphasised that collection of the signatures of 20,000 voters which are specified in Article 79 of the Constitution must also be a responsible procedure of the elections (a part of the election process), and the persons seeking to participate in it must have serious intentions.

  1. Thus, the legal regulation enshrined in the provision (to the specified extent) of Paragraph 2 of Article 36 of the Law on Presidential Election (wording of 12 June 2008), under which, on the one hand, it is required that when the application documents of aspirants to become candidates for the President of the Republic are submitted, the election deposit has to have been paid and a document attesting to that payment must be submitted, on the other hand, one provides for the refund of the election deposit to the person who paid it after the elections and one establishes the condition of such a refund which is linked to the votes (more than 7 per cent) cast by the voters who participated in elections of the President of the Republic, is to be assessed as a constitutionally grounded legal regulation of the election procedures which creates preconditions in order to ensure that the elections of the President of the Republic would be a responsible political process and that the persons seeking to participate in this process as aspirants to become candidates for the President of the Republic would have serious intentions.
  2. Thus, there are no sufficient grounds to state that the legal regulation, linked to the payment of the election deposit, submission of a document attesting to that payment and refunding of the paid election deposit, entrenched in Paragraph 2 (to the specified extent) of Article 36 of the Law on Presidential Election (wording of 12 June 2008) is a deficient or disproportionate way to regulate the relations linked to the elections of the President of the Republic chosen by the legislator.
  3. It needs to be noted that Paragraph 2 of Article 36 of the Law on Presidential Elections (wording of 12 June 2008), insofar as it prescribes the requirement to submit a document attesting to the payment of a deposit amounting to 5 most recent average monthly work remunerations in the national economy, also insofar as it provides that after the elections, the election deposit is refunded to the person who has paid it provided that during the election the candidate for the President of the Republic has received more than 7 per cent of votes cast by the voters who participated in the election, does not deviate from the constitutional imperatives of a democratic state and democratic elections, the principle of direct application of the Constitution, does not distort the constitutional requirements prescribed for the candidates for the President of the Republic and does not violate the constitutional principle of all persons’ equality before the law, the guarantees of inviolability of property and protection of the rights of ownership, as well as the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.
  4. Taking account of the arguments set forth, one is to draw a conclusion that Paragraph 2 of Article 36 of the Law on Presidential Elections (wording of 12 June 2008), insofar as it prescribes the requirement to submit a document attesting to the payment of a deposit amounting to 5 most recent average monthly work remunerations in the national economy, also insofar as it provides that after the elections, the election deposit is refunded to the person who has paid it provided that during the election the candidate for the President of the Republic has received more than 7 per cent of votes cast by the voters who participated in the election, is not in conflict with the provision of Article 1 of the Constitution that the State of Lithuania is an independent democratic republic, also the provision of Paragraph 1 of Article 6 thereof that the Constitution is a directly applicable act, Paragraph 1 of Article 7, Article 23, Paragraph 1 of Article 29 and Paragraph 1 of Article 33 thereof, as well as with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.
  5. It has been mentioned that in this constitutional justice case one also investigates whether Item 7 of Paragraph 1 and Item 3 of Paragraph 2 of Article 38 of the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000) and Item 6 of Paragraph 1 of Article 37 of the Law on Elections to the European Parliament are not in conflict with the provision of Article 1 of the Constitution that the State of Lithuania is an independent democratic republic, also the provision of Paragraph 1 of Article 6 thereof that the Constitution is a directly applicable act, Paragraph 1 of Article 7, Article 23, Paragraph 1 of Article 29 and Paragraph 1 of Article 33 thereof, as well as with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law, as well as whether Item 5 of Paragraph 1 of Article 35 of the Law on Elections to Municipal Councils (wording of 21 December 2006), insofar as it established that the document attesting to the payment of the election deposit must be filed (submitted), was not in conflict with the aforesaid provisions of the Constitution.
  6. As mentioned, the impugned legal regulation established in Item 7 of Paragraph 1 of Article 38 of the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000) enshrines the requirement that when the application documents of nominated candidates for Members of the Seimas (a list thereof) are submitted, the election deposit has to have been paid and a document must be submitted attesting to that payment, while the impugned legal regulation established in Item 3 of Paragraph 2 of Article 38 of the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000) also enshrines the requirement that, when the application documents of a self-nominated candidate for a Member of the Seimas are submitted, the election deposit has to have been paid and a document attesting to that payment must be submitted.

It also has been mentioned that the impugned legal regulation established in Item 6 of Paragraph 1 of Article 37 of the Law on Elections to the European Parliament enshrines the requirement that when the application documents of the nominated candidates for the European Parliament are submitted, the election deposit has to have been paid and a document attesting to that payment must be submitted.

It has also been mentioned that the impugned legal regulation established in Item 5 of Paragraph 1 of Article 35 of the Law on Elections to Municipal Councils (wording of 21 December 2006) enshrines the requirement that when the application documents of the nominated candidates for members of the municipal council are submitted, the election deposit has to have been paid and a document attesting to that payment must be submitted.

Therefore, the legal regulation established (to the specified extent) in Item 7 of Paragraph 1 and Item 3 of Paragraph 2 of Article 38 of the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000), Item 6 of Paragraph 1 of Article 37 of the Law on Elections to the European Parliament and in Item 5 of Paragraph 1 of Article 35 of the Law on Elections to Municipal Councils (wording of 21 December 2006) is analogous in the aspect which is impugned in this constitutional justice case.

  1. While deciding whether Item 7 (to the specified extent) of Paragraph 1 and Item 3 (to the specified extent) of Paragraph 2 of Article 38 of the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000) and Item 6 (to the specified extent) of Paragraph 1 of Article 37 of the Law on Elections to the European Parliament are not in conflict with the provision of Article 1 of the Constitution that the State of Lithuania is an independent democratic republic, also the provision of Paragraph 1 of Article 6 thereof that the Constitution is a directly applicable act, Paragraph 1 of Article 7, Article 23, Paragraph 1 of Article 29 and Paragraph 1 of Article 33 thereof, and with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law, as well as whether Item 5 (to the specified extent) of Paragraph 1 of Article 35 of the Law on Elections to Municipal Councils (wording of 21 December 2006) was not in conflict with the aforesaid provisions of the Constitution, it needs to be noted that, as it has already been mentioned:

– elections, including elections to municipal councils, are a political process;

– while establishing the requirements which must be met by a candidate for the Member of the Seimas, the legislator must heed the Constitution; he may neither himself deny, distort or limit the universal, equal and direct suffrage and secret ballot, nor may he create any legal preconditions for others to do that;

– the legislator has a duty to consolidate, by means of a law, a system of elections to municipal councils, to establish the procedure and grounds for organising elections, inter alia nomination of candidates to municipal councils; when regulating the relations of elections to municipal councils by law, the legislator must pay heed to the provisions of the Constitution—its norms and principles, as well as the constitutional concept of local self-government; whatever the system of elections is chosen by the legislator, he must establish such legal regulation that would ensure democratic representation of permanent residents of administrative units of the territory of the Republic of Lithuania at the municipal institutions, as well as the proper implementation of the right of self-government and functioning of municipal institutions, and not create any preconditions for unpredictability, instability and non-efficiency of the activity of municipal councils;

– the European Parliament is not the representation of the Nation, however, it is to be regarded as a representative political institution of the European Union, whose election procedure in the concrete Member State of the European Union is established by the legislator of the corresponding Member State;– in Member States of the European Union and in other democratic states, while regulating the election relations, one quite often also establishes special requirements, upon fulfilment (meeting) of which, a person may nominate himself as a candidate for the member of the parliament, for example, the requirement to collect a certain number of signatures which confirm the political support of a certain part of society, or the requirement to pay a certain deposit of elections.

37.1. Thus, while regulating the election relations linked to the election procedures of the elections to the Seimas, the European Parliament or municipal councils, the legislator may, under the Constitution, establish inter alia such procedures of implementation of the constitutionally grounded passive electoral right, whereby, taking account of the particularity of the elections to the Seimas, the European Parliament or municipal councils, one seeks to ensure the responsibility of the process of these elections which take place not on the identical level (at the national—state level, European level and regional level) and the seriousness of the intentions of candidates for Members of the Seimas, Members of the European Parliament and members of municipal councils who participate in this process.

Consequently, while regulating the election relations linked to the elections to the Seimas, European Parliament and municipal councils (inter alia preparation procedures of these elections), the legislator, under the Constitution, may generally choose the election deposit as a means of regulation of the election relations and enjoys discretion bound by the norms and principles of the Constitution inter alia to establish that the amount of the election deposit is different in the elections to the Seimas, European Parliament and municipal councils and it changes according to the fact whether the subjects who nominate candidates followed (did not follow) certain requirements of control of financing of the political campaign, as well as that the election deposit must be paid at the same stage of the preparatory procedure of the elections to the Seimas, European Parliament and municipal councils, i.e. before submitting the application documents of the candidates.

37.2. It also needs to be noted that, under the impugned legal regulation established (to the specified extent) in Item 7 of Paragraph 1 and Item 3 of Paragraph 2 of Article 38 of the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000), Item 6 of Paragraph 1 of Article 37 of the Law on Elections to the European Parliament and in Item 5 of Paragraph 1 of Article 35 of the Law on Elections to Municipal Councils (wording of 21 December 2006):

– payment of the election deposit and submission of a document attesting to that payment is one of the requirements which are necessary to be complied with while submitting the application documents of candidates for Members of the Seimas, Members of the European Parliament and members of municipal councils;

– all the subjects (persons) who have the right to nominate candidates (or to nominate themselves as candidates) for the Member of the Seimas, Members of the European Parliament or members of municipal councils, must comply with the requirement that, when the application documents of candidates are submitted, the election deposit has to have been paid and a document attesting to the payment of the election deposit must be submitted.

37.3. It also needs to be noted that, as mentioned, the amount of the election deposit is not enshrined in any of the aforesaid laws on elections so that it would be different in the corresponding elections for certain persons who may nominate themselves as candidates (aspirants) and certain subjects who may submit the lists of the nominated candidates that complied with the said requirements of control of financing of a political campaign. Thus, the legislator established the same amounts of the election deposit in all the laws on election with regard to submission of application documents of all the subjects that are in the same situation.

It also needs to be noted that the interrelations of the amounts of the election deposit with the corresponding amounts of the most recently announced AMWR in the national economy entrenched in the aforesaid laws on elections (as it has been mentioned, the amounts of the election deposit, applied in the latest elections to the Seimas, elections to the European Parliament as well as in the elections to municipal councils determined by the said interrelation with the amounts of the most recently announced AMWR in the national economy, were as follows: in the 2011 elections to municipal councils—LTL 2,056 (1 AMWR) for a self-nominated candidate and for a list of nominated candidates; in the 2009 elections to the European Parliament—LTL 46,400 (20 AMWRs); in the 2008 elections to the Seimas—LTL 2,151 (1 AMWR) for registration of a candidate in a single-member electoral constituency, LTL 43,020 (20 AMWR) for registration of a list of candidates in a multi-member electoral constituency) do not create preconditions to disproportionately restrict the possibility to implement the requirement entrenched in the impugned laws which is related to the payment of the election deposit.

37.4. It also needs to be noted that, while regulating the election relations, inter alia the preparation procedures of the elections to the Seimas, municipal councils as well as the European Parliament, related to nomination (self-nomination) and registration of candidates, the legislator enjoys the discretion bound by the Constitution to take account of the specificity of these elections (institutions elected in them) and to establish the corresponding (not necessarily equal) procedural requirements, inter alia related to the amounts of the election deposit or the compliance of the requirements of control of financing of electoral political campaigns which may have the influence on the corresponding increase of these amounts.

37.5. It needs to be noted that payment of the election deposit implies a certain risk and does not create the expectation defended by the Constitution that a certain person will be registered as a candidate for a Member of the Seimas, a Member of the European Parliament or a member of municipal councils as meeting all the established requirements, that the candidate will not revoke the application documents, etc.

Thus, the requirement (which is binding upon the submission of application documents of the one who is freely nominated or freely nominates himself as a candidate for a Member of the Seimas, a Member of the European Parliament and a member of municipal councils) that the election deposit has to have been paid in advance does not deny the right of the owner to property and does not limit this right in a disproportionate manner.

37.6. It also needs to be noted that, as it has been mentioned, from the adoption of the very first wordings of the Law on Elections to the Seimas and the Law on Elections to Municipal Councils, as well as while adopting and subsequently amending the Law on Elections to the European Parliament, the legislator has chosen the election deposit as one of the means to regulate the election relations, i.e. from the historical legal perspective, the election deposit is to be assessed as a tradition of regulating the election relations in the elections to the Seimas which took place in 1992, 1996, 2000, 2004 and 2008, as well as in the elections to municipal councils which took place in 1995, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2007 and 2011, and in the elections to the European Parliament which took place in 2004 and 2009. It is considered as a sufficiently significant circumstance in the context of the impugned (to the specified extent) legal regulation of the election relations.

37.7. It needs to be emphasised that submission of the application documents of candidates for Members of the Seimas, Members of the European Parliament and members of municipal councils seeking that these candidates would be registered must also be a responsible procedure of the elections (a part of the election process) and the persons seeking to participate in it must have serious intentions.

  1. Thus, the legal regulation entrenched (to the specified extent) in Item 7 of Paragraph 1 and Item 3 of Paragraph 2 of Article 38 of the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000) , Item 6 of Paragraph 1 of Article 37 of the Law on Elections to the European Parliament and Item 5 of Paragraph 1 of Article 35 of the Law on Elections to Municipal Councils (wording of 21 December 2006), under which, when the application documents of candidates for Members of the Seimas, Members of the European Parliament or members of municipal councils are submitted, the election deposit has to have been paid and the document attesting to that payment must be submitted, is to be assessed as a constitutionally grounded legal regulation of the election procedures creating preconditions to ensure that the elections to the Seimas, European Parliament and municipal councils would be a responsible political process and that the persons seeking to participate in this process as candidates for Members of the Seimas, Members of the European Parliament or members of municipal councils, would have serious intentions.
  2. Consequently, there is no enough ground to hold that the legal regulation entrenched (to the specified extent) in Item 7 of Paragraph 1 and Item 3 of Paragraph 2 of Article 38 of the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000), Item 6 of Paragraph 1 of Article 37 of the Law on Elections to the European Parliament and in Item 5 of Paragraph 1 of Article 35 of the Law on Elections to Municipal Councils (wording of 21 December 2006) which is linked to the payment of the election deposit and submission of the document attesting to that payment is (was) a deficient or disproportionate way chosen by the legislator to regulate the relations linked to the elections to the Seimas, European Parliament or municipal councils.
  3. It needs to be held that Item 7 of Paragraph 1 and Item 3 of Paragraph 2 of Article 38 of the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000), Item 6 of Paragraph 1 of Article 37 of the Law on Elections to the European Parliament and Item 5 of Paragraph 1 of Article 35 of the Law on Elections to Municipal Councils (wording of 21 December 2006), insofar as they establish that a document attesting to the payment of the election deposit must be filed (submitted) do (did) not deviate from the constitutional imperatives of a democratic state and democratic elections, the principle of direct application of the Constitution, do (did) not distort the constitutional requirements prescribed for the candidates for Members of the Seimas and members of municipal councils and do (did) not violate the constitutional principle of all persons’ equality before the law, the guarantees of inviolability of property and protection of the rights of ownership, as well as the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.
  4. Taking account of the arguments set forth, one is to draw a conclusion that Item 7 of Paragraph 1 and Item 3 of Paragraph 2 of Article 38 of the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000) and Item 6 of Paragraph 1 of Article 37 of the Law on Elections to the European Parliament, insofar as they establish that a document attesting to the payment of the election deposit must be filed (submitted), are not in conflict with the provision of Article 1 of the Constitution that the State of Lithuania is an independent democratic republic, also the provision of Paragraph 1 of Article 6 thereof that the Constitution is a directly applicable act, Paragraph 1 of Article 7, Article 23 and Paragraph 1 of Article 33 thereof, with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law, and one is also to draw a conclusion that Item 5 of Paragraph 1 of Article 35 of the Law on Elections to Municipal Councils (wording of 21 December 2006), insofar as it establishes that a document attesting to the payment of the election deposit must be filed, was not in conflict with the aforesaid provisions of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.
  5. It needs to be noted that, as it has been mentioned, on 30 June 2010, the Seimas adopted the Law on Amending the Law on Elections to Municipal Councils, which came into force on 20 July 2010. This law amended the Law on Elections to Municipal Councils (wording of 21 December 2006 with subsequent amendments and supplements) and set it forth in a new wording.
  6. Article 35 “Application Documents of Candidates for Members of Municipal Councils” of the Law on Elections to Municipal Councils (wording of 30 June 2010) inter alia prescribes:

“2. Upon the commencement of submission of application documents but not later than 40 days before elections, a party must submit to the Central Electoral Commission the following application documents: <...>

5) a document attesting to the payment of the election deposit; <...>

  1. Upon the commencement of submission of application documents but not later than 45 days before elections, a person who has decided to nominate himself as a candidate for a member of the municipal council (hereinafter referred to as an “aspirant for candidates”) must submit to the Central Electoral Commission the following application documents: <...>

3) a document attesting to the payment of the election deposit.”

Having compared the legal regulation established in Item 5 of Paragraph 2 and Item 3 of Paragraph 5 of Article 35 of the Law on Elections to Municipal Councils (wording of 30 June 2010) with one established in Item 5 of Paragraph 1 of Article 35 of the Law on Elections to Municipal Councils (wording of 21 December 2006) which (to the specified extent) is impugned in this constitutional justice case, it is obvious that the legal regulation whereby one establishes the requirement that the election deposit has to have been paid and a document attesting to that payment must be filed:

– is supplemented in the aspect that the election deposit has to have been paid and a document attesting to that payment must be submitted when submitting the application documents of not only nominated candidates (lists thereof), but also self-nominated candidates;

– did not essentially change in the aspect that the procedure of submission of application documents (registration of the lists of candidates) of all the candidates nominated for members of municipal councils is related to the requirement that the election deposit has to have been paid and a document attesting to that payment must be submitted.

  1. It needs to be noted that in its Ruling “On the compliance of Article 34 and Paragraphs 2, 3, 4 and 5 of Article 83 of the Republic of Lithuania Law on Elections to Municipal Councils (wording of 30 June 2010) and Paragraph 2 of Article 3 of the Republic of Lithuania Law on Funding of, and Control over Funding of, Political Parties and Political Campaigns (wording of 18 May 2010) with the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania” of 11 May 2011, the Constitutional Court recognised that Article 34 of the Law on Elections to Municipal Councils (wording of 30 June 2010), insofar as, once the legislator has chosen solely the proportional system of elections to municipal councils, it has established that, in a multi-member electoral constituency, individual persons not included in the lists of candidates may nominate themselves as candidates for members of the municipal council, also insofar as it has not established that permanent residents of administrative units of the territory of the Republic of Lithuania may be nominated as candidates to the councils of respective municipalities by being included in the lists of candidates for members of municipal councils that are drawn up also by entities other than political parties, was in conflict with Paragraph 2 of Article 119 of the Constitution.
  2. It also needs to be noted that up to now (i.e. prior to the end of consideration of this constitutional justice case), the Seimas has not amended the Law on Elections to Municipal Councils (wording of 30 June 2010) so that the aforesaid Constitutional Court ruling of 11 May 2011 would be implemented, i.e. the legal regulation which is recognised as being in conflict with the Constitution would be eliminated.
  3. It needs to be emphasised that in the Constitutional Court ruling of 11 May 2011 one did not investigate whether the provisions of Article 35 “Application Documents for the Nomination of Candidates for Members of Municipal Councils” of the Law on Elections to Municipal Councils (wording of 30 June 2010) were not in conflict with the Constitution, however, these provisions, inter alia the quoted Item 5 of Paragraph 2 and Item 3 of Paragraph 5 are essentially related to the legal regulation of nomination or self-nomination of candidates for members of municipal councils in a multi-member electoral constituency, which, in the specified aspects, is recognised as being in conflict with the Constitution in the Constitutional Court ruling of 11 May 2011.
  4. Therefore, even though Article 35 of the Law on Elections to Municipal Councils (wording of 30 June 2010), inter alia Item 5 of Paragraph 2 and Item 3 of Paragraph 5 thereof, are effective at present (this article has not been recognised as being in conflict with the Constitution), subsequent to the Constitutional Court ruling of 11 May 2011, in this constitutional justice case, it:

– may be assessed (investigated) only insofar as it regulates the relations linked to the submission of application documents, inter alia a document attesting to the payment of the election deposit, of candidates (lists thereof) nominated in a multi-member electoral constituency (Item 5 of Paragraph 2);

– may not be assessed (investigated) insofar as it regulates the relations linked to the submission of application documents, inter alia a document attesting to the payment of the election deposit, of a person, who has decided to nominate himself as a candidate for a member of municipal councils in a multi-member electoral constituency (Item 3 of Paragraph 5).

  1. Thus, in this constitutional justice case it may be decided whether Item 5 of Paragraph 2 of Article 35 of the Law on Elections to Municipal Councils (wording of 30 December 2010), insofar as it prescribed that a document attesting to the payment of the election deposit must be filed, is not in conflict with the Constitution.
  2. It has been mentioned that having compared the legal regulation established in the impugned (to the specified extent) Item 5 of Paragraph 1 of Article 35 of the Law on Elections to Municipal Councils (wording of 21 December 2006) with one established in Item 5 of Paragraph 2 of Article 35 of the Law on Elections to Municipal Councils (wording of 30 June 2010), it is obvious that the legal regulation did not essentially change in the aspect that the procedure of submission of application documents (registration of the lists of candidates) of all the candidates nominated for members of municipal councils is related to the requirement that the election deposit has to have been paid and a document attesting to that payment must be submitted.
  3. Having held that Item 5 of Paragraph 1 of Article 35 of the Law on Elections to Municipal Councils (wording of 21 December 2006), insofar as it established that a document attesting to the payment of the election deposit must be filed, was not in conflict with the provision of Article 1 of the Constitution that the State of Lithuania is an independent democratic republic, also the provision of Paragraph 1 of Article 6 thereof that the Constitution is a directly applicable act, Paragraph 1 of Article 7, Article 23 and Paragraph 1 of Article 33 thereof, with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law, on the grounds of the same arguments it also needs to be held that Item 5 of Paragraph 2 of Article 35 of the Law on Elections to Municipal Councils (wording of 30 June 2010), insofar as it establishes that a document attesting to the payment of the election deposit must be filed, is not in conflict with the provision of Article 1 of the Constitution that the State of Lithuania is an independent democratic republic, also the provision of Paragraph 1 of Article 6 thereof that the Constitution is a directly applicable act, Paragraph 1 of Article 7, Article 23 and Paragraph 1 of Article 33 thereof, and with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

III

On the compliance of the provisions of the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000) and the Law on Elections to the European Parliament, which consolidate the declaration of property, income as well as private interests of candidates, with the Constitution.

  1. It has been mentioned that in the constitutional justice case at issue it is investigated whether inter alia Item 5 (wording of 15 April 2008) of Paragraph 1 and Item 2 (wording of 15 April 2008) of Paragraph 2 of Article 38 of the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000) and Item 4 (wording of 8 May 2008) of Paragraph 1 of Article 37 of the Law on Elections to the European Parliament, insofar as they prescribe the requirement to file (submit) the extracts of the basic data from income and property declarations of candidates as well as their declaration of private interests, are not in conflict with the provision of Article 1 of the Constitution that the State of Lithuania is an independent democratic republic, also the provision of Paragraph 1 of Article 6 thereof that the Constitution is a directly applicable act, Paragraph 1 of Article 7 and Paragraph 1 of Article 33 thereof, as well as with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

 

The impugned legal regulation

  1. Thus, subsequent to the petitions of the petitioners it is investigated whether inter alia Item 5 (wording of 15 April 2008) of Paragraph 1 and Item 2 (wording of 15 April 2008) of Paragraph 2 of Article 38 of the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000), insofar as they prescribe the requirement to file (submit) the extracts of the basic data from income and property declarations of candidates as well as their declaration of private interests, are not in conflict with the Constitution.

2.1. It has been mentioned that, on 18 July 2000, the Seimas adopted the Law on Amending the Law on Elections to the Seimas (which came into force on 19 July 2000), by means of which the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 9 July 1992 with subsequent amendments and supplements) was set forth in a new wording.

The Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000) has been amended and/or supplemented more than once, inter alia by the Republic of Lithuania Law on Amending and Supplementing Articles 2, 51, 6, 7, 15, 16, 18, 21, 22, 23, 25, 31, 34, 37, 38, 39, 41, 51, 61, 65, 67, 671, 72, 74, 78, 82, 90 and 91 of the Law on Elections to the Seimas (which was adopted by the Seimas on 15 April 2008 and came into force on 30 April 2008), by Article 15 whereof inter alia Item 5 of Paragraph 1 and Item 2 of Paragraph 2 of Article 38 of the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000) were amended and set forth in a new wording.

2.2. Item 5 (wording of 15 April 2008) of Paragraph 1 of Article 38 “Application Documents for the Nomination of Candidates” of the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000), which is, to the specified extent, impugned in the constitutional justice case at issue, prescribes:

“1. A party must file with the Central Electoral Commission the following application documents: <...>

5) an obligation signed by each nominated candidate to terminate, if elected, his employment or any other activities incompatible with the status of the Member of the Seimas, the consent to be nominated by this party in a specific electoral constituency, a questionnaire for a candidate for a Member of the Seimas filled in by the candidate himself, as well as the extracts containing the basic data from the residents’ income tax and resident’s property declarations submitted to the State Tax Inspectorate, approved by that tax inspectorate to which the declarations have been submitted, as well as a declaration of private interests and a pledge of the form set by the Central Electoral Commission to comply with the prohibition to bribe voters and persons eligible to vote. The party may submit photographs and autobiography of each candidate.”

2.3. Thus, Item 5 (wording of 15 April 2008) of Paragraph 1 of Article 38 of the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000) enumerates part of the application documents that must be submitted by a party, which is nominating candidates for Members of the Seimas, inter alia this paragraph establishes the requirement to file, while submitting the application documents of nominated candidates for Members of the Seimas, the extracts containing the basic data from the residents’ income tax and resident’s property declarations, approved by the State Tax Inspectorate, as well as a declaration of private interests of each nominated candidate.

2.4. Item 2 (wording of 15 April 2008) of Paragraph 2 of Article 38 of the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000), which is, to the specified extent, also being impugned in the constitutional justice case at issue, prescribes:

“2. The person who decides to nominate himself as a candidate for a Member of the Seimas, must submit to the electoral commission of the constituency the following documents: <...>

2) a signed obligation to terminate, upon his election, his employment or any other activities incompatible with the status of the Member of the Seimas, a questionnaire for a candidate for a Member of the Seimas filled in by the candidate himself, as well as the extracts containing the basic data from the residents’ income tax and resident’s property declarations submitted to the State Tax Inspectorate, approved by that tax inspectorate to which the declarations have been submitted, as well as a declaration of private interests and a pledge of the form set by the Central Electoral Commission to comply with the prohibition to bribe voters and persons eligible to vote. The person may submit his photographs and autobiography.”

2.5. Thus, Item 2 (wording of 15 April 2008) of Paragraph 2 of Article 38 of the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000) enumerates part of the application documents that must be submitted by individual persons who decide to nominate themselves as candidates for Members of the Seimas, inter alia it establishes the requirement to file, while submitting the application documents of a self-nominated candidate for a Member of the Seimas, the extracts containing the basic data from the residents’ income tax and resident’s property declarations approved by the State Tax Inspectorate as well as a declaration of private interests of the candidate.

2.6. While construing the legal regulation impugned by the petitioners, which is entrenched in Item 5 (wording of 15 April 2008) of Paragraph 1 and Item 2 (wording of 15 April 2008) of Paragraph 2 of Article 38 of the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000), it needs to be noted that:

– the extracts containing the basic data from the residents’ income tax and resident’s property declarations as well as a declaration of private interests constitute part of the application documents that must be submitted when nominating candidates, or when one nominates oneself as a candidate, for Members of the Seimas;

– the submission of application documents of all candidates for Members of the Seimas is related to the requirement to submit the extracts containing the basic data from the residents’ income tax and resident’s property declarations as well as a declaration of private interests.

2.7. In this context it needs to be noted that, on 18 May 2010, the Seimas adopted the Law on Amending Articles 38, 39, 41, 45, 46, 48, 49, 50, 51, 52 and 53 of the Law on Elections to the Seimas (it came into force on 15 September 2010), which amended inter alia Article 38 (wording of 15 April 2008) of the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000), however the impugned Item 5 (wording of 15 April 2008) of Paragraph 1 and Item 2 (wording of 15 April 2008) of Paragraph 2 of Article 38 of the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000) have not been amended.

  1. In the constitutional justice case at issue, subsequent to the petitions of the petitioners it is also investigated whether Item 4 (wording of 8 May 2008) of Paragraph 1 of Article 37 of the Law on Elections to the European Parliament, insofar as it prescribes the requirement to file the extracts containing the basic data from income and property declarations of a candidate as well as his declaration of private interests, is not in conflict with the Constitution.

3.1. It has been mentioned that, on 20 November 2003, the Seimas adopted the Law on Elections to the European Parliament, which came into force on 10 December 2003.

This law has been amended and/or supplemented more than once, inter alia by the Republic of Lithuania Law on Amending and Supplementing Articles 3, 6, 8, 15, 17, 21, 22, 24, 25, 26, 29, 30, 32, 33, 36, 37, 38, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 54, 57, 59, 65, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70, 71, 72, 76, 77, 80, 86, 88 and 94 of the Law on Elections to the European Parliament and Supplementing the Law with Articles 41 and 651 (it was adopted by the Seimas on 8 May 2008 and came into force on 24 May 2008), by Article 17 whereof inter alia Item 4 of Paragraph 1 of Article 37 of the Law on Elections to the European Parliament was amended and set forth in a new wording.

3.2. Item 4 (wording of 8 May 2008) of Paragraph 1 of Article 37 “Application Documents for the Nomination of Candidates” of the Law on Elections to the European Parliament, which is, to the specified extent, impugned in the constitutional justice case at issue, prescribes:

“1. A party must file with the Central Electoral Commission the following application documents: <...>

4) a consent of each nominated candidate to be a candidate nominated by this party, a questionnaire filled in by the candidate for a Member to the European Parliament himself, as well as the extracts containing the basic data from the income and property declarations presented to the State Tax Inspectorate, approved by that tax inspectorate to which the declarations have been submitted, as well as a declaration of private interests and a pledge of the form set by the Central Electoral Commission to comply with the prohibition to bribe voters or persons eligible to vote. The party must also submit photographs and autobiography of each candidate.”

3.3. Thus, Item 4 (wording of 8 May 2008) of Paragraph 1 of Article 37 of the Law on Elections to the European Parliament enumerates part of the application documents that must be submitted by a party, which is nominating candidates for Members of the European Parliament, inter alia this paragraph establishes the requirement to file, while submitting the application documents of nominated candidates, the extracts containing the basic data from income and property declarations of each nominated candidate, approved by the State Tax Inspectorate, as well as a declaration of private interests of each nominated candidate.

3.4. While construing the legal regulation impugned by the petitioners, which is entrenched in Item 4 (wording of 8 May 2008) of Paragraph 1 of Article 37 of the Law on Elections to the European Parliament, it needs to be noted that:

– the extracts containing the basic data from income and property declarations as well as a declaration of private interests constitute part of the application documents that must be filed when nominating candidates for Members of the European Parliament;

– the submission of application documents of all candidates for Members of the European Parliament is related to the requirement to file the extracts containing the basic data from income and property declarations as well as a declaration of private interests.

3.5. In this context it needs to be noted that, on 18 May 2010, the Seimas adopted the Law on Amending Articles 37, 38, 40, 44, 45, 47, 48, 49, 50 and 51 of the Law on Elections to the European Parliament (which came into force on 15 September 2010), whereby one amended inter alia Article 37 (wording of 8 May 2008) of the Law on Elections to the European Parliament, however, the impugned Item 4 (wording of 8 May 2008) of Paragraph 1 of Article 37 of this law has not been amended.

3.6. In this context one also needs to note that, as mentioned, in its ruling of 9 November 2010 the Constitutional Court recognised that Article 36 (wording of 8 May 2008) of the Law on Elections to the European Parliament, insofar as it is established that citizens of the Republic of Lithuania as well as the citizens of other Member States of the European Union permanently residing in Lithuania may be elected to the European Parliament only if they are enlisted in the lists of candidates for Members of the European Parliament, which are drawn up by political parties, was in conflict with Paragraph 2 of Article 34 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

It also needs to be noted that, as mentioned, in its ruling of 9 November 2010 the Constitutional Court inter alia held: “Under the Constitution, such (proportional) electoral system entrenched in the Law on Elections to the European Parliament where the candidates entered into lists of political parties compete for mandates of Members of the European Parliament is allowed. However, the right of political parties to nominate candidates in elections to the European Parliament may not be entrenched as the exclusive one.”

  1. While summing up the impugned legal regulation, it needs to be noted that, in the aspect impugned in the constitutional justice case at issue, Item 5 (wording of 15 April 2008) of Paragraph 1 and Item 2 (wording of 15 April 2008) of Paragraph 2 of Article 38 of the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000) and Item 4 (wording of 8 May 2008) of Paragraph 1 of Article 37 of the Law on Elections to the European Parliament consolidate an analogous legal regulation, which establishes the requirement to submit, while submitting the application documents of candidates, the extracts (approved by the State Tax Inspectorate) containing the basic data from the residents’ income tax and resident’s property declarations (the extracts containing the basic data from the income and property declarations) as well as a declaration of private interests of each nominated candidate.

In this context it also needs to be noted that the content (scope) of the formulations “the basic data from the residents’ income tax and resident’s property declarations”, “the basic data from the income and property declarations” and “declaration of private interests” employed in Item 5 (wording of 15 April 2008) of Paragraph 1 and Item 2 (wording of 15 April 2008) of Paragraph 2 of Article 38 of the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000) and Item 4 (wording of 8 May 2008) of Paragraph 1 of Article 37 of the Law on Elections to the European Parliament, which are, to the specified extent, impugned in the constitutional justice case at issue, is not disclosed in the other provisions of these laws, thus, it is a subject of neither the impugned legal regulation, nor, on the whole, of the entire legal regulation entrenched in the Law on Elections to the Seimas and the Law on Elections to the European Parliament.

In other words, the legal regulation entrenched in Item 5 (wording of 15 April 2008) of Paragraph 1 and Item 2 (wording of 15 April 2008) of Paragraph 2 of Article 38 of the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000) and Item 4 (wording of 8 May 2008) of Paragraph 1 of Article 37 of the Law on Elections to the European Parliament does not establish as to what specifically (what concrete data) must be included in “the basic data from the residents’ income tax and resident’s property declarations”, “the basic data from the income and property declarations” and “declaration of private interests”, which constitute part of the application documents of candidates for Members of the Seimas and Members of the European Parliament.

  1. The impugned legal regulation is to be construed in the context of the provisions of other laws regulating the relations related to the declaration of income, property and private interests.
  2. In the context of the constitutional justice case at issue one needs to mention the following provisions of the Code of Conduct for State Politicians (approved by the Republic of Lithuania Law on the Approval, Entry into Force and Implementation of the Code of Conduct for State Politicians, which was adopted by the Seimas on 19 September 2006 and came into force on 1 October 2006):

– “The Code of Conduct for State Politicians of the Republic of Lithuania (hereinafter referred to as the Code) has the objective of implementing the constitutional principle that state institutions have to serve the people, also that of developing democratic governance, increasing confidence of society in state and municipal institutions and promoting the responsibility of state politicians and candidates for state politicians for their activities as well as their accountability to the public” (Paragraph 1 of Article 1);

– “‘Candidates for state politicians’ shall mean persons who are registered, in accordance with the procedure set forth by laws, as candidates for Members of the Seimas, the President of the Republic, Members of the European Parliament or members of a municipal council” (Paragraph 2 of Article 2);

– “This Code shall apply to candidates for state politicians to the extent they have to declare their private interests, as established by law” (Paragraph 3 of Article 3);

– “Candidates for state politicians shall declare their private interests in accordance with the procedure set forth by laws on elections, by submitting declarations of private interests to the Central Electoral Commission. The data of the declarations shall be public and announced in accordance with the procedure set forth by the Central Electoral Commission” (Paragraph 2 of Article 5).

While summing it up, it needs to be noted that the Code of Conduct for State Politicians consolidates the requirement that inter alia candidates for state politicians, thus, also candidates for Members of the Seimas and Members of the European Parliament, declare their private interests by submitting declarations of private interests; the said declarations must be submitted in accordance with the procedure set forth by laws on elections. It also needs to be noted that the aforementioned provisions of the Code of Conduct for State Politicians provide that the data of declarations of candidates for state politicians, inter alia candidates for Members of the Seimas and Members of the European Parliament, are public and must be announced in accordance with the procedure set forth by the Central Electoral Commission. By means of the declaration of private interests and by the publicity (announcement) of the data from the submitted declarations of private interests one pursues the objective of implementing the constitutional principle that state institutions have to serve the people, also that of developing democratic governance, increasing the confidence of society in state institutions and promoting the responsibility of state politicians and candidates for state politicians for their activities as well as their accountability to the public.

  1. In the context of the constitutional justice case at issue one also needs to mention the following provisions of Article 4 (wording of 1 July 2008) of the Republic of Lithuania Law on the Adjustment of Public and Private Interests in the State Service (wording of 17 February 2000):

– “A person in the state service shall declare his private interests in accordance with the procedure laid down in this Law and other legal acts, by submitting a declaration of private interests (hereinafter referred to as the declaration)” (Paragraph 1);

– “The provisions of this Law regarding the declaration of private interests shall also apply <...> to candidates for Members of the Seimas, <...> Members of the European Parliament. The candidates shall present declarations in accordance with the procedure laid down by election laws” (Paragraph 2).

While summing it up, it needs to be noted that Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 4 (wording of 1 July 2008) of the Law on the Adjustment of Public and Private Interests in the State Service (wording of 17 February 2000) consolidate the requirement that not only persons in the state service, but also inter alia candidates for Members of the Seimas and Members of the European Parliament declare their private interests by submitting declarations of private interests; the said latter persons must submit declarations of private interests in accordance with the procedure laid down by election laws.

It needs to be noted that the Law on the Adjustment of Public and Private Interests in the State Service (wording of 17 February 2000) has subsequently been amended and/or supplemented more than once, inter alia Paragraph 2 of Article 4 (wording of 1 July 2008) thereof has been subject to amendment, however, the legal regulation entrenched therein, which is of significance in the constitutional justice case at issue, has not been amended.

  1. While construing the impugned legal regulation, which is entrenched in Item 5 (wording of 15 April 2008) of Paragraph 1 and Item 2 (wording of 15 April 2008) of Paragraph 2 of Article 38 of the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000) and Item 4 (wording of 8 May 2008) of Paragraph 1 of Article 37 of the Law on Elections to the European Parliament, in conjunction with the legal regulation entrenched in Paragraph 2 of Article 2, Paragraph 3 of Article 3 and Paragraph 2 of Article 5 of the Code of Conduct for State Politicians and Paragraph 2 of Article 4 of the Law on the Adjustment of Public and Private Interests in the State Service (wording of 17 February 2000 with subsequent amendments and supplements), the following needs to be noted:

– the requirement that candidates for Members of the Seimas and Members of the European Parliament submit a declaration of private interests arises not only from the impugned legal regulation, which is entrenched in the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000) and the Law on Elections to the European Parliament, but also from the general legal regulation of declaration of private interests, which is entrenched in the Law on the Adjustment of Public and Private Interests in the State Service (wording of 17 February 2000 with subsequent amendments and supplements) and the Code of Conduct for State Politicians;

– the requirement that candidates for Members of the Seimas and Members of the European Parliament declare their private interests by submitting the application documents of candidates also means that the submission of declarations of private interests of candidates, by submitting the application documents of candidates, is such a procedure for submitting declarations of private interests of candidates that is, pursuant to Paragraph 2 of Article 4 of the Law on the Adjustment of Public and Private Interests in the State Service (wording of 17 February 2000 with subsequent amendments and supplements) and Paragraph 2 of Article 5 of the Code of Conduct for State Politicians, established in laws on elections.

In this context it needs to be noted that the publicity (and the announcement in accordance with the procedure set forth by the Central Electoral Commission) of a declaration of private interests (the data thereof), which constitutes part of application documents of candidates for Members of the Seimas and Members of the European Parliament, arises not from the impugned legal regulation, which is entrenched in Item 5 (wording of 15 April 2008) of Paragraph 1 and Item 2 (wording of 15 April 2008) of Paragraph 2 of Article 38 of the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000) and Item 4 (wording of 8 May 2008) of Paragraph 1 of Article 37 of the Law on Elections to the European Parliament, but from the overall legal regulation entrenched inter alia in Paragraph 2 of Article 5 of the Code of Conduct for State Politicians.

  1. In the context of the constitutional justice case at issue one also needs to mention the following provisions of the Republic of Lithuania Law on the Declaration of Property of Residents (wording of 18 December 2003):

– “This Law shall determine the declaration of property belonging to residents by the right of ownership and monetary funds held by them (hereinafter referred to as the ‘property’) <...>” (Article 1);

– “The following residents shall be subject to the declaration of property in accordance with this Law: <...> 2) candidates for state politicians and their family members; <...> 4) candidates for Members of the European Parliament elected for the Republic of Lithuania (hereinafter referred to as ‘candidates for Members of the European Parliament’) and their family members” (Paragraph 1 of Article 2);

– “Candidates for state politicians and for Members of the European Parliament and their family members must declare the property held on 31 December of the calendar year preceding the calendar year in which they run for office. The local tax administrator shall, within 15 working days from the date of submission of the declaration, issue these residents with the extracts containing the basic data of the declaration, in the form approved by the Central Electoral Commission, which they must submit to the Central Electoral Commission or the constituency electoral commission” (Paragraph 1 of Article 6).

While summing it up, it needs to be noted that the Law on the Declaration of Property of Residents (wording of 18 December 2003) consolidates the requirement that candidates for state politicians, thus, also candidates for Members of the Seimas and Members of the European Parliament, must declare the property (inter alia monetary funds) held by them and that they would do this in accordance with the procedure set by this law. It also needs to be noted that it is established in the law that candidates for state politicians are issued with the extracts containing the basic data from the declaration.

It needs to be noted that Articles 1, 2 and 6 of the Law on the Declaration of Property of Residents (wording of 18 December 2003) have subsequently been amended and/or supplemented more than once, however, the legal regulation of significance in the constitutional justice case at issue has not been amended.

  1. While construing the impugned legal regulation, which is entrenched in Item 5 (wording of 15 April 2008) of Paragraph 1 and Item 2 (wording of 15 April 2008) of Paragraph 2 of Article 38 of the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000) and Item 4 (wording of 8 May 2008) of Paragraph 1 of Article 37 of the Law on Elections to the European Parliament, in conjunction with the legal regulation entrenched in Article 1, Paragraph 1 of Article 2 and Paragraph 1 of Article 6 of the Law on the Declaration of Property of Residents (wording of 18 December 2003), the following needs to be noted:

– the requirement to submit the extracts containing the basic data from property declarations of candidates for Members of the Seimas and Members of the European Parliament arises not only from the impugned legal regulation, which is entrenched in the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2003) and the Law on Elections to the European Parliament, but also from the general legal regulation of declaration of property of residents, which is entrenched in the Law on the Declaration of Property of Residents (wording of 18 December 2003 with subsequent amendments and supplements);

– the requirement to submit, when submitting the application documents of candidates for Members of the Seimas and Members of the European Parliament, the extracts containing the basic data from property declarations of the candidates, means not the procedure for declaration of property of certain residents (candidates for Members of the Seimas and Members of the European Parliament), but the procedure for submission of the extracts (approved by the State Tax Inspectorate) containing the basic data from those declarations of property that must be submitted in accordance with the procedure set by the Law on the Declaration of Property of Residents (wording of 18 December 2003 with subsequent amendments and supplements). Thus, with the application documents of the candidate, one must submit only the basic extracts from the property declaration of the candidate, but not the declaration itself.

  1. In the constitutional justice case at issue one also needs to mention the following provisions of Article 27 of the Republic of Lithuania Law on the Income Tax of Residents (wording of 2 July 2002):

– “A permanent resident of Lithuania who during the tax period has received income, <...> must <...> file his annual income tax declaration with the tax administrator for the previous tax period and declare therein all the income received during the previous tax period and income tax calculated thereon, unless it is otherwise provided <...>” (Paragraph 1 (wording of 18 December 2003));

– “A resident who has an obligation to declare his property in accordance with the procedure set in the Law on the Declaration of Property of Residents, <...> must <...> file with the tax administrator his annual income tax declaration <...>” (Paragraph 4 (wording of 12 October 2004)).

While summing it up, it needs to be noted that the Law on the Income Tax of Residents (wording of 2 July 2002 with subsequent amendments and supplements) consolidates the requirement for certain persons (permanent residents) to submit an annual income tax declaration for the previous tax period and declare therein all the income received during that tax period as well as the income tax calculated thereon; it also establishes that an annual income tax declaration must be submitted by the persons (residents) who have an obligation to declare their property in accordance with the procedure set by the Law on the Declaration of Property of Residents.

It also needs to be noted that candidates for Members of the Seimas and Members of the European Parliament “have an obligation to declare their property in accordance with the procedure set by the Law on the Declaration of Property of Residents”, therefore, they must submit their annual income tax declaration; this declaration is submitted in accordance with the procedure set in the Law on the Income Tax of Residents.

It also needs to be noted that the Law on the Income Tax of Residents (wording of 2 July 2002 with subsequent amendments and supplements), inter alia Paragraphs 1 and 4 of Article 27 thereof, has subsequently been amended and supplemented more than once, however, the legal regulation of significance in the constitutional justice case at issue has not been amended.

  1. While construing the impugned legal regulation, which is entrenched in Item 5 (wording of 15 April 2008) of Paragraph 1 and Item 2 (wording of 15 April 2008) of Paragraph 2 of Article 38 of the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000) and Item 4 (wording of 8 May 2008) of Paragraph 1 of Article 37 of the Law on Elections to the European Parliament, in conjunction with the legal regulation entrenched in the Law on the Income Tax of Residents (wording of 2 July 2002 with subsequent amendments and supplements), the following needs to be noted:

– the requirement to submit the income declarations of candidates for Members of the Seimas and Members of the European Parliament arises not from the impugned legal regulation, but from the general legal regulation relating to the annual income tax declaration, which is entrenched in the Law on the Income Tax of Residents (wording of 2 July 2002 with subsequent amendments and supplements);

– the requirement to submit, when submitting the application documents of candidates for Members of the Seimas and Members of the European Parliament, the extracts (approved by the State Tax Inspectorate) containing the basic data from income declarations of the candidates, means not the procedure for declaration of income (the tax calculated thereon) of certain residents (candidates for Members of the Seimas and Members of the European Parliament), but the procedure for submission of the extracts containing the basic data from the annual income tax declaration of these residents that must be submitted in accordance with the procedure set by the Law on the Income Tax of Residents.

  1. In the context of the constitutional justice case at issue it needs to be noted that, while taking account of the overall legal regulation set forth, which is related to the submission of income and property declarations, inter alia the following two situations are possible:

– a person who has been nominated or who has nominated himself as a candidate for a Member of the Seimas or a Member of the European Parliament has already submitted his residents’ income tax and/or resident’s property declarations for the corresponding period on the other grounds established for declaration, and the submission of the application documents for nomination (or self-nomination) of this candidate is related only to the submission of the extracts containing the basic data from these existing (already submitted on other grounds) declarations;

– a person who has been nominated (or who has nominated himself) as a candidate for Members of the Seimas or Members of the European Parliament has not yet submitted his residents’ income tax and/or resident’s property declarations for the corresponding period on any other grounds established for declaration, and the submission of the application documents for nomination (or self-nomination) of this candidate is, first of all, related to the submission of these declarations in accordance with the procedure set in the Law on the Declaration of Property of Residents and/or the Law on the Income Tax of Residents and only then—to the submission of the extracts containing the basic data from these declarations inter alia in accordance with the procedure set by the impugned legal regulation.

Thus, it needs to be noted that, although in the case of the second situation a person must, first of all, submit his residents’ income tax and/or residents’ property declarations for the corresponding period, these declarations in themselves are not part of the application documents for nomination (self-nomination) of candidates: the requirement to submit the said declarations directly arises not from the legal regulation impugned by the petitioner, which is laid down in Item 5 (wording of 15 April 2008) of Paragraph 1 and Item 2 (wording of 15 April 2008) of Paragraph 2 of Article 38 of the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000) and Item 4 (wording of 8 May 2008) of Paragraph 1 of Article 37 of the Law on Elections to the European Parliament, but from the indicated legal regulation of the submission of the aforesaid declarations, which is laid down in Paragraph 1 of Article 2 and Paragraph 1 of Article 6 of the Law on the Declaration of Property of Residents (wording of 18 December 2003) as well as in Article 27 of the Law on the Income Tax of Residents (wording of 2 July 2002 with subsequent amendments and supplements).

  1. In the context of the constitutional justice case at issue it also needs to be noted that the processing, inter alia the announcement, of personal data, inter alia the basic data from the residents’ income tax and resident’s property declarations, which are part of the application documents for nomination of candidates for Members of the Seimas and Members of the European Parliament, is regulated by inter alia the Republic of Lithuania Law on Legal Protection of Personal Data.

In the context of the constitutional justice case at issue one needs to mention the following provisions of the Law on Legal Protection of Personal Data (wording of 21 January 2003):

– “‘Data processing’ shall mean any operation which is performed with personal data: <...> announcement <...>” (Paragraph 4 of Article 2);

– “Personal data must be: 1) collected for the specified and legitimate purposes determined before collecting personal data and later processed in a way compatible with those purposes; 2) processed accurately, fairly and lawfully <...>” (Paragraph 1 of Article 3);

– “The information about candidates, which is compiled by the Central Electoral Commission on the basis of the application documents and other documents submitted by candidates or their representatives and which is announced on the Internet website, <...> may be revised after the announcement <...> only for the purposes of correction of language mistakes or when the information on the Internet website differs from the information in the application documents and other documents delivered at the time prescribed by legal acts. Personal identification numbers of the candidates and any other persons, also numbers of the documents confirming their citizenship or their personal identity, and the exact address (street, number of the house, number of the apartment) of their place of residence may not be made public on the Internet website” (Paragraph 2 of Article 11).

While summing it up, it needs to be noted that, under the Law on Legal Protection of Personal Data (wording of 21 January 2003), the data obtained on the basis of the extracts containing the basic data from income and property declarations, which are part of the application documents for nomination of candidates for Members of the Seimas and Members of the European Parliament, may be announced, for the purposes of elections and in observance of the requirements for processing personal data, inter alia on the Internet website; the Central Electoral Commission, while observing the requirements for data processing, inter alia the principles of good faith and lawfulness, may announce on the Internet website such information about candidates for Members of the Seimas and Members of the European Parliament that is compiled on the basis of the submitted application documents, inter alia the extracts containing the basic data from residents’ income tax and resident’s property declarations, with the exception of numbers of the documents confirming personal codes, citizenship or personal identity as well as the exact addresses of the place of residence.

It also needs to be mentioned that the Law on Legal Protection of Personal Data (wording of 21 January 2003) has subsequently been amended and/or supplemented more than once, inter alia by the Republic of Lithuania Law on Amending the Law on Legal Protection of Personal Data adopted on 1 February 2008 (it came into force on 1 January 2009), which amended the law and set it forth in a new wording, however, the legal regulation of significance in the constitutional justice case at issue has not been amended.

  1. While construing the impugned legal regulation, which is entrenched in Item 5 (wording of 15 April 2008) of Paragraph 1 and Item 2 (wording of 15 April 2008) of Paragraph 2 of Article 38 of the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000) and Item 4 (wording of 8 May 2008) of Paragraph 1 of Article 37 of the Law on Elections to the European Parliament, in conjunction with the legal regulation entrenched in the Law on Legal Protection of Personal Data (wordings of 21 January 2003 and 1 February 2008), the following needs to be noted:

– the processing, inter alia the announcement, of the data from the indicated declarations, which are part of the application documents for nomination of candidates for Members of the Seimas and Members of the European Parliament, is regulated inter alia by the Law on Legal Protection of Personal Data, thus, it is not a subject matter of the legal regulation entrenched in Item 5 (wording of 15 April 2008) of Paragraph 1 and Item 2 (wording of 15 April 2008) of Paragraph 2 of Article 38 of the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000) and Item 4 (wording of 8 May 2008) of Paragraph 1 of Article 37 of the Law on Elections to the European Parliament, which is impugned in the constitutional justice case at issue;

– the requirement to submit, while submitting the application documents of candidates, the extracts containing the basic data from income (the tax calculated thereon) and property declarations as well as a declaration of private interests, does not in itself imply that all the submitted data from the declarations must be announced, i.e. this requirement does not create preconditions to announce all the submitted data of declarations, inter alia those the announcement whereof is prohibited under the Law on Legal Protection of Personal Data (wordings of 21 January 2003 and 1 February 2008).

  1. While summing up the set off overall legal regulation entrenched in all the aforementioned laws, in the context of the constitutional justice case at issue it needs to be noted that the requirement that candidates for Members of the Seimas and Members of the European Parliament declare their income, property and their private interests arises not from the impugned legal regulation, which is laid down in Item 5 (wording of 15 April 2008) of Paragraph 1 and Item 2 (wording of 15 April 2008) of Paragraph 2 of Article 38 of the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000) and Item 4 (wording of 8 May 2008) of Paragraph 1 of Article 37 of the Law on Elections to the European Parliament, but from the legal regulation laid down, to the corresponding extent, in the aforementioned provisions of the Law on the Adjustment of Public and Private Interests in the State Service (wording of 17 February 2000 with subsequent amendments and/or supplements), the Code of Conduct for State Politicians, the Law on the Declaration of Property of Residents (wording of 18 December 2003 with subsequent amendments and/or supplements) and the Law on the Income Tax of Residents (wording of 2 July 2002 with subsequent amendments and/or supplements).
  2. It needs to be noted that the legal regulation entrenched in the indicated provisions of the Law on the Adjustment of Public and Private Interests in the State Service (wording of 17 February 2000 with subsequent amendments and/or supplements), the Code of Conduct for State Politicians, the Law on the Declaration of Property of Residents (wording of 18 December 2003 with subsequent amendments and/or supplements), the Law on the Income Tax of Residents (wording of 2 July 2002 with subsequent amendments and/or supplements) and the Law on Legal Protection of Personal Data (wordings of 21 January 2003 and 1 February 2008 with subsequent amendments and/or supplements) is not a subject matter of investigation in the constitutional justice case at issue.

 

Historical comparative aspects

  1. The institute of the declaration of income and property of candidates for Members of the Seimas is not a novel in the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000).

18.1. In the Law on Elections to the Seimas adopted by the Supreme Council-Reconstituent Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania on 9 July 1992 a person’s candidacy for Members of the Seimas and the submission of corresponding application documents was not yet related to the submission of the candidate’s property and interests declarations or extracts thereof.

18.2. Item 5 (“A party or a political organisation must submit <...> the following application documents: <...> 5) an extract containing the basic data from <...> the income and property declarations <...> of each nominated candidate <...> ”) of Paragraph 1 and Item 2 (“A person who decides to nominate himself as a candidate for Members of the Seimas <...> must submit: <...> 2) <...> an extract containing the basic data from <...> the income and property declarations <...>”) of Paragraph 2 of Article 38 “Application Documents for Nomination of Candidates” of the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 27 June 1996) for the first time set the requirement to submit, while submitting the application documents of candidates for Members of the Seimas, an extract containing the basic data from the income and property declarations of a candidate for a Member of the Seimas, i.e. the said extract must be a constituent part of the application documents for nomination (self-nomination) of candidates.

18.3. Prior to setting forth the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 27 June 1996) in a new wording by means of the Law on Amending the Law on Elections to the Seimas adopted by the Seimas on 18 July 2000, Article 38 of the Law on Elections to the Seimas had not been amended or supplemented.

18.4. The legal regulation established in Item 5 of Paragraph 1 and Item 2 of Paragraph 2 of Article 38 “Application Documents for Nomination of Candidates” of the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000) did not change in the aspect that it retained the requirement to submit an extract of the basic data from income and property declarations of each nominated (self-nominated) candidate for Members of the Seimas, as one of the application documents.

18.5. Item 5 (“<...> must submit <...> the extracts containing the basic data from <...> the residents’ income tax and resident’s property declarations <...> of each nominated candidate <...>”) of Paragraph 1 and Item 2 (“<...> must submit <...> the extracts containing the basic data from <...> the residents’ income tax and resident’s property declarations <...>”) of Paragraph 2 of Article 38 (wording of 18 December 2003) of the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000) consolidated such regulation of disclosure of income and property of all candidates for Members of the Seimas that implied the submission of the extracts containing the basic data from two—income and property—declarations.

18.6. Item 5 (“<...> must submit <...> the extracts containing the basic data from the residents’ income tax and resident’s property declarations, <...>, as well as a declaration of private interests <...> of each nominated candidate <...>”) of Paragraph 1 and Item 2 (“<...> must submit <...> the extracts containing the basic data from the residents’ income tax and resident’s property declarations, <...>, as well as a declaration of private interests <...>”) of Paragraph 2 of Article 38 (wording of 15 April 2008) of the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000) have expanded the legal regulation entrenched therein, i.e. for the first time, it has been related to the declaration of private interests of all candidates for Members of the Seimas.

18.7. While summing up all the indicated provisions of the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wordings of 27 June 1996 and 18 July 2000), in the context of the constitutional justice case at issue it needs to be noted that:

– from 27 June 1996 till 18 December 2003 the law established the requirement to submit an extract containing the basic data from income and property declarations of each nominated (self-nominated) candidate for Members of the Seimas, as one of the application documents;

– from 18 December 2003 till 15 April 2008 the law established the requirements to submit the extracts containing the basic data from the residents’ income tax and resident’s property declarations of each nominated (self-nominated) candidate for Members of the Seimas, as part of the application documents;

– from 18 December 2003 the legal regulation has been supplemented (expanded) in the aspect that the law has established the requirements to submit not only the extracts containing the basic data from the residents’ income tax and resident’s property declarations of each nominated (self-nominated) candidate for Members of the Seimas, but their declaration of private interests as well.

18.8. Thus, from 27 June 1996 till the present, the legislator, while establishing the procedure for elections to the Seimas, has upheld the position that the candidacy of all persons for Members of the Seimas, i.e. the submission of application documents of candidates (and the registration of these candidates) must be correspondingly related to the submission of certain declarations (extracts containing the basic data thereof).

Consequently, the procedure for elections to the Seimas has already for a long time been based upon inter alia the principle that the disclosure of property, income and the interests possibly related thereto (a certain submission of declarations or extracts containing the basic data thereof) must be a constituent part of the submission of application documents of all nominated and self-nominated candidates for Members of the Seimas (and a constituent part of registration of these candidates).

  1. It needs to be noted that the institute of declaration of income and property of candidates for Members of the European Parliament is also not a novel in Item 6 of Paragraph 1 of Article 37 (wording of 8 May 2008) of the Law on Elections to the European Parliament, which is also impugned in the constitutional justice case at issue.

19.1. Item 4 (“<...> must file <...> the following application documents: <...> 4) <...> the extracts containing the basic data from the income and property declarations of each nominated candidate presented to the State Tax Inspectorate, approved by that tax inspectorate to which the declarations have been submitted”) of Paragraph 1 of Article 37 “Application Documents for Nomination of Candidates” of the Law on Elections to the European Parliament, which was adopted by the Seimas on 20 November 2003, inter alia consolidated the requirement to submit, while submitting the application documents of nominated candidates (lists of candidates), the extracts containing the basic data from income and property declarations of each nominated candidate.

19.2. Item 4 (“<...> must file <...> the following application documents: <...> 4) <...> the extracts containing the basic data from the income and property declarations of each nominated candidate, <...> as well as a declaration of private interests <...>”) of Paragraph 1 of Article 37 (wording of 8 May 2008) of the Law on Elections to the European Parliament supplemented the previous legal regulation in the aspect that it established the requirements to submit, as part of the application documents, not only the extracts containing the basic data from income and property declarations of each nominated candidate for Members of the European Parliament, but their declaration of private interests as well.

19.3. It needs to be noted that Article 37 (wording of 8 May 2008) of the Law on Elections to the European Parliament was later amended by the Law on Amending Articles 37, 38, 40, 44, 45, 47, 48, 49, 50 and 51 of the Law on Elections to the European Parliament adopted by the Seimas on 18 May 2010 (it came into force on 15 September 2010), however, Item 4 of Paragraph 1 of this article has not been amended or supplemented.

19.4. While summing up the indicated provisions of Article 37 (wordings of 20 November 2003, 8 May 2008 and 18 May 2010) of the Law on Elections to the European Parliament, in the context of the constitutional justice case at issue it needs to be noted that:

– from 20 November 2003 till 8 May 2008 the law set the requirement to submit, as part of the application documents, the extracts containing the basic data from income and property declarations of each nominated candidate for a Member of the European Parliament;

– from 8 May 2008 the legal regulation has been supplemented in the aspect that the law has established the requirements to submit, as part of the application documents, not only the extracts containing the basic data from income and property declarations of each nominated candidate for a Member of the European Parliament, but their declaration of private interests as well.

19.5. Thus, from 20 November 2003 till the present, in the Law on Elections to the European Parliament, the legislator has upheld the position that the submission of application documents of candidates for Members of the European Parliament must be related to the submission of corresponding declarations (extracts containing the basic data thereof).

Consequently, the candidacy of persons for Members of the European Parliament, which is regulated in the Law on Elections to the European Parliament (with subsequent amendments and supplements) adopted by the Seimas on 20 November 2003, has already for a long time been based upon inter alia the principle that the disclosure (submission of declarations) of income, property and the interests possibly related thereto must be a constituent part of the submission of application documents of all nominated candidates for Members of the European Parliament.

  1. While summing up the development of the indicated provisions of the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wordings of 27 June 1996, 18 July 2000 and 18 May 2010) and the Law on Elections to the European Parliament, it needs to be noted that the legal norms establishing the disclosure of certain information significant to a voter about the property, income and the possible interests related thereto of candidates for Members of the Seimas and Members of the European Parliament, from the historical legal perspective, are to be assessed as a tradition of legal regulation of elections.

 

The compliance of the provisions under investigation with the Constitution

  1. It has been mentioned that in the constitutional justice case at issue it is investigated whether inter alia Item 5 (wording of 15 April 2008) of Paragraph 1 and Item 2 (wording of 15 April 2008) of Paragraph 2 of Article 38 of the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000) and Item 4 (wording of 8 May 2008) of Paragraph 1 of Article 37 of the Law on Elections to the European Parliament, insofar as they prescribe the requirement to file (submit) the extracts containing the basic data from income and property declarations of candidates as well as their declaration of private interests, are not in conflict with the provision of Article 1 of the Constitution that the State of Lithuania is an independent democratic republic, also the provision of Paragraph 1 of Article 6 thereof that the Constitution is a directly applicable act, Paragraph 1 of Article 7 and Paragraph 1 of Article 33 thereof, as well as with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.
  2. The doubts of the groups of Members of the Seimas, the petitioners, regarding the compliance of the legal regulation establishing the declaration of property, income and interests of candidates for Members of the Seimas and Members of the European Parliament are substantiated inter alia by the fact that, if laws establish a different legal regulation competing with a constitutional regulation, the constitutional norms and principles establishing the requirements (conditions) for a person who is eligible to stand in elections are denied. A petitioner (petition No. 1B-22/2010) also noted that the impugned legal regulation consolidates additional obligations with respect to the persons seeking to exercise their passive electoral right—they must submit the declarations on their legal status, which are not provided for by the Constitution; these additional limitations of the right to be elected are, according to the petitioner, absolutely groundless.
  3. It has been mentioned that, in the aspect impugned in the constitutional justice case at issue, Item 5 (wording of 15 April 2008) of Paragraph 1 and Item 2 (wording of 15 April 2008) of Paragraph 2 of Article 38 of the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000) and Item 4 (wording of 8 May 2008) of Paragraph 1 of Article 37 of the Law on Elections to the European Parliament consolidate an analogous legal regulation, which establishes the requirement to submit, while submitting the application documents of candidates, the extracts containing the basic data from the residents’ income tax and resident’s property declarations (the extracts containing the basic data from income and property declarations), approved by the State Tax Inspectorate, as well as a declaration of private interests of each nominated candidate.
  4. In this Constitutional Court ruling one has already disclosed the official constitutional concept of the fundamental elements of a state under the rule of law as well as those of active and passive electoral right.
  5. While deciding whether Item 5 (wording of 15 April 2008) of Paragraph 1 and Item 2 (wording of 15 April 2008) of Paragraph 2 of Article 38 of the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000) and Item 4 (wording of 8 May 2008) of Paragraph 1 of Article 37 of the Law on Elections to the European Parliament, to the specified extent, are not in conflict with the provision of Article 1 of the Constitution that the State of Lithuania is an independent democratic republic, also the provision of Paragraph 1 of Article 6 thereof that the Constitution is a directly applicable act, Paragraph 1 of Article 7 and Paragraph 1 of Article 33 thereof, as well as with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law, one needs to note the following provisions of the official constitutional doctrine:

– the Constitution guarantees and safeguards the interest of the public to be informed (inter alia Constitutional Court rulings of 8 July 2005, 19 September 2005, 29 September 2005, 21 December 2006 and 17 November 2011);

– the interest of the public to be informed assumes especial importance in the process of elections to political representative institutions (Constitutional Court ruling of 17 November 2011);

– while ensuring the right of citizens to participate in the governance of their state, as entrenched in Paragraph 1 of Article 33 of the Constitution, inter alia through democratically elected representatives, the legislator must create preconditions to reflect the will of voters, inter alia to ensure the transparency of the election process, honest competition among subjects implementing the passive electoral right, as well as the publicity of the information important to voters regarding these subjects (Constitutional Court ruling of 17 November 2011);

– under the Constitution, the legislator has powers to establish in the election laws such requirements (conditions) to a person who is eligible to stand in elections that are constitutionally grounded.

25.1. Thus, under the Constitution, the legislator, while regulating the relations of elections related to inter alia election procedures, may establish inter alia such constitutionally justified procedures for the implementation of the passive electoral right by means of which (by applied procedural requirements) it is sought to ensure the transparency of the election process and the publicity of the information significant to voters about the subjects implementing the passive electoral right.

In the context of the constitutional justice case at issue it needs to be noted that, under the Constitution, the information significant to a voter about the subjects implementing the passive electoral right may be considered inter alia to include the corresponding data on property, income and private interests submitted by candidates for members of political representative institutions in accordance with the procedure set by the law. Under the Constitution, the legislator may seek to ensure the public interest to be informed as well as the fairness and transparency of the election process by establishing inter alia such legal regulation under which it would be required that candidates for members of political representative institutions would declare their property, income and private interests.

25.2. It needs to be noted that from the Constitution a duty arises for the legislator to establish by law such legal regulation that would ensure the fairness and transparency of elections to the Seimas—the necessary preconditions for the trust in the representation of the Nation (Constitutional Court conclusions of 5 November 2004 and 7 November 2008).

The said provision of the official constitutional doctrine is mutatis mutandis also applicable where the legislator regulates the relations of other elections, inter alia elections to the European Parliament. In this context it needs to be noted that, as the Constitutional Court has already held, the European Parliament is not the representation of the Nation, however, it is to be regarded as a political representative institution of the European Union, whose election procedure in the concrete Member State of the European Union is established by the legislator of the corresponding Member State (Constitutional Court ruling of 9 November 2010).

25.3. In the context of the constitutional justice case at issue it also needs to be noted that during the election process real possibilities must be created for persons implementing the active electoral right, who decide on the eligibility of a candidate to be a member of the municipal council, to receive information about the major facts of such person’s life, which may be of significance when representing the interests of voters and handling public affairs (Constitutional Court ruling of 17 November 2011).

This provision of the official constitutional doctrine is mutatis mutandis also applicable in regulating all other relations of elections, inter alia elections to the Seimas as well as elections to the European Parliament.

25.4. In this context it needs to be noted that, as mentioned, the impugned legal regulation, which is entrenched in Item 5 (wording of 15 April 2008) of Paragraph 1 and Item 2 (wording of 15 April 2008) of Paragraph 2 of Article 38 of the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000) and Item 4 (wording of 8 May 2008) of Paragraph 1 of Article 37 of the Law on Elections to the European Parliament, does not establish as to what concretely (what concrete data) must be included in “the basic data from the residents’ income tax and resident’s property declarations”, “the basic data from the income and property declarations” and “a declaration of private interests”, which constitute part of application documents of candidates for Members of the Seimas and Members of the European Parliament, i.e. the impugned requirement, on the whole, arises not from the legal regulation that is under investigation in the constitutional justice case at issue, but from the legal regulation laid down in the aforementioned provisions of the Law on the Adjustment of Public and Private Interests in the State Service (wording of 17 February 2000 with subsequent amendments and supplements), the Code of Conduct for State Politicians, the Law on the Declaration of Property of Residents (wording of 18 December 2003 with subsequent amendments and supplements) and the Law on the Income Tax of Residents (wording of 2 July 2002 with subsequent amendments and supplements).

25.5. It needs to be noted that, as mentioned, the processing, inter alia the announcement, of the data from the indicated declarations, which are part of the application documents for nomination of candidates for Members of the Seimas and Members of the European Parliament, is regulated inter alia by the Law on Legal Protection of Personal Data (wordings of 21 January 2003 and 1 February 2008), thus, it is not a subject matter of the legal regulation entrenched in Item 5 (wording of 15 April 2008) of Paragraph 1 and Item 2 (wording of 15 April 2008) of Paragraph 2 of Article 38 of the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000) and Item 4 (wording of 8 May 2008) of Paragraph 1 of Article 37 of the Law on Elections to the European Parliament, which is impugned in the constitutional justice case at issue.

In this context it needs to be emphasised that the impugned legal regulation consolidates the requirement to submit, while submitting the application documents of candidates, the extracts containing the basic data from income and property declarations as well as a declaration of private interests, does not in itself imply that all the submitted data from the declarations must be announced, i.e. this requirement does not create preconditions to announce all the submitted data from the declarations, inter alia those the announcement whereof is prohibited under the Law on Legal Protection of Personal Data (wordings of 21 January 2003 and 8 February 2008).

25.6. It needs to be noted that, as mentioned, under the impugned legal regulation, the submission of application documents of all candidates for Members of the Seimas and all candidates for Members of the European Parliament is related to the requirement to submit the extracts containing the basic data from the residents’ income tax and resident’s property declarations as well as a declaration of private interests.

25.7. It also needs to be noted that the legislator has already for a long time opted for such legal regulation of the procedures for submitting application documents of candidates for Members of the Seimas and Members of the European Parliament that involves inter alia the submission of the appropriate declarations (the basic data thereof), i.e. the legal norms prescribing the disclosure of certain information significant to a voter about the property and income of candidates for Members of the Seimas and Members of the European Parliament and the possible interests relating thereto, from the historical legal perspective, are to be assessed as a tradition of the legal regulation of elections. The said fact is to be deemed a fairly significant circumstance in the context of the impugned (to the specified extent) legal regulation of election relations.

25.8. As mentioned, under the Constitution, the legislator, while regulating the relations of elections related to inter alia election procedures, may establish inter alia such constitutionally justified procedures for the implementation of the passive electoral right by means of which (by applied procedural requirements) it is sought to ensure the transparency of the electoral process and the publicity of the information significant to voters about the subjects implementing the passive electoral right.

It has also been mentioned that, under the Constitution, the information significant to a voter about the subjects implementing the passive electoral right may be considered inter alia to include the corresponding data on property, income and private interests submitted by candidates for members of political representative institutions in accordance with the procedure set by the law.

It has been noted that, under the Constitution, the legislator may seek to ensure the public interest to be informed as well as the fairness and transparency of the election process by establishing inter alia such legal regulation under which it would be required that candidates for members of political representative institutions would declare their property, income and private interests.

  1. Thus, the legal regulation entrenched in Item 5 (wording of 15 April 2008) of Paragraph 1 and Item 2 (wording of 15 April 2008) of Paragraph 2 of Article 38 of the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000) and Item 4 (wording of 8 May 2008) of Paragraph 1 of Article 37 of the Law on Elections to the European Parliament, which prescribes the requirement for candidates to submit, while submitting the application documents, the extracts containing the basic data from their income and property declarations as well as their declaration of private interests, is to be assessed as constitutionally grounded and creating preconditions to ensure the transparency of the election process and the opportunity for voters to receive the information significant to them about the subjects implementing the passive electoral right as well as preconditions to secure the public interest to be informed in the process of elections to political representative institutions.
  2. Consequently, there is no ground to maintain that the legal regulation entrenched in Item 5 (wording of 15 April 2008) of Paragraph 1 and Item 2 (wording of 15 April 2008) of Paragraph 2 of Article 38 of the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000) and Item 4 (wording of 8 May 2008) of Paragraph 1 of Article 37 of the Law on Elections to the European Parliament, which prescribes the requirement for candidates to submit, while submitting the application documents, the extracts containing the basic data from their income and property declarations as well as their declaration of private interests, is a deficient or disproportionate way opted for by the legislator in order to ensure the transparency of the process of elections to the Seimas and elections to the European Parliament as well as the opportunity for voters to receive the information significant to them about the subjects implementing the passive electoral right.
  3. It needs to be held that there is no legal ground to maintain that the legal regulation entrenched in Item 5 (wording of 15 April 2008) of Paragraph 1 and Item 2 (wording of 15 April 2008) of Paragraph 2 of Article 38 of the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000) and Item 4 (wording of 8 May 2008) of Paragraph 1 of Article 37 of the Law on Elections to the European Parliament, whereby the submission of application documents of candidates is related to an obligatory submission of the extracts containing the basic data from income and property declarations as well as a declaration of private interests, denies or distorts the passive electoral right guaranteed by the Constitution, inter alia the requirements for a person who is eligible to stand in elections of Members of the Seimas, or deviates from the requirements arising from the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.
  4. Taking account of the arguments set forth, one is to draw a conclusion that Item 5 (wording of 15 April 2008) of Paragraph 1 and Item 2 (wording of 15 April 2008) of Paragraph 2 of Article 38 of the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000) and Item 4 (wording of 8 May 2008) of Paragraph 1 of Article 37 of the Law on Elections to the European Parliament, insofar as they prescribe the requirement to file (submit) the extracts of the basic data from income and property declarations of candidates as well as their declaration of private interests, are not in conflict with the provision of Article 1 of the Constitution that the State of Lithuania is an independent democratic republic, also the provision of Paragraph 1 of Article 6 thereof that the Constitution is a directly applicable act, Paragraph 1 of Article 7 and Paragraph 1 of Article 33 thereof, as well as with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

IV

On the compliance of the provisions of the Law on Funding of, and Control Over Funding of, Political Parties and Political Campaigns (wording of 23 August 2004), which entrenched the requirement that an agreement of an independent political campaign participant be concluded with the political campaign treasurer, with the Constitution.

  1. It has been mentioned that in the constitutional justice case at issue it is investigated whether inter alia Paragraph 18 of Article 2 (wording of 10 June 2008), Paragraph 2, Items 2 and 4 of Paragraph 3 and Item 3 of Paragraph 4 of Article 5 and Paragraph 2 of Article 20 of the Law on Funding of, and Control Over Funding of, Political Parties and Political Campaigns (wording of 23 August 2004), insofar as it was prescribed therein that an independent political campaign participant must conclude the agreement with the political campaign treasurer, were not in conflict with the provision of Article 1 of the Constitution that the State of Lithuania is an independent democratic republic, also the provision of Paragraph 1 of Article 6 thereof that the Constitution is a directly applicable act, Paragraph 1 of Article 7 and Paragraph 1 of Article 33 thereof, as well as with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

 

The impugned legal regulation

  1. On 23 August 2004, the Seimas adopted the Law on Funding of, and Control over Funding of, Political Parties and Political Campaigns which, with certain exceptions, came into force on 10 September 2004.

2.1. Paragraph 18 (which to the specified extent is impugned in the constitutional justice case at issue) of Article 2 “The Main Definitions of this Law” (wording of 10 June 2008) of the Law on Funding of, and Control Over Funding of, Political Parties and Political Campaigns (wording of 23 August 2004) prescribed: “‘Aspirant’ means a natural person who satisfies the requirements of laws for standing as a candidate and is able of being an independent participant of political campaign during the period from the start of a political campaign to the end of submission of application documents, who has declared that he will stand as a candidate, has concluded an agreement with the political campaign treasurer and has received in accordance with the procedure laid down by the Central Electoral Commission an authorisation to participate in a political campaign as an independent participant of political campaign.”

2.2. Thus, while defining the notion of an aspirant—an independent participant of political campaign—in Paragraph 18 (which to the specified extent is impugned in the constitutional justice case at issue) of Article 2 (wording of 10 June 2008) of the Law on Funding of, and Control Over Funding of, Political Parties and Political Campaigns (wording of 23 August 2004), requirements were established for a person, who seeks to become an aspirant, inter alia the requirement to conclude an agreement with the political campaign treasurer.

2.3. Paragraph 18 of Article 5 “Registration of a natural person or a political party as an independent participants of political campaign” (Paragraph 2, Items 2 and 4 of Paragraph 3 and Item 3 of Paragraph 4 whereof to the specified extent are impugned in the constitutional justice case at issue) of the Law on Funding of, and Control Over Funding of, Political Parties and Political Campaigns (wording of 23 August 2004) inter alia prescribed:

“2. Those wishing to register as independent participants of political campaign must conclude an agreement with the political campaign treasurer, have an account in a bank registered in the Republic of Lithuania, which will be used as the special bank account.

  1. A political party which wishes to be registered or re-registered, to register a candidate or a list of candidates, nominated by it, as an independent participant of political campaign:

1) must submit to the Central Electoral Commission a proposal (application) for registration (re-registration) as an independent participant of political campaign and may submit an application (applications) for registration of a candidate or a list of candidates, nominated by it, as an independent participant of political campaign;

2) must submit to the Central Electoral Commission in accordance with the procedure laid down by this Law a copy of the property trust agreement signed by the political party with the political campaign treasurer, and may submit a copy of the audit contract with the political campaign auditor;

3) must submit to the Central Electoral Commission the document confirming that the political party has a bank account which will be used as the special bank account, and the document about the funds in this account;

4) if an application (applications) for registration a candidate or a list of candidates as an independent participant of political campaign has been submitted, the Central Electoral Commission must be provided with a copy of the appropriate agreement with his political campaign treasurer and the document confirming the presence of a bank account which will be used as the special bank account, the document about the funds in this account; a copy of the audit contract with the political campaign auditor may also be submitted to the Central Electoral Commission;

5) may submit to the Central Electoral Commission a list of representative participants of political campaign, in which the expenditure limits for a representative participant of political campaign may be indicated.

  1. A natural person who wishes to be registered as a political campaign participant must submit to the Central Electoral Commission the following:

1) an application for registration as an independent participant of political campaign;

2) a document confirming his identity;

3) a copy of the property trust agreement with the political campaign treasurer, signed in accordance with the procedure laid down by this Law, and may submit a copy of the audit contract with the political campaign auditor;

4) a document confirming that a bank account has been opened in his name, which will be used as the special bank account, and a document about the funds in this account. <...>”

2.4. Thus, Paragraph 2 (which to the specified extent is impugned in the constitutional justice case at issue) of Article 5 of the Law on Funding of, and Control Over Funding of, Political Parties and Political Campaigns (wording of 23 August 2004) entrenched inter alia the requirement for the subjects wishing to become registered as independent participants of political campaign to conclude an agreement with the political campaign treasurer.

In its turn, the legal regulation established in Items 2 and 4 of Paragraph 3 of Article 5 of the Law on Funding of, and Control Over Funding of, Political Parties and Political Campaigns (wording of 23 August 2004) entrenched inter alia the requirements for a political party, which wishes to be registered or re-registered as an independent participant of political campaign, or which asks to register another subject provided for in the law as such a candidate, to submit a copy of the agreement with the political campaign treasurer (Item 2 of Paragraph 3), as well as a copy of the agreement with the political campaign treasurer of the said subject (Item 4 of Paragraph 3), whereas the impugned legal regulation, which was established in Item 3 of Paragraph 4 of this article, entrenched inter alia the requirement for a natural person, in the course of registering him as an independent participant of political campaign, to submit a copy of the agreement concluded with the political campaign treasurer.

Consequently, under the impugned legal regulation established in Items 2 and 4 of Paragraph 3 and Item 3 of Article 4 of Article 5 of the Law on Funding of, and Control Over Funding of, Political Parties and Political Campaigns (wording of 23 August 2004), only those subjects who had concluded the agreement with the political campaign treasurer were registered as independent participants of political campaign.

2.5. Paragraph 2 (which to the specified extent is impugned in the constitutional justice case at issue) of Article 20 of the Law on Funding of, and Control Over Funding of, Political Parties and Political Campaigns (wording of 23 August 2004) prescribed: “Financial accounting of political campaign shall be handled by the political campaign treasurer with whom an independent participant of political campaign must sign a political campaign funding agreement which meets the requirements listed in Chapter L of Book 6 of the Civil Code and applied to the property trust agreement.”

2.6. Thus, Paragraph 2 of Article 20 of the Law on Funding of, and Control Over Funding of, Political Parties and Political Campaigns (wording of 23 August 2004) entrenched inter alia the requirement for an independent political campaign participant to conclude the agreement with the political campaign treasurer.

Paragraph 2 of Article 20 of the Law on Funding of, and Control Over Funding of, Political Parties and Political Campaigns (wording of 23 August 2004) also established that the political campaign treasurer shall handle the financial accounting of political campaign.

2.7. While summing up the impugned legal regulation entrenched in Paragraph 18 of Article 2 (wording of 10 June 2008), Paragraph 2, Items 2 and 4 of Paragraph 3 and Item 3 of Paragraph 4 of Article 5 and Paragraph 2 of Article 20 of the Law on Funding of, and Control Over Funding of, Political Parties and Political Campaigns (wording of 23 August 2004), in the context of the constitutional justice case at issue it needs to be noted that a requirement was established for an independent political campaign participant (for the purpose of registering and activity whereof) to conclude the agreement with the political campaign treasurer.

2.8. The impugned legal regulation established in Paragraph 18 of Article 2 (wording of 10 June 2008), Paragraph 2, Items 2 and 4 of Paragraph 3 and Item 3 of Paragraph 4 of Article 5 and Paragraph 2 of Article 20 of the Law on Funding of, and Control Over Funding of, Political Parties and Political Campaigns (wording of 23 August 2004) is to be construed in the context of other provisions of this law, which entrench the rights and duties of the political campaign treasurer.

The Law on Funding of, and Control Over Funding of, Political Parties and Political Campaigns (wording of 23 August 2004 with subsequent amendments and supplements) inter alia prescribed:

– “‘Political campaign treasurer’ means a natural person acting on behalf and in the interest of an independent participant of political campaign on the basis of a property trust agreement and having the rights and duties determined by this Law” (Paragraph 14 of Article 2 (wording of 10 June 2008));

– “It shall be taken that a donation has been accepted when, upon verifying if the received donation satisfies the requirements of this Law, the political campaign treasurer records the donation and hands in (sends) a donation sheet to the donor. The political campaign treasurer may apply to the Central Electoral Commission and shall have the right to obtain information which is necessary for taking a decision on the compliance of a donation with the requirements of this Law” (Paragraph 5 of Article 10);

– “The political campaign treasurer shall:

1) sign donation sheets, the accounting record of the political party or political campaign funding, the political campaign funding report, the audit report on political campaign if it is mandatory, and submit them in accordance with the procedure laid down by this Law to the Central Electoral Commission and the State tax Inspectorate;

2) handle and store accounting-related documents of political campaign in accordance with the procedure laid down by this Law and the Accounting Law;

3) within 5 working days announce in the website of the Central Electoral Commission the data about donations received and contracts concluded during the period of political campaign (or within 30 days—during the period other than political campaign and upon having submitted the political campaign funding report);

4) control the amount of funds spent for political campaign and look after that the sum of funds spent for political campaign would not exceed the sum fixed in Paragraphs 3 and 4 of Article 16 of this Law;

5) open and close the special bank account in the cases provided for by this Law” (Paragraph 6 of Article 20);

– “A political campaign participant shall have no right to use cash donations accepted for funding political campaign but not registered in donation sheets, as well as non-monetary donations if the political campaign treasurer has not filled out a donation sheet” (Paragraph 7 of Article 20).

2.9. While summing up the quoted provisions of the Law on Funding of, and Control Over Funding of, Political Parties and Political Campaigns (wording of 23 August 2004 with subsequent amendments and supplements) and construing them in conjunction with the provision of Paragraph 2 of Article 20 of the Law on Funding of, and Control Over Funding of, Political Parties and Political Campaigns (wording of 23 August 2004) whereby financial accounting of political campaign shall be handled by the political campaign treasurer, it needs to be noted that the legal regulation entrenched in the said provisions established that the political campaign treasurer handles the financial accounting of political campaign of an independent political campaign participant on the grounds of a property trust agreement, inter alia controls the legality of the received donations, formalises the donations and announces the data about them, signs the financial accounting documents of political campaign and looks after that the maximum amount of political campaign expenditures permitted by the law would be not exceeded.

Consequently, under the legal regulation entrenched in the Law on Funding of, and Control Over Funding of, Political Parties and Political Campaigns (wording of 23 August 2004 with subsequent amendments and supplements), the political campaign treasurer was charged with the functions by which one sought to secure inter alia the control over political campaign funding.

2.10. In the context of the constitutional justice case at issue, also the following provisions of the Law on Funding of, and Control Over Funding of, Political Parties and Political Campaigns (wording of 23 August 2004 with subsequent amendments) are to be mentioned:

– “Liabilities and expenditure of the political campaign period shall be recognised as political campaign funding expenditure, when such liabilities and expenditure are designated for: <...> 2) remuneration of the political campaign treasurer and performance of his functions” (Paragraph 5 of Article 16 (wording of 10 May 2007));

– “Only a citizen of the Republic of Lithuania or a permanent resident of the Republic of Lithuania shall enjoy the right to be the political campaign treasurer” (Paragraph 3 of Article 20);

– “The following persons may not be the political campaign treasurer:

1) an aspirant or a candidate;

2) an electoral or referendum committee member;

3) an auditor appointed in accordance with the procedure laid down by this Law;

4) a natural person who has been declared by the court legally incapable or with limited competence, or has not fulfilled punishment imposed by a court judgement;

5) a state servant” (Paragraph 4 of Article 20).

2.11. In this context it also needs to be mentioned that Paragraph 1 “Essential conditions of the property trust agreement” of Article 6.959 of the Civil Code of the Republic of Lithuania prescribes: “The property trust agreement shall specify: <...> 3) the remuneration of the trustee and the procedure for its payment if the remuneration is set forth in the agreement.”

Consequently, under the legal regulation entrenched in Item 3 of Paragraph 1 of Article 6.959 of the Civil Code, the property trust agreement on the grounds of which the political campaign treasures is acting may also be free of charge.

2.12. While summing up the legal regulation established in the aforesaid provisions of Paragraph 5 of Article 16 (wording of 10 May 2007), Paragraphs 3 and 4 of Article 20 of the Law on Funding of, and Control Over Funding of, Political Parties and Political Campaigns (wording of 23 August 2004 with subsequent amendments) and Item 3 of Paragraph 1 of Article 6.959 of the Civil Code, it is clear that:

– no special requirements for certain education or professional training have been established for a person eligible to become a political campaign treasurer;

– the property trust agreement with the political campaign treasurer could be free of charge or billable, whereas in case it was billable, the political campaign treasurer could be remunerated from the funds received from the political campaigns funding sources specified in the Law on Funding of, and Control Over Funding of, Political Parties and Political Campaigns, since this remuneration was recognised as political campaign funding expenditures.

2.13. The impugned legal regulation established in Paragraph 18 of Article 2 (wording of 10 June 2008), Paragraph 2, Items 2 and 4 of Paragraph 3 and Item 3 of Paragraph 4 of Article 5 and Paragraph 2 of Article 20 of the Law on Funding of, and Control Over Funding of, Political Parties and Political Campaigns (wording of 23 August 2004) is to be construed in the context of other provisions of this law, which entrench the grounds of activities of political campaign participants.

The Law on Funding of, and Control Over Funding of, Political Parties and Political Campaigns (wording of 23 August 2004 with subsequent amendments and supplements) inter alia prescribed:

– “Political campaign means activities of political campaign participants, voters and other natural and legal persons during the period determined by this Law, related to elections to the Seimas, elections of the President of the Republic, elections to the European Parliament, elections to municipal councils or referendums, designated for election (referendum) campaign, political advertising and financing thereof” (Paragraph 8 of Article 2 (wording of 10 June 2008));

– “Only political parties, aspirants, a candidate or a list of candidates, as well as candidates <…> who have been registered as independent political campaign participants <…>, may accept donations, acquire obligations in property relating to political campaign expenditure” (Paragraph 6 of Article 3).

2.14. While summing up the quoted provisions of the Law on Funding of, and Control Over Funding of, Political Parties and Political Campaigns (wording of 23 August 2004 with subsequent amendments and supplements), in the context of the constitutional justice case at issue it needs to be noted that the entrenched legal regulation entrenched inter alia established that candidates (their lists), persons, who stated that they would nominate themselves as candidates, as well as the subjects that nominate candidates, may accept donations during the election campaign and acquire the property liabilities for expenditures of political campaign only after they have been registered, upon the grounds and under procedure established by law, as independent participants of political campaign.

2.15. While summing up the legal regulation entrenched in the Law on Funding of, and Control Over Funding of, Political Parties and Political Campaigns (wording of 23 August 2004 with subsequent amendments and supplements), in the context of the constitutional justice case at issue it needs to be noted that only those subjects who had concluded the agreement with the political campaign treasurer, could be registered as independent participants of political campaign for the period of political campaign, inter alia election campaign, and, correspondingly, could accept donations during the election campaign and acquire the property liabilities for expenditures of political campaign.

 

Provisions of the Constitution and the official constitutional doctrine

  1. In the constitutional justice case at issue it is investigated whether the provisions of the Law on Funding of, and Control Over Funding of, Political Parties and Political Campaigns (wording of 23 August 2004), which entrenched the requirement that an independent political campaign participant must conclude the agreement with the political campaign treasurer, were not in conflict with the provision of Article 1 of the Constitution that the State of Lithuania is an independent democratic republic, also the provision of Paragraph 1 of Article 6 thereof that the Constitution is a directly applicable act, Paragraph 1 of Article 7 and Paragraph 1 of Article 33 thereof, as well as with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

3.1. This ruling of the Constitutional Court has already disclosed the official constitutional concept of the right of citizens of a democratic state under the rule of law to participate in governance of their country.

3.2. In the context of the constitutional justice case at issue it needs to be noted that, in a constitutional democracy, special requirements are raised to the formation of representative political institutions. These institutions may not be formed in a way so that there might arise doubts as to their legitimacy and legality, inter alia, as to the fact whether the principles of a democratic state under the rule of law were not violated in the course of election of persons to representative political institutions. Otherwise, people’s trust in the representative democracy, state institutions, and the state itself, would be undermined. Democratic elections are an important form of citizens’ participation in governing of the state, as well as it is a necessary element of the formation of state political representative institutions. Elections may not be regarded as democratic, nor their results as legitimate and legal, if the elections are held by trampling on the principles of democratic elections established in the Constitution, and by violating democratic electoral procedures (Constitutional Court conclusion of 5 November 2004, ruling of 1 October 2008, conclusion of 7 November 2008); while enshrining the provisions of the electoral right by means of a law, the legislator is obliged to follow these imperatives of legal regulation which are enshrined in the Constitution (Constitutional Court ruling of 1 October 2008).

It also needs to be noted that it is notably impermissible that the financing of elections is non-transparent or uncontrollable, that in the election campaign the election techniques are used which are contrary to the morals, justice and the harmony of society (Constitutional Court conclusion of 5 November 2004).

3.3. It also needs to be noted that the Constitutional Court has held that a duty of the legislator stems from the Constitution to establish, by means of a law, the legal regulation ensuring honesty and transparency of the election process to the Seimas, i.e. necessary preconditions for the trust in the representation of the Nation (Constitutional Court conclusions of 5 November 2004 and 7 November 2008); this provision of the official constitutional doctrine is applicable mutatis mutandis also to the legal regulation of elections of the President of the Republic, elections to municipal councils and elections to the European Parliament.

Consequently, under the Constitution, the legislator, while regulating the election relations linked inter alia with funding (and control thereof) of election campaigns that are part of the election process, enjoys discretion to choose (approve) such measures, which would ensure the honesty of election campaigns and transparency of funding thereof.

 

The compliance of the provisions under investigation with the Constitution

  1. It has been mentioned that in the constitutional justice case at issue it is investigated whether inter alia Paragraph 18 of Article 2 (wording of 10 June 2008), Paragraph 2, Items 2 and 4 of Paragraph 3 and Item 3 of Paragraph 4 of Article 5 and Paragraph 2 of Article 20 of the Law on Funding of, and Control Over Funding of, Political Parties and Political Campaigns (wording of 23 August 2004), insofar as it was prescribed therein that an independent political campaign participant must conclude the agreement with the political campaign treasurer, were not in conflict with the provision of Article 1 of the Constitution that the State of Lithuania is an independent democratic republic, also the provision of Paragraph 1 of Article 6 thereof that the Constitution is a directly applicable act, Paragraph 1 of Article 7 and Paragraph 1 of Article 33 thereof, as well as with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.
  2. The doubts of the petitioners regarding the compliance of the provisions of the Law on Funding of, and Control Over Funding of, Political Parties and Political Campaigns (wording of 23 August 2004), which entrenched the requirement that an independent participant of political campaign must conclude the agreement with the political campaign treasurer, with the Constitution, are substantiated inter alia by the fact that if the laws establish a different legal regulation competing with the Constitution, the constitutional norms and principles establishing the requirements (conditions) for a person, who can stand in elections, may be denied. A petitioner (petition No. 1B-22/2010) also noted that the impugned legal regulation entrenched an additional obligation for the persons seeking to implement their passive electoral right—they must conclude the agreement with the political campaign treasurer; this additional limitation of the right to be elected is, according to the petitioner, completely unreasonable.
  3. While deciding whether Paragraph 18 of Article 2 (wording of 10 June 2008), Paragraph 2, Items 2 and 4 of Paragraph 3 and Item 3 of Paragraph 4 of Article 5 and Paragraph 2 of Article 20 of the Law on Funding of, and Control Over Funding of, Political Parties and Political Campaigns (wording of 23 August 2004), insofar as it was prescribed therein that an independent political campaign participant must conclude the agreement with the political campaign treasurer, were not in conflict with the provision of Article 1 of the Constitution that the State of Lithuania is an independent democratic republic, also with the provision of Paragraph 1 of Article 6 thereof that the Constitution is a directly applicable act, with Paragraph 1 of Article 7 and Paragraph 1 of Article 33 thereof, as well as with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law, it needs to be noted that, as it has been mentioned:

– in a constitutional democracy, special requirements are raised to the formation of representative political institutions; these institutions may not be formed in a way so that there might arise doubts as to their legitimacy and legality, inter alia, as to the fact whether the principles of a democratic state under the rule of law were not violated in the course of election of persons to representative political institutions;

– it is notably impermissible that the financing of elections is non-transparent or uncontrollable, that in the election campaign the election techniques are used which are contrary to the morals, justice and the harmony of society;

– under the Constitution, the legislator, while regulating the election relations linked inter alia with funding (and control thereof) of election campaigns that are part of the election process, enjoys discretion to choose (approve) such measures, which would ensure the honesty of election campaigns and transparency of funding thereof.

6.1. In the context of the constitutional justice case at issue it needs to be noted that the legislator may seek to secure the honesty and transparency of the election process by establishing inter alia such legal regulation which would require that the funds designed for funding political campaign would be handled and the legality of use thereof would be controlled not by a participant of election campaign, but by another responsible person upon the grounds and under procedure established in the law. While establishing such legal regulation, the legislator is bound by the requirements emerging from the Constitution, inter alia from the principle of proportionality, i.e. the legislator may not establish any such legal regulation, inter alia such requirements for the said responsible person, which would artificially aggravate the possibilities of an aspirant to become a candidate in a corresponding election and to participate in election campaign in the course of implementation of the passive electoral right guaranteed in the Constitution.

6.2. It needs to be noted that, as mentioned, the legal regulation entrenched to the specified extent in the impugned Paragraph 18 of Article 2 (wording of 10 June 2008), Paragraph 2, Items 1 and 2 of Paragraph 3 and Item 3 of Paragraph 4 of Article 5 and Paragraph 2 of Article 20 of the Law on Funding of, and Control Over Funding of, Political Parties and Political Campaigns (wording of 23 August 2004) established a requirement for an independent political campaign participant (for the purpose of registering and activity whereof) to conclude the agreement with the political campaign treasurer.

It has also been mentioned that the legal regulation entrenched in the Law on Funding of, and Control Over Funding of, Political Parties and Political Campaigns (wording of 23 August 2004 with subsequent amendments and supplements) inter alia established that candidates (their lists), persons, who stated that they would nominate themselves for candidates, as well as the subjects that nominate candidates, may accept donations during the election campaign and acquire the property liabilities for expenditures of political campaign only after they have been registered, upon the grounds and under procedure established by law, as independent participants of political campaign.

It needs to be noted that, as mentioned, under the legal regulation entrenched in the Law on Funding of, and Control Over Funding of, Political Parties and Political Campaigns (wording of 23 August 2004 with subsequent amendments and supplements), the political campaign treasurer was charged with the functions by which one sought to secure inter alia the control over political campaign funding.

It has also been mentioned that, under the legal regulation entrenched in Paragraph 5 of Article 16 (wording of 10 May 2007), Paragraphs 3 and 4 of Article 20 of the Law on Funding of, and Control Over Funding of, Political Parties and Political Campaigns (wording of 23 August 2004 with subsequent amendments) and Item 3 of Paragraph 1 of Article 6.959 of the Civil Code:

– no special requirements for certain education or professional training have been established for a person eligible to become a political campaign treasurer;

– the property trust agreement with the political campaign treasurer could be free of charge or billable, whereas in case it was billable, the political campaign treasurer could be remunerated from the funds received from the political campaigns funding sources specified in the Law on Funding of, and Control Over Funding of, Political Parties and Political Campaigns, since this remuneration was recognised as political campaign funding expenditures.

6.3. Thus, there are no grounds to assert that, under the overall legal regulation entrenched in the Law on Funding of, and Control Over Funding of, Political Parties and Political Campaigns (wording of 23 August 2004 with subsequent amendments), the implementation of the requirement to conclude the agreement with the political campaign treasurer was linked to such circumstances (conditions) which could essentially aggravate the implementation of this requirement.

  1. It needs to be emphasised that, at the time when the legal regulation entrenched in the Law on Elections to the Municipal Councils, and the Law on Funding of, and Control Over Funding of, Political Parties and Political Campaigns (wording of 23 August 2004 with subsequent amendments) was in force, in the provisions of the election laws (the Law on Presidential Elections, the Law on Elections to the Seimas, the Law on Elections to the European Parliament), i.e. in the provisions that regulated the relations related to submission of application documents of candidates (aspirants) for the President of the Republic, Members of the Seimas, Members of the European Parliament, members of municipal councils and/or registration of these candidates (aspirants), there was not any established legal regulation whereby the registration of candidates (aspirants) in elections of the President of the Republic, in elections to the Seimas, the European Parliament and municipal councils would be directly linked to the registering of these candidates (aspirants) as independent participants of political campaign.
  2. Consequently, the legal regulation entrenched in Paragraph 18 of Article 2 (wording of 10 June 2008), Paragraph 2, Items 2 and 4 of Paragraph 3 and Item 3 of Paragraph 4 of Article 5 and Paragraph 2 of Article 20 of the Law on Funding of, and Control Over Funding of, Political Parties and Political Campaigns (wording of 23 August 2004), which established a requirement for an independent political campaign participant (for the purpose of registering and activity whereof) to conclude the agreement with the political campaign treasurer, is to be assessed as a constitutionally reasonable legal regulation on election procedures, which created preconditions for securing the honesty and transparency of the election process, inter alia the election campaign.
  3. It needs to be held that the legal regulation entrenched in Paragraph 18 of Article 2 (wording of 10 June 2008), Paragraph 2, Items 2 and 4 of Paragraph 3 and Item 3 of Paragraph 4 of Article 5 and Paragraph 2 of Article 20 of the Law on Funding of, and Control Over Funding of, Political Parties and Political Campaigns (wording of 23 August 2004) insofar as it was prescribed therein that an independent political campaign participant must conclude the agreement with the political campaign treasurer, did not deviate from the constitutional imperatives of a democratic state and democratic elections, from the principle of direct application of the Constitution, and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.
  4. Taking account of the arguments set forth, one is to draw a conclusion that Paragraph 18 of Article 2 (wording of 10 June 2008), Paragraph 2, Items 2 and 4 of Paragraph 3 and Item 3 of Paragraph 4 of Article 5 and Paragraph 2 of Article 20 of the Law on Funding of, and Control Over Funding of, Political Parties and Political Campaigns (wording of 23 August 2004), insofar as it was prescribed therein that an independent political campaign participant must conclude the agreement with the political campaign treasurer, were not in conflict with the provision of Article 1 of the Constitution that the State of Lithuania is an independent democratic republic, also the provision of Paragraph 1 of Article 6 thereof that the Constitution is a directly applicable act, Paragraph 1 of Article 7 and Paragraph 1 of Article 33 thereof, as well as with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.
  5. It needs to be noted that, as mentioned, on 18 May 2010, the Seimas adopted the Law on Amending the Law on Funding of, and Control Over Funding of, Political Parties and Political Campaigns, which (with a certain exception) came into force on 15 September 2010. This law amended the Law on Funding of, and Control Over Funding of, Political Parties and Political Campaigns (wording of 23 August 2004 with subsequent amendments and supplements) and set it forth in a new wording.

11.1. The Law on Funding of, and Control Over Funding of, Political Parties and Political Campaigns (wording of 18 May 2010) inter alia prescribed:

– “‘Aspirant’ means a natural person who satisfies the requirements of laws for standing as a candidate, who has declared during the period from the beginning of a political campaign to the end of submission of application documents that he will stand as a candidate, and who has concluded an agreement with the political campaign treasurer and has been registered as an independent political campaign participant in accordance with the procedure laid down by the Central Electoral Commission” (Paragraph 17 of Article 2);

– “2. Persons wishing to be register as independent political campaign participants must have an agreement with the political campaign treasurer concluded <…>.

  1. A political party wishing to be registered, and to register a candidate or a list of candidates, nominated by it, as an independent participant of political campaign: <...>

2) must, in accordance with the procedure laid down by this Law, submit to the Central Electoral Commission a copy of the property trust agreement with the political campaign treasurer signed by the person authorised by the political party <…>;

4) if a proposal (application) to register a candidate or a list of candidates as an independent political campaign participant has been submitted, the Central Electoral Commission must be provided with a copy of the relevant agreement with his political campaign treasurer <…>.

  1. A natural person wishing to be registered as an independent political campaign participant must submit, together with the application documents, to the constituency electoral commission, or must submit, not later than till the submission of the application documents, to the Central Electoral Commission the following: <...>

3) a copy of the property trust agreement with the political campaign treasurer signed in accordance with the procedure laid down by this Law <...>” (Article 5);

– “The political campaign accounting shall be handled by the political campaign treasurer with whom a person wishing to be registered as an independent political campaign participant must conclude a property trust agreement <...>” (Paragraph 2 of Article 21).

11.2. The Law on Funding of, and Control Over Funding of, Political Parties and Political Campaigns (wording of 18 May 2010) has subsequently been amended.

11.3. On 26 October 2010, the Seimas adopted the Republic of Lithuania Law on Amending Articles 5 and 17 of the Law on Funding of, and Control Over Funding of, Political Parties and Political Campaigns (it came into force on 30 October 2010), Article 1 whereof amended Article 5 of the Law on Funding of, and Control Over Funding of, Political Parties and Political Campaigns (wording of 18 May 2010), inter alia Paragraph 4 of Article 5 of the Law on Funding of, and Control Over Funding of, Political Parties and Political Campaigns (wording of 18 May 2010) was amended and newly set forth. The other quoted provisions of Article 5 of Law on Funding of, and Control Over Funding of, Political Parties and Political Campaigns (wording of 18 May 2010) have not been amended or supplemented.

Paragraph 4 of Article 5 (wording of 26 October 2010) of the Law on Funding of, and Control Over Funding of, Political Parties and Political Campaigns (wording of 18 May 2010) inter alia prescribed: “A natural person who wishes to be registered as an independent political campaign participant must submit to the Central Electoral Commission the following: <…> 3) a copy of the property trust agreement with the political campaign treasurer signed in accordance with the procedure laid down by this Law <...>.”

11.4. On 6 December 2011, the Seimas adopted the Republic of Lithuania Law on Amending Articles 2, 7, 8, 10, 11, 12, 14, 20, 22, 23, 25, 27, 28 of the Law on Funding of, and Control Over Funding of, Political Parties and Political Campaigns and Recognition of Article 16 Thereof as no Longer Valid (it came into force on 1 January 2012), Article 1 whereof amended Article 2 of the Law on Funding of, and Control Over Funding of, Political Parties and Political Campaigns (wording of 18 May 2010), however, Paragraph 17 of this article was not amended or supplemented.

11.5. Having compared the legal regulation (impugned by the petitioners) entrenched in Paragraph 18 of Article 2 (wording of 10 June 2008), Paragraph 2, Items 2 and 4 of Paragraph 3 and Item 3 of Paragraph 4 of Article 5 and Paragraph 2 of Article 20 of the Law on Funding of, and Control Over Funding of, Political Parties and Political Campaigns (wording of 23 August 2004) with the one established in Paragraph 17 of Article 2 (wording of 6 December 2011), Paragraph 2, Items 2 and 4 of Paragraph 3 and Item 3 of Paragraph 4 of Article 5 (wording of 26 October 2010) and Paragraph 2 of Article 21 of the Law on Funding of, and Control Over Funding of, Political Parties and Political Campaigns (wording of 18 May 2010), it is clear that the legal regulation in the aspect impugned in the constitutional justice case at issue, i.e. insofar as it entrenched the requirement that the agreement of an independent political campaign participant be concluded with the political campaign treasurer, remained unchanged.

  1. Having held that Paragraph 18 of Article 2 (wording of 10 June 2008), Paragraph 2, Items 2 and 4 of Paragraph 3 and Item 3 of Paragraph 4 of Article 5 and Paragraph 2 of Article 20 of the Law on Funding of, and Control Over Funding of, Political Parties and Political Campaigns (wording of 23 August 2004), insofar as it was prescribed therein that an independent political campaign participant must conclude the agreement with the political campaign treasurer, were not in conflict with the provision of Article 1 of the Constitution that the State of Lithuania is an independent democratic republic, also the provision of Paragraph 1 of Article 6 thereof that the Constitution is a directly applicable act, Paragraph 1 of Article 7 and Paragraph 1 of Article 33 thereof, as well as with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law, on the grounds of the same arguments one is also to hold that Paragraph 17 of Article 2 (wording of 6 December 2011), Paragraph 2, Items 2 and 4 of Paragraph 3 and Item 3 of Paragraph 4 of Article 5 (wording of 26 October 2010) and Paragraph 2 of Article 21 of the Law on Funding of, and Control Over Funding of, Political Parties and Political Campaigns (wording of 18 May 2010), insofar as it is prescribed therein that an independent political campaign participant must conclude the agreement with the political campaign treasurer, are not in conflict with the provision of Article 1 of the Constitution that the State of Lithuania is an independent democratic republic, also the provision of Paragraph 1 of Article 6 thereof that the Constitution is a directly applicable act, Paragraph 1 of Article 7 and Paragraph 1 of Article 33 thereof, as well as with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.
  2. In the context of the constitutional justice case at issue one is to mention some provisions of elections laws. The said provisions were amended and/or supplemented when, on 18 May 2010, the Seimas adopted the Law on Amending Articles 36, 38, 42, 43, 45 and 46 of the Law on Presidential Elections, the Law on Amending Articles 38, 39, 41, 45, 46, 48, 49, 50, 51, 52 and 53 of the Law on Elections to the Seimas, the Law on Amending Articles 37, 38, 40, 44, 45, 47, 48, 49, 50 and 51 of the Law on Elections to the European Parliament (they came into force on 15 September 2010), also, when the Law on Elections to Municipal Councils was set forth in the new wording of 30 June 2010.

13.1. Paragraph 6 of Article 36 “Statement about a Person’s Participation in the Elections as a Candidate for the President of the Republic” (wording of 18 May 2010) of the Law on Presidential Elections (wording of 12 June 2008) inter alia prescribes: “The Central Electoral Commission shall, not later than within 3 calendar days after the receipt of the statement, ascertain <…> whether or not he has been registered as an independent participant of political campaign <...>.”

13.2. Paragraph 4 of Article 39 (wording of 18 May 2010) of the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000) prescribes: “After the Central Electoral Commission has checked out and established that all application documents, specified in this Law, have been submitted and that they meet the requirements of this Law and a party which nominated a candidate or a person who nominated himself as a candidate or a candidate nominated by a party in a single-member constituency has been registered as independent participants of political campaign, it must adopt a decision concerning the registration of a candidate or refusal to register the said candidate within 10 days following the submitting of the application documents, but not less than 31 days prior to the election.”

13.3. Paragraph 4 of Article 38 (wording of 18 May 2010) of the Law on Elections to the European Parliament inter alia prescribes: “After the Central Electoral Commission has checked out the submitted application documents and established that they meet the requirements of this Law and that a party which has nominated lists of candidates for Members of the European Parliament is an independent participant of political campaign, the Central Electoral Commission must adopt a decision concerning the registration of a candidate within 10 days following the submission of the application documents, but not less than 31 days prior to the elections.”

13.4. Paragraph 4 of Article 35 of the Law on Elections to Municipal Councils (wording of 30 June 2010) inter alia prescribes: “4. The party must file with the municipal electoral commission the following application documents: <…> 3) the certificate issued by the Central Electoral Commission concerning the registration of the party <…> as an independent participant of political campaign; 4) the certificate issued by the Central Electoral Commission concerning the registration of the list of candidates for members of municipal councils as an independent participant of political campaign or the certificate indicating that the application (request) to register this list as an independent participant of political campaign has not been submitted.”

Paragraph 5 of Article 35 of the Law on Elections to Municipal Councils (wording of 30 June 2010) inter alia prescribes: “<…> a person who has decided to nominate himself as a candidate for a member of a municipal council (hereinafter referred to as an “aspirant to a candidate”) must file <…> the following application documents: <…> 4) the certificate issued by the Central Electoral Commission concerning the registration of the candidate for a member of a municipal council as an independent participant of political campaign.”

13.5. To sum up the quoted provisions, in the context of the constitutional justice case at issue it needs to be noted that, under the legal regulation established therein, the registration of candidates in elections of the President of the Republic, in elections to the Seimas, municipal councils and the European Parliament is directly related to the mandatory registration of the candidates (their lists) and/or the subjects nominating the candidates as independent participants of political campaign on the grounds and under procedure of the Law on Funding of, and Control Over Funding of, Political Parties and Political Campaigns.

  1. It needs to be noted that the compliance, with the Constitution, of the provisions of Paragraph 6 of Article 36 (wording of 18 May 2010) of the Law on Presidential Elections (wording of 12 June 2008), Paragraph 4 of Article 39 (wording of 18 May 2010) of the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000), Paragraph 4 of Article 38 (wording of 18 May 2010) of the Law on Elections to the European Parliament, and Paragraph 4 of Article 35 of the Law on Elections to Municipal Councils (wording of 30 June 2010), the legal regulation entrenched wherein links the registration of candidates in corresponding elections with the mandatory registration of corresponding subjects as independent participants of political campaign, is not a matter of investigation in the constitutional justice case at issue.

V

On the compliance of Paragraph 2 of Article 89 of the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000) with the Constitution.

  1. It has been mentioned that in this constitutional justice case it is investigated whether inter alia Paragraph 2 of Article 89 of the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000), insofar as it is established therein that the list of candidates of a party may receive mandates of Members of the Seimas (participate in the distribution of mandates) only if that list receives not less than 5 per cent of votes cast by the voters who participated in the election, and the joint list of candidates—if it receives not less than 7 per cent of votes cast by the voters who participated in the election, is not in conflict with Article 4, Paragraph 1 of Article 33 and Paragraph 1 of Article 55 of the Constitution.

 

The impugned legal regulation

  1. Article 89 “The Establishment of the Election Results in the Multi-member Constituency” of the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000), Paragraph 2 (to the specified extent) of which is impugned in this constitutional justice case, prescribes:

“1. The elections shall be considered to have been held in the multi-member constituency if more than one fourth of all voters have participated in them.

  1. The list candidates of the party may receive mandates of Members of the Seimas (takes part in the distribution of mandates) only if not less than 5 per cent of the voters participating in the elections voted for it. The joint list of candidates, drawn up in accordance with Article 43 of this Law, may receive mandates of Members of the Seimas (takes part in the distribution of mandates) provided that not less than 7 per cent of the voters who participated in the election have voted for it. If less than 60 per cent of all voters who participated in the election have voted for the lists, taking part in the distribution of mandates, the list (lists if an equal amount of votes has been cast for them), which has not taken part in the distribution of mandates up till then, for whom the majority of voters have voted shall acquire the right to take part in the distribution of mandates. The number of lists of candidates which have the right to participate in the distribution of mandates shall be further increased in the same manner until not less than 60 per cent of all the voters who participated in the election shall have voted for the lists of candidates participating in the distribution of mandates.
  2. Mandates for lists of candidates shall be distributed according to the number of votes received by each of them, applying the method of quotas and remainders.
  3. At first, the quota shall be counted, that is, how many votes are needed to receive 1 mandate. It shall be equal to the sum of votes, divided by 70, cast by voters for the lists participating in the distribution of mandates. If when dividing, a remainder is received, 1 shall be added to the quotient.
  4. The amount of votes cast for each list shall be divided by the quota. The received integer quotient shall be the number of mandates for each list according to the quota and the remainders of this division shall be used to distribute the remaining mandates according to the remainders. Therefore, all names of the lists shall be written down in succession in which the first follows the last, according to the size of the remainders of the dividing received by the lists, beginning with the largest. If the remainders of two lists are equal, the first written down shall be the list which has received more votes of voters and if these numbers are also equal, the first written down shall be the list which has received more mandates in all single-member constituencies. If the number of mandates is also equal, the first written down shall be the list which possesses the smaller election number. The mandates which have not been distributed when distributing by the method of quotas shall be distributed by one to the lists according to the succession, beginning with the list which was written down first.
  5. If one of the lists received the larger number of mandates than there were candidates on the list, these mandates would be distributed to other lists, further continuing the dividing thereof by the method of remainders.
  6. Candidates of the same list shall receive mandates in the numerical order established by the Central Electoral Commission which has established the rating of candidates. Those candidates who are elected in single-member constituencies shall be omitted from the list.
  7. If the party, coalition submits together with the application documents the request that the rating of their candidates should not be established, voters shall be notified about this in advance, indicating this in a ballot paper and the rating of candidates shall not be counted, and the registered sequence of candidates on the list shall be considered final.”
  8. Thus, Paragraph 2 of Article 89 of the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000) inter alia establishes the conditions of lists of candidates taking part in the distribution of mandates of Members of the Seimas in the multi-member electoral constituency; these conditions are linked to receipt of a certain minimum percentage of votes of the voters who participated in the election: the list of candidates of the party has to receive not less than 5 per cent of votes cast by the voters who participated in the elections, and the joint list of candidates—not less than 7 per cent of votes cast by the voters who participated in the election.

Thus, by the impugned legal regulation entrenched in Paragraph 2 of Article 89 of the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000), one establishes different so-called election thresholds for different lists of candidates, i.e. minimal percentage limits of votes of the voters to be received, the overcoming of which would qualify the lists of candidates for participation in the distribution of mandates of Members of the Seimas in the multi-member electoral constituency.

It also needs to be noted that Paragraph 2 of Article 89 of the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000) also establishes an exception, when the aforementioned conditions (the so-called election thresholds) of participation of the lists of candidates in the distribution of mandates of Members of the Seimas are not applied, i.e. it is prescribed that if less than 60 per cent of all voters who participated in the election have voted for the lists of candidates who have received not less than correspondingly 5 or 7 per cent of votes cast by the voters participating in the elections, the number of the lists of candidates taking part in the distribution of mandates is increased by the lists of candidates which have not taken part in the distribution of mandates up till then, for whom the majority of voters have voted, until not less than 60 per cent of all the voters who participated in the election is reached.

  1. In this context, one is to note other provisions of the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000).

4.1. Paragraph 2 of Article 37 (wording of 15 April 2008) of the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000) inter alia prescribed: “In the multi-member constituency parties shall nominate their candidates for Members of the Seimas by presenting a list of candidates in which candidates are recorded in the succession established by the party.”

4.2. Article 43 of the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000) prescribes:

“Before the deadline for filing application documents several parties may join the lists of candidates nominated by them. In order to do so <…> the joint list in which the candidates are entered in a newly established succession <…> shall be submitted <…>. The joint list shall be regarded as one list. <...>“

4.3. Thus, while construing the legal regulation impugned by the petitioner which is entrenched (to the specified extent) in Paragraph 2 of Article 89 of the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000) together with one established in Paragraph 2 of Article 37 (wording of 15 April 2008) and Article 43 of the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000), it is obvious that a bigger election threshold, i.e. higher percentage limit of votes of the voters to be received (not less than 7 per cent of votes of the voters participating in the elections), is linked to such a list of candidates which is composed and submitted by several parties, whereas a smaller election threshold, i.e. lower percentage limit of votes of the voters to be received (not less than 5 per cent of votes of the voters participating in the elections)—with a list of candidates submitted by one party.

Consequently, entrenchment of the election thresholds of two different amounts by means of the impugned legal regulation is linked to the possibility of the two non-identical lists of candidates (a list of candidates of only one party and a joint list of candidates of several parties) to participate in distribution of mandates of Members of the Seimas in the multi-member constituency of the elections to the Seimas.

4.4. In this context it also needs to be mentioned that Article 1 of the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000) inter alia establishes that Members of the Seimas shall be elected in single-member and multi-member electoral constituencies in mixed-system elections, while Article 9 (wording of 20 June 2002) establishes that for the organisation and conduct of elections, the territory of the Republic of Lithuania shall be divided into 71 single-member constituencies, one multi-member constituency shall also be formed where all citizens of the Republic of Lithuania eligible to vote shall cast their votes.

4.5. Thus, while construing the legal regulation impugned by the petitioner which is entrenched in Paragraph 2 of Article 89 of the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000) together with the one established in Article 1 and Article 9 (wording of 20 June 2002) of the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000), it is obvious that the multi-member electoral constituency is linked to such a mixed system of elections of Members of the Seimas established by the legislator, under which, 70 Members of the Seimas are elected under the proportional system of elections in the multi-member electoral constituency only from the candidates which are included in the lists of political parties, while 71 Members of the Seimas are elected under the majoritarian system of elections in single-member electoral constituencies.

Consequently, the impugned legal regulation entrenched in Paragraph 2 of Article 89 of the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000) involves a measure of distribution of only a part (less than half) mandates of Members of the Seimas for the lists of candidates, i.e. it does not involve the procedure of establishment of results of elections of other (more than half) Members of the Seimas (candidates who received those mandates) which take place in single-member electoral constituencies under the majoritarian system of elections.

 

Historical comparative aspects

  1. Establishment of the threshold of Elections to the Seimas for the lists of candidates is not a novel of the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000).

5.1. Article 76 of the Law on Elections to the Seimas which was adopted by the Supreme Council—Reconstituent Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania on 9 July 1992 inter alia prescribed: “A political party or public political organisation (coalition) may receive the mandates of deputies only provided that not less than 4% of the voters who participated in the elections voted for the list of candidates submitted by it.”

Thus, as far back as in July 1992, the legislator established such legal regulation of the election relations linked to the elections of Members of the Seimas which included inter alia the election threshold, i.e. the minimal percentage limit of votes of the voters to be received which must be reached by a list of candidates. The amount of the threshold was “not less than 4% <…>”.

5.2. Article 88 of the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 27 June 1996) inter alia prescribed: “The list candidates of the party, political organisation may receive mandates of Members of the Seimas (takes part in the distribution of mandates) only if at least 5 per cent of the voters participating in the elections voted for it. The joint list of candidates <…> may receive mandates of Members of the Seimas (takes part in the distribution of mandates) provided that not less than 7 per cent of the voters who participated in the election have voted for it.”

Thus, on 27 June 1996, the legislator, on the one hand, expanded the extent of application of the election threshold for the lists of candidates (at the same time expanded the possibilities of submission and registration of the lists of candidates), i.e., linked this threshold not only with only a list of candidates of one party, but also with a joint list of candidates submitted by several parties; on the other hand, it increased the amount of the election threshold for the list of candidates of a party by 1 per cent (up to 5 per cent) and established a not smaller amount of the election threshold than 7 per cent for the joint list of candidates.

5.3. As mentioned, the impugned (to the specified extent) Paragraph 2 of Article 89 of the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000) inter alia prescribed: “The list of candidates of a party may receive mandates of Members of the Seimas (takes part in the distribution of mandates) only if not less than 5 per cent of the voters participating in the elections have voted for it. The joint list of candidates <…> may receive mandates of Members of the Seimas (takes part in the distribution of mandates) provided that not less than 7 per cent of the voters who participated in the election have voted for it.”

Having compared the quoted legal regulation with the one established in Article 88 of the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 27 June 1996), it is obvious that it did not change in the impugned aspect.

5.4. It needs to be noted that Article 89 of the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000) has not been amended or supplemented.

5.5. While summing up the aforesaid development of the legal regulation entrenched in the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wordings of 9 July 1992, 27 June 1996 and 18 July 2000), it needs to be noted that:

– since 9 July 1992 until now, there has existed the election threshold, established by the legislator, for the list of candidates for Members of the Seimas;

– the amount of this threshold for the list of candidates of a party, under the legal regulation established from 9 July 1992 till 27 June 1996, was not less than 4 per cent of votes of the voters who participated in the elections, while on 27 June 1996 this marginal amount was increased by 1 per cent; since 27 June 1996, there has existed the established corresponding amount for the joint list of candidates, which is bigger by two per cent than the aforementioned amount established for the list of candidates of one party.

Thus, since the very adoption of the Law on Elections to the Seimas on 9 July 1992, the legislator has chosen the election threshold as one of the measures (ways) to regulate the procedures of establishment of the results of elections to the Seimas.

Consequently, from the historical legal perspective, such an institute of the election law is to be assessed as a tradition of legal regulation of the election relations linked to election of Members of the Seimas in the multi-member electoral constituency in the Republic of Lithuania.

  1. In this context it needs to be mentioned that at present the legislator has correspondingly enshrined the institute of the election threshold in the election laws to all the collegial representative institutions of state power, i.e. not only in the Law on Elections to the Seimas, but also in the Law on Elections to Municipal Councils and the Law on Elections to the European Parliament.
  2. It also needs to be noted that the election threshold (barrier) is known in comparative constitutional law as one of the measures (one of the institutes of election law) to ensure the efficient functioning of the collegial representative institutions of state power, inter alia to ensure their non-fragmentation into small groups and stability of these institutions.
  3. The institute of the election threshold is known also in legislation of other states, inter alia Germany, Latvia and Poland, designed for regulation of the election relations linked to the election of members of parliaments of those states.
  4. It also needs to be mentioned that the aspect of the election threshold in the elections of members to the representative institution has been considered in the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights. It was also noted therein that high thresholds may deprive part of the electorate of representation, however, that circumstance alone is not decisive; such thresholds can work as a necessary corrective adjustment to the proportional system, even though it may operate to the detriment of small parties; electoral thresholds are intended in the main to promote the emergence of sufficiently representative currents of thought within the country, in addition, it is a legal measure for strengthening governmental stability—by this measure, one seeks to avoid debilitating parliamentary fragmentation (judgment in a case Yumak and Sadak v. Turkey of 8 July 2008, application No. 10226/03).

 

Provisions of the Constitution and the official constitutional doctrine

  1. As it has been mentioned, in this constitutional justice case it is investigated whether Paragraph 2 of Article 89 of the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000), insofar as it is established therein that the list of candidates of a party may receive mandates of Members of the Seimas (participate in the distribution of mandates) only if that list receives not less than 5 per cent of votes cast by the voters who participated in the election, and the joint list of candidates—if it receives not less than 7 per cent of votes cast by the voters who participated in the election, is not in conflict with Article 4, Paragraph 1 of Article 33 and Paragraph 1 of Article 55 of the Constitution.

10.1. Article 4 of the Constitution provides that the Nation shall execute its supreme sovereign power either directly or through its democratically elected representatives.

In Paragraph 1 of Article 33 of the Constitution it is inter alia established that citizens shall have the right to participate in the governance of their state both directly and through their democratically elected representatives.

Under Paragraph 1 of Article 55 of the Constitution, the representatives of the Nation—Members of the Seimas shall be elected for a four-year term on the basis of universal, equal, and direct suffrage by secret ballot.

10.2. It needs to be noted that the constitutional imperatives of the legal regulation of the relations of elections to the Seimas—the representatives of the Nation also are entrenched in other articles of the Constitution, inter alia Articles 56, 57 and 58.

10.3. This ruling of the Constitutional Court has disclosed the specificity of the constitutional grounds of the elections of Members of the Seimas, inter alia the requirements for the person who may stand in elections for a Member of the Seimas, it has also disclosed the official constitutional doctrine of democratic elections and that of the right of citizens to participate in the governance of their state both directly and through their democratically elected representatives.

10.4. In the context of the constitutional justice case at issue it needs to be noted that the Constitutional Court has held that:

– one of democratic principles of adoption of decisions is the majority principle (Constitutional Court rulings of 22 July 1994 and 4 April 2006);

– no electoral system may ensure that the established election results would reflect the vote of each voter participating in the election and that each candidate for whom at least a certain number of voters have cast their votes would participate in the distribution of mandates, nevertheless, it is important that this system not be favourable only to certain subjects implementing their passive electoral right and that it not create any preconditions to not reflect the will of the majority of voters (Constitutional Court ruling of 11 May 2011).

It also needs to be noted that in its Ruling “On the compliance of Paragraph 1 (wording of 15 April 2008) of the Republic of Lithuania Law on Elections to the Seimas with the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania” of 1 October 2008, the Constitutional Court inter alia held that:

– the Constitution does not establish a concrete system of elections of Members of the Seimas; according to the provision of Paragraph 3 of Article 55 of the Constitution, this is left to be decided by the legislator, who enjoys broad discretion;

– from the Constitution, inter alia Articles 34, 55 and 56 thereof, a duty stems for the legislator to consolidate, by means of a law, a system of elections of Members of the Seimas, to establish the grounds and procedure of arrangement of elections, inter alia including nomination of candidates for Members of the Seimas, electoral campaigning, procedure of voting, establishment of the results of election, procedures of settling electoral disputes, as well as regulation of other relations of election of Members of the Seimas;

– one may, by law, establish either only a proportional or only a majoritarian, or a different system of elections of Members of the Seimas, inter alia a mixed system of elections, in which the proportional and majoritarian electoral systems are combined;

– it is universally recognised that under the proportional system of elections to the parliament, in one multi-member constituency, it is the candidates which are recorded in the lists of political parties that usually (traditionally) take part.

Consequently, under the Constitution, the legislator may establish also such a procedure of elections to the Seimas, under which, one forms a multi-member electoral constituency of the elections to the Seimas and the lists of candidates compete in it, and, in this multi-member electoral constituency, the results are established by taking account of the proportions of votes of the voters received by the lists of candidates.

10.5. It also needs to be noted that in its Ruling “On the compliance of Article 34 and Paragraphs 2, 3, 4 and 5 of Article 83 of the Republic of Lithuania Law on Elections to Municipal Councils (wording of 30 June 2010) and Paragraph 2 of Article 3 of the Republic of Lithuania Law on Funding of, and Control over Funding of, Political Parties and Political Campaigns (wording of 18 May 2010) with the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania” of 11 May 2011 and in its Ruling “On the compliance of Paragraph 1 of Article 34 (wording of 21 December 2006) of the Republic of Lithuania Law on Elections to Municipal Councils with the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania” of 17 November 2011, the Constitutional Court inter alia held that:

– the legislator, when regulating the relations of elections of members of municipal councils, has broad discretion as to the choice of methods for establishing the results of elections and for distributing mandates and as to the consolidation of the so-called election thresholds;

– the election threshold, as a rule, is established by seeking to avoid a serious fragmentation into small groups in an elected representative institution and to ensure its stability;

– the election threshold set by the legislator for electing a representative institution must be not so high as to create preconditions not to reflect the interests of different voters and to violate their right to participate in deciding, through democratically elected representatives, questions of self-government.

It needs to be noted that the quoted provisions of the official constitutional doctrine are to be applied mutatis mutandis when the legislator establishes the procedure of elections of Members of the Seimas under Paragraph 3 of Article 56 of the Constitution.

10.6. It also needs to be noted that the non-fragmentation of the Seimas into small groups and its stability is a constitutional value, which creates preconditions to ensure inter alia the stability of the Government, the activity of which, under the Constitution, inter alia Item 7 of Article 67 and Paragraph 5 of Article 92 thereof, is grounded on the confidence of the Seimas giving assent to its programme and which, as established in Paragraph 1 of Article 96 of the Constitution, shall be jointly and severally responsible to the Seimas for its general activities.

10.7. Thus, while establishing the procedure of elections of Members of the Seimas, inter alia the ways of establishing the results of elections to the Seimas and distribution of mandates of Members of the Seimas in the multi-member electoral constituency, the legislator enjoys the discretion to establish the so-called election thresholds, whereby one seeks to avoid large fragmentation of the Seimas into small groups and to ensure the stability and efficiency of its work, i.e. to establish that only the lists of candidates who have received a certain percentage of votes of the voters who have participated in the elections shall take part in the distribution of mandates of Members of the Seimas in the multi-member electoral constituency.

It also needs to be noted that while implementing its discretion to establish the election thresholds as a way of establishment of the results of the elections to the Seimas and a way of the distribution of mandates of Members of the Seimas in the multi-member electoral constituency, the legislator is bound by the Constitution, inter alia by the constitutional principles of a state under the rule of law and one of the elements of thereof—the principle of proportionality.

 

The compliance of the provision under investigation with the Constitution

  1. It has been mentioned that in this constitutional justice case it is investigated whether inter alia Paragraph 2 of Article 89 of the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000), insofar as it is established therein that the list of candidates of a party may receive mandates of Members of the Seimas (participate in the distribution of mandates) only if that list receives not less than 5 per cent of votes cast by the voters who participated in the election, and the joint list of candidates—if it receives not less than 7 per cent of votes cast by the voters who participated in the election, is not in conflict with Article 4, Paragraph 1 of Article 33 and Paragraph 1 of Article 55 of the Constitution.
  2. It has also been mentioned that the doubts of the petitioner, a group of Members of the Seimas (petition No. 1B-38/2010), regarding the compliance of the conditions of the participation of lists of candidates in the distribution of mandates of Members of the Seimas in the multi-member electoral constituency with the Constitution are substantiated inter alia by the fact that, by means of the impugned legal regulation, according to the petitioner, one denies the essence of the system of proportional representation and precludes smaller or medium-sized parties (candidates nominated by them) from the participation in elections to the Seimas; candidates nominated by bigger political parties have more possibilities of receiving mandates of Members of the Seimas, the votes cast by voters for smaller parties are lost and the voters who cast these votes are not represented.
  3. While deciding whether Paragraph 2 of Article 89 of the Law on Election to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000), insofar as it is established therein that a list of candidates of a party may receive mandates of Members of the Seimas (participate in the distribution of mandates) only if that list receives not less than 5 per cent of votes cast by the voters participating in the election, whereas a joint list of candidates—if it receives not less than 7 per cent of votes cast by the voters participating in the election, is not in conflict with Article 4, Paragraph 1 of Article 33 and Paragraph 1 of Article 55 of the Constitution, it needs to be noted that, as it has been mentioned:

– the Constitution does not establish a concrete system of elections of Members of the Seimas; according to the provision of Paragraph 3 of Article 55 of the Constitution, this is left to be decided by the legislator, who enjoys broad discretion;

– an election threshold, as a rule, is established by seeking to avoid a serious split into small groups in an elected representative institution and to ensure its stability.

– the non-fragmentation of the Seimas into small groups and its stability are a constitutional value, which creates preconditions to ensure inter alia the stability of the Government, the activity of which, under the Constitution, inter alia Item 7 of Article 67 and Paragraph 5 of Article 92 thereof, is grounded on the confidence of the Seimas that has assented to its programme and which, as established in Paragraph 1 of Article 96 of the Constitution, shall be jointly and severally responsible to the Seimas for its general activities;

– while establishing the procedure of elections of Members of the Seimas, inter alia the ways of establishing the results of elections to the Seimas and distribution of mandates of Members of the Seimas in the multi-member electoral constituency, the legislator enjoys the discretion to establish the so-called election thresholds, whereby one seeks to avoid large fragmentation of the Seimas into small groups and to ensure the stability and efficiency of its work;

– while implementing its discretion to establish the election thresholds as a way of establishment the results of the elections to the Seimas and a way of distribution of mandates of Members of the Seimas in the multi-member electoral constituency, the legislator is bound by the Constitution, inter alia the constitutional principles of a state under the rule of law and one of the elements of thereof—the principle of proportionality;

– one of democratic principles of adoption of decisions is the majority principle;

– no system of elections may ensure that the established election results would reflect the vote of each voter participating in the election and that each candidate for whom at least a certain number of voters have cast their votes would participate in the distribution of mandates, nevertheless, it is important that this system not be favourable only to certain subjects implementing their passive electoral right and that it not create any preconditions to not reflect the will of the majority of voters.

13.1. Thus, while regulating the relations linked to the procedures of establishment of results of the elections of Members of the Seimas, under the Constitution, the legislator may choose the election threshold as a legal institute and enjoys the discretion to establish a concrete minimal percentage limits of votes of the voters to be received.

13.2. It needs to be noted that, as it has been mentioned, Paragraph 2 of Article 89 of the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000) established different so-called election thresholds for different lists of candidates, i.e. minimal percentage limits of votes of the voters to be received, the overcoming of which would qualify the lists of candidates for participation in the distribution of mandates of Members of the Seimas in the multi-member electoral constituency; the list of candidates of the party has to receive not less than 5 per cent of votes cast by the voters who participated in the elections, and the joint list of candidates—not less than 7 per cent of votes cast by the voters who participated in the election.

13.3. It also needs to be noted that, as it has been mentioned, while construing the legal regulation impugned by the petitioner which is entrenched (to the specified extent) in Paragraph 2 of Article 89 of the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000) together with one established in Paragraph 2 of Article 37 (wording of 15 April 2008) and Article 43 of the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000) it is obvious that a bigger election threshold, i.e. higher percentage limit of votes of the voters to be received (not less than 7 per cent of votes of the voters participating in the elections), is linked to such a list of candidates which is composed and submitted by several parties, and a smaller election threshold, i.e. lower percentage limit of votes of the voters to be received (not less than 5 per cent of voted of the voters participating in the elections)—with a list of candidates submitted by one party. Consequently, the entrenchment of the election thresholds of two different amounts by means of the impugned legal regulation is linked to two non-identical lists of candidates—the list of candidates of only one party and a joint list of candidates of several parties.

13.4. It needs to be noted that, as it has been mentioned, since the very adoption of the Law on Elections to the Seimas on 9 July 1992, the legislator has chosen the election threshold as one of the measures (ways) to regulate the procedures of establishment of the results of elections to the Seimas, i.e. from the historical legal perspective, such an institute of the election law is to be assessed as a tradition of legal regulation of the election relations. The said fact is to be deemed a fairly significant circumstance in the context of the impugned (to the specified extent) legal regulation of election relations.

13.5. It also needs to be noted that the amounts (5 and 7 per cent) of the election thresholds established by the impugned legal regulation are not such that they would create preconditions not to reflect the interests of various voters and to violate their right to participate in the governance of their state through their democratically elected representatives. In this context it needs to be noted that application of the election thresholds of 5 and 7 per cent in the latest elections to the Seimas in 2008 determined that in total seven lists of candidates participated in distribution of mandates in the multi-member electoral constituency (Decision of the Central Electoral Commission No. 191 “On the Final Election Results of the Elections to the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania of 2008” of 2 November 2008).

It needs to be emphasised that Paragraph 2 of Article 89 of the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000), which to the specified extent is impugned in this constitutional justice case, establishes not only the aforementioned (raising doubts to one of the petitioners) so-called election thresholds (minimal percentage limits of votes of the voters to be received), but also the way how it is ensured that not less than 60 per cent of all voters who participated in the elections would have cast their votes for those lists of candidates which participate in distribution of mandates in the multi-member electoral constituency, i.e., as it has been mentioned, it is established that if less than 60 per cent of all voters who participated in the elections have cast their votes for the lists of candidates who have received not less than 5 or 7 per cent of votes of the voters correspondingly, the number of the lists of candidates participating in distribution of mandates is increased by including into the distribution of mandates those lists of candidates (which had not participated in distribution of mandates until then) for which the biggest part of the voters has cast their votes, until the limit of 60 per cent of votes of all voters who participated in the elections is reached.

13.6. It needs to be noted that the impugned legal regulation is not linked to the system (the procedure of establishment of candidates who won mandates) of elections of 71 Member of the Seimas which takes place in single-member electoral constituencies which gives an alternative possibility to implement both the passive and active electoral rights.

  1. Thus, the legal regulation entrenched (to the specified extent) in the impugned Paragraph 2 of Article 89 of the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000), whereby one establishes the election thresholds for the list of candidates of a party (5 per cent) and a joint list of candidates (7 per cent) in the multi-member electoral constituency, is to be assessed as constitutionally grounded, creating preconditions to proportionately seek avoiding of a big fragmentation of the Seimas into small groups, to ensure the stability and efficiency of work of the Seimas and the stability of the Government whose activity is grounded on the confidence of the Seimas.
  2. Consequently, there is no enough ground to state that the legal regulation, whereby one establishes the election thresholds of 5 per cent for the list of candidates of a party and 7 per cent for each joint list of several parties, thus, a joint list of also two, three or more parties, as it is specified by the petitioner (petition No. 1B-38/2010), denies the essence of the system of proportional representation, precludes smaller or medium-sized parties (candidates nominated by them) from the participation in elections to the Seimas, and provides the candidates, nominated by bigger parties, with more possibilities to receive the mandate of a Member of the Seimas.

In this context it also needs to be emphasised that neither under the majority (majoritarian) system of elections, nor under the proportionate system of elections from which, as it has been mentioned, a mixed system of elections has been formed, one does not and may not ensure that absolutely all the votes cast by the voters for the candidates for Members of the Seimas who compete in the 71 single-member electoral constituencies and for the lists of candidates who compete in the multi-member electoral constituency would determine the election of all the competing candidates or that all those candidates for who those votes were cast would represent them (those voters) later. Therefore, there is no enough ground to state that the impugned legal regulation is in conflict with the Constitution in the aspect that, as it is stated by the petitioner (petition No. 1B-38/2010), the votes cast by voters for smaller parties are lost and the voters who cast these votes are not represented.

  1. It needs to be held that Paragraph 2 of Article 89 of the Law on Election to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000), insofar as it is established therein that a list of candidates of a party may receive mandates of Members of the Seimas (participate in the distribution of mandates) only if that list receives not less than 5 per cent of votes cast by the voters participating in the election, whereas a joint list of candidates if it receives not less than 7 per cent of votes cast by the voters participating in the election, does not deny the possibilities of the Nation to implement the supreme sovereign power directly or through democratically elected representatives, does not distort the right of citizens to participate in the governance of their state both directly and through their democratically elected representatives and does not tighten the constitutional grounds of the elections of representatives of the Nation—Members of the Seimas.
  2. Taking account of the arguments set forth, one is to draw a conclusion that Paragraph 2 of Article 89 of the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000), insofar as it is established therein that the list of candidates of a party may receive mandates of Members of the Seimas (participate in the distribution of mandates) only if that list receives not less than 5 per cent of votes cast by the voters who participated in the election, and the joint list of candidates—if it receives not less than 7 per cent of votes cast by the voters who participated in the election, is not in conflict with Article 4, Paragraph 1 of Article 33 and Paragraph 1 of Article 55 of the Constitution.

VI

On the compliance of Paragraph 3 of Article 13 of the Law on Funding of, and Control Over Funding of, Political Parties and Political Campaigns (wording of 23 August 2004) with the Constitution.

  1. It has been mentioned that in the constitutional justice case at issue it is investigated inter alia whether Paragraph 3 of Article 13 of the Law on Funding of, and Control Over Funding of, Political Parties and Political Campaigns (wording of 23 August 2004), insofar as it provided that a state budget appropriation is distributed to those political parties that have received not less than 3 per cent of all the votes cast by the voters for the candidates of the political parties in those elections to the Seimas and municipal councils according to the results of which that state budget appropriation is distributed, was not in conflict with the provision of Article 1 of the Constitution that the State of Lithuania is a democratic republic, also Paragraph 1 of Article 29 and Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 34 thereof, as well as with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

 

The impugned legal regulation

  1. It has been mentioned that, on 23 August 2004, the Seimas adopted the Law on Funding of, and Control Over Funding of, Political Parties and Political Campaigns, which came into force (with certain exceptions) on 10 September 2004.
  2. Article 13 “Procedure for Calculation of the Amount, also for Distribution, Payment and Use, of a State Budget Appropriation” of the Law on Funding of, and Control Over Funding of, Political Parties and Political Campaigns (wording of 23 August 2004), Paragraph 3 whereof, to the specified extent, is impugned in the constitutional justice case at issue, inter alia prescribed:

“1. Political parties shall be entitled to receive, in accordance with the procedure laid down by laws, appropriations from the state budget of the Republic of Lithuania.

  1. The amount of the appropriation allocated from the state budget to a political party shall be determined in the following manner:

1) by summing up only those votes of voters that have been cast for the candidates of those political parties to whom a state budget appropriation may be allocated under Paragraph 3 of this Article, the number of all votes is determined;

2) a six-month financial coefficient of one voter’s vote is established by dividing half of the state budget appropriation by the number of votes of all voters;

3) a six-month appropriation allocated from the state budget to a political party is established by multiplying the six-month financial coefficient of one voter’s vote by the number of votes of the voters who cast their votes for the candidates of that political party.

  1. A state budget appropriation shall be distributed to those political parties that have received not less than 3 per cent of all the votes cast by the voters for the candidates of the political parties in those elections to the Seimas and elections to municipal councils according to the results of which the state budget appropriation is distributed and for which the entitlement to the state budget appropriation has not been suspended in accordance with the procedure laid down by law.
  2. A state budget appropriation shall be distributed according to the valid results of the elections to the Seimas and elections to municipal councils (rerun elections, new elections and runoff voting) in which the powers of the elected candidates have not been terminated or upon their termination a vacant place has been occupied without holding elections:

1) according to the results of the last elections to the Seimas and elections to municipal councils in multi-member electoral constituencies. In the event where the list of nominated candidates is coalitional, the number of the received votes shall be distributed to the political parties in proportion to the number of the candidates on the coalition list;

2) according to the results of the last elections, the last rerun elections and last new elections to the Seimas in single-member electoral constituencies. If a candidate has been nominated by several political parties, the votes received by the candidate shall be equally distributed among the political parties which have nominated him;

3) according to the results of the last runoff voting in single-member electoral constituencies of the elections to the Seimas. If upon the election of a Member of the Seimas at the elections, rerun elections or new elections, the runoff voting has not been held, then the results of the last election, rerun election or new election in this single-member electoral constituency shall be taken instead of the results of the runoff voting. If several political parties have nominated a candidate, the votes received by the candidate shall be distributed equally among the political parties which have nominated him.”

Thus, the impugned legal regulation, which was entrenched in Paragraph 3 of Article 13 of the Law on Funding of, and Control Over Funding of, Political Parties and Political Campaigns (wording of 23 August 2004), established one of the conditions under which political parties may receive a state budget appropriation of a certain amount—a party has to have received not less than 3 per cent of all the votes cast by the voters for the candidates of the political parties in those elections to the Seimas and municipal councils according to the results of which the state budget appropriation is distributed.

Consequently, the conditions under which political parties may receive a state budget appropriation were related inter alia to the amount (percentage) of the votes cast by the voters for the candidates of the political parties in corresponding elections. This percentage of the votes (not less than 3 per cent of all the votes cast by the voters for the candidates of the political parties in corresponding elections) received by the candidates is considered to be the percentage of the votes received by the parties which have nominated those candidates.

  1. The impugned legal regulation, which consolidated the aforementioned one condition of the conditions under which political parties may receive a state budget appropriation of a certain amount, is to be construed in the context of the provisions of laws on elections regulating the relations related to certain conditions of the participation of lists of candidates of political parties in the distribution of mandates of Members of the Seimas and members of municipal councils.

4.1. Paragraph 2 of Article 89 “The Establishment of the Election Results in the Multi-member Constituency” of the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000) inter alia prescribes: “The list of candidates of a party may receive mandates of Members of the Seimas (takes part in the distribution of mandates) only if not less than 5 per cent of the voters participating in the elections have voted for it. The joint list of candidates, drawn up in accordance with Article 43 of this Law, may receive mandates of Members of the Seimas (takes part in the distribution of mandates) only if not less than 7 per cent of the voters who participated in the election have voted for it.”

Thus, Paragraph 2 of Article 89 of the Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000) inter alia sets the so-called election thresholds for lists of candidates and joint lists of candidates of parties, i.e. it prescribes that the distribution of mandates of the Members of the Seimas elected in a multi-member electoral constituency involves the participation of the lists of candidates of those parties for which not less than 5 per cent of the voters who participated in the election have cast their votes, as well as the participation of the joint lists of candidates of those political parties for which not less than 7 per cent of the voters who participated in the election have cast their votes.

4.2. Paragraph 2 of Article 83 of the Law on Elections to Municipal Councils (wording of 21 December 2006) inter alia prescribed: “A party’s list of candidates for members of a municipal council may get mandates of members of a municipal council (participate in the distribution of mandates) only if not less than 4 per cent of the voters who participated in the election have voted in favour of it, while a list of candidates of a coalition—if not less than 6 per cent of the voters who participated in the election have voted in favour of it.”

Thus, Paragraph 2 of Article 83 of the Law on Elections to Municipal Councils (wording of 21 December 2006) inter alia set the so-called election thresholds for lists of candidates and joint lists of candidates of parties, i.e. it prescribed that the distribution of mandates of members of municipal councils involves the participation of the lists of candidates of those parties for which not less than 4 per cent of the voters who participated in the election have cast their votes, as well as the participation of the joint lists of candidates of coalitions of those political parties for which not less than 6 per cent of the voters who participated in the election have cast their votes.

4.3. While summing it up, it needs to be noted that the minimum limit of the amount of the votes cast by voters upon reaching which a political party could receive a state budget appropriation of a certain amount, as established by the impugned legal regulation, was lower than the established minimum limits of the amount of the votes cast by voters upon reaching which lists of candidates of political parties (joint lists of candidates) participate in the distribution of mandates of Members of the Seimas or members of municipal councils.

Consequently, the impugned legal regulation created preconditions to receive a state budget appropriation of a certain amount also for those political parties the lists of candidates of which did not participate in the distribution of mandates of Members of the Seimas or members of municipal councils.

 

Historical comparative aspects

  1. The distribution of a state budget appropriation to political parties is not a novel of the Law on Funding of, and Control Over Funding of, Political Parties and Political Campaigns (wording of 23 August 2004), Paragraph 3 of Article 13 whereof, to the specified extent, is impugned in the constitutional justice case at issue.

5.1. Article 12 of the Republic of Lithuania Law on Political Parties, which was adopted by the Supreme Council-Reconstituent Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania on 25 September 1990, prescribed: “The political parties represented in the Supreme Council of the Republic of Lithuania shall be entitled to receive, in accordance with the procedure laid down by law, appropriations from the state budget of the Republic of Lithuania.”

Thus, as far back as in 1990, the legislator opted for such a model of legal regulation of the relations related to funding of political parties that is linked inter alia to the right of certain political parties, which are represented in the parliament of the state, to receive appropriations from the state budget.

5.2. It needs to be mentioned that Article 12 of the Law on Political Parties (wording of 25 September 1990) was amended by the Republic of Lithuania Law “On Amending the Republic of Lithuania Law on Political Parties” adopted by the Seimas on 15 June 1994 and established the following: “The political parties <...> represented in the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania shall be entitled to receive, in accordance with the procedure laid down by law, appropriations from the state budget of the Republic of Lithuania.” Thus, the legal regulation entrenched in Article 12 (wording of 15 June 1994) of the aforesaid law remained essentially unchanged: it consolidated the right of the political parties represented in the Seimas to receive, in accordance with the procedure laid down by law, appropriations from the state budget.

5.3. The Republic of Lithuania Law on Funding of Political Parties and Political Organisations, which was adopted by the Seimas on 12 January 1999, prescribed:

– “‘State budget appropriations’ means the sum total of funds assigned to political parties <...>, as fixed in the Law on the Approval of Financial Indicators of the State Budget and Municipal Budgets of the Corresponding Year” (Article 11);

– “A state budget appropriation shall be distributed to those political parties <...> that have received not less than 3 per cent of all the votes cast by the voters for the candidates nominated by the political parties and political organisations or their lists of candidates in those elections to the Seimas and elections to municipal councils according to the results of which the state budget appropriation is distributed. <...>” (Paragraph 2 of Article 13).

Thus, on 12 January 1999, the legislator established the conditions under which political parties may receive a state budget appropriation of a certain amount, inter alia the condition that a party has to have received “not less than 3 per cent of all the votes cast by the voters for the candidates or lists of candidates nominated by the political parties <...> in those elections to the Seimas and municipal councils according to the results of which the state budget appropriation is distributed”.

5.4. The Republic of Lithuania Law on the Approval of Financial Indicators of the State Budget and Municipal Budgets of the Year 2000, which was adopted by the Seimas on 23 December 1999, included, among the state budget allocations (expenditures), a line (column) “An Appropriation for Political Parties <...>”, the targeted purpose of that appropriation (“Promotion of Political Parties <...>”) and the sum of funds (LTL 980 thousand).

Thus, on 23 December 1999, the Seimas, while approving the state budget, earmarked inter alia the sum of funds from the state budget which, as a targeted appropriation, was allocated to promote activities of political parties.

5.5. It has been mentioned that the impugned Paragraph 3 of Article 13 of the Law on Funding of, and Control Over Funding of, Political Parties and Political Campaigns (wording of 23 August 2004) prescribed: “A state budget appropriation shall be distributed to those political parties that have received not less than 3 per cent of all the votes cast by the voters for the candidates of the political parties in those elections to the Seimas and elections to municipal councils according to the results of which the state budget appropriation is distributed and for which the entitlement to the state budget appropriation has not been suspended in accordance with the procedure laid down by law.”

After comparing the impugned legal regulation established in Paragraph 3 of Article 13 of the Law on Funding of, and Control Over Funding of, Political Parties and Political Campaigns (wording of 23 August 2004) with that established in Paragraph 2 of Article 13 of the Law on Funding of Political Parties and Political Organisations (wording of 12 January 1999), it is clear that the legal regulation establishing the conditions under which political parties may receive a state budget appropriation did not change in the aspect impugned in the constitutional justice case at issue.

5.6. It needs to be mentioned that the laws adopted by the Seimas in December (November) 2000–2011, by means of which the state budget of the corresponding year was approved, provided (provide) for an appropriation (allocations) of a certain amount for political parties: in the state budget of 2001—LTL 524 thousand, in the state budgets of 2002 and 2003—LTL 483 thousand, in the state budget of 2004—LTL 1,000 thousand, in the state budget of 2005—LTL 3,000 thousand, in the state budget of 2006—LTL 10,000 thousand, in the state budget of 2007—LTL 15,000 thousand, in the state budget of 2008—LTL 20,000 thousand, in the state budget of 2009—LTL 17,000 thousand, and in the state budgets of 2010 and 2011—LTL 5,498 thousand.

5.7. While summing up the indicated legal regulation (the development thereof), it needs to be noted that the legal norms establishing the allocation of a state budget appropriation to political parties and the distribution of that appropriation to those political parties that have received not less than 3 per cent of all the votes cast by the voters for the candidates of the political parties in the corresponding elections, according to the results of which the state budget appropriation is distributed, are a tradition of the legal regulation opted for by the legislator in relation to sources and ways of funding of political parties.

  1. In this context it needs to be mentioned that the practice of the application of the impugned legal regulation of allocation of a state budget appropriation to certain political parties shows that in 2005 and 2006 a state budget appropriation of a certain amount could be received by 10 political parties (i.e. those that had received not less than 3 per cent of all the votes cast by the voters in the corresponding elections and for which the entitlement to the state budget appropriation had not been suspended) (Central Electoral Commission Decision No. 20 “On a State Budget Appropriation for Political Parties for the Votes Cast by Voters in the Elections Held Prior to 1 January 2005” of 15 April 2005; Decision No. 11 “On a State Budget Appropriation for Political Parties for the Votes Cast by Voters in the Elections Held Prior to 1 January 2006” of 3 March 2006), in 2007 and 2008—by 8 political parties (Decision No. 309 “On the Establishment of the Amount of the State Budget Appropriation for Political Parties” of 6 September 2007; Decision No. 17 “On the Establishment of the Amount of the State Budget Appropriation for Political Parties” of 14 April 2008), in 2009 and 2010—by 10 political parties (Decision No. 56 “On the Establishment of the Amount of the State Budget Appropriation for Political Parties for the First Half of 2009” of 10 March 2009; Decision No. Sp-22 “On the Establishment of the Amount of the State Budget Appropriation for Political Parties for the First Half of 2010” of 14 April 2010).

Thus, the practice of the application of the impugned legal regulation of the allocation of a state budget appropriation to certain political parties shows that 8–10 political parties used to receive state budget appropriations.

  1. It needs to be noted that the partial funding of political parties by state funds (the so-called model of public funding of political parties) is well established in comparative constitutional jurisprudence and the legislation of other states designated for regulation of the relations related to funding of political parties.

For instance, in Poland a state budget appropriation may be granted only to the political parties and coalitions that in elections to the Sejm of the Republic of Poland receive 3 and 6 per cent of all the votes, respectively.

Alongside, it needs to be noted that, although in European states there is no one single model of partial public funding of political parties. In most of the states, in which the so-called model of public funding of political parties is consolidated, it is required that the candidates nominated by the parties eligible for an appropriation have to have received in the election an appropriate approval (trust) from voters.

  1. The legal regulation of public funding of political parties has also been analysed in the case-law of constitutional justice institutions of foreign states.

For instance, in its ruling of 20 January 2010 in case Kp 6/09 the Constitutional Tribunal of the Republic of Poland held that the funding of political parties from the state budget is determined not by the Constitution, but by norms of legislation; the Constitution does not stipulate the ways of funding of political parties, it consolidates only the principle of publicity of funding of these organisations.

The Constitutional Tribunal also noted that a threshold granting the right to funding from the budget, which is set by the law, is lower than the election threshold upon reaching which parties and coalitions may participate in the distribution of mandates, therefore, budgetary funds are allocated not only to the parties that have gained access to the parliament, but also to the parties that are not represented in the Sejm. In an assessment by the Constitutional Tribunal, the impugned provision, whereby the amount of appropriations allocated for activities of political parties was reduced, does not violate the principle of political pluralism, as it does not limit the freedom of founding and activities of political parties enshrined in the Constitution.

 

Provisions of the Constitution and the official constitutional doctrine

  1. In the constitutional justice case at issue it is investigated whether the legal regulation related to the distribution of a state budget appropriation to certain political parties was not in conflict with the provision of Article 1 of the Constitution that the State of Lithuania is a democratic republic, also Paragraph 1 of Article 29 and Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 34 thereof, as well as with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

9.1. This ruling of the Constitutional Court has already disclosed the official constitutional concept of a democratic state under the rule of law as well as that of the fundamental elements of the active and passive electoral right.

9.2. In the context of the constitutional justice case at issue it needs to be noted that, as mentioned, Paragraph 1 of Article 29 of the Constitution consolidates formal equality of all persons. The constitutional principle of equality of all persons before the law requires that in law the main rights and duties be established equally to all (Constitutional Court rulings inter alia of 30 June 2000, 24 December 2008 and 2 March 2009).

The Constitutional Court has held more than once that the principle of equality of persons entrenched in Article 29 of the Constitution is applicable not only to natural, but also legal persons (Constitutional Court rulings inter alia of 28 February 1996, 18 April 1996, 23 February 2000, 6 December 2000 and 17 November 2003).

The Constitutional Court has also held that a differentiated legal regulation, when it is applied to certain groups of persons which are distinguished by the same signs, and in case it strives for the positive and socially meaningful goals, or if the establishment of certain limitations or conditions is linked with peculiarities of the regulated social relations, in itself is not to be regarded as discrimination (Constitutional Court rulings inter alia of 13 May 2005, 31 May 2006, 2 March 2009 and 29 April 2009).

9.3. In the context of the constitutional justice case at issue it also needs to be noted that:

– the aims of self-founding of political parties as well as their activity are inseparable from the striving for public power, thus, from the participation in elections to representative institutions of public power, as well (Constitutional Court ruling of 9 February 2007);

– political pursuit is an essential feature of a party, which distinguishes the party from the other collective subjects of the legal forms that are established in laws (Constitutional Court ruling of 11 May 2011);

– under the Constitution, no such legal regulation is allowed that could prevent political parties or the candidates either nominated or supported by political parties from participating in elections of Members of the Seimas (Constitutional Court ruling of 1 October 2008).

9.4. In this context it needs to be noted that, under Paragraph 1 of Article 35 of the Constitution, whereby citizens are guaranteed the right to freely form societies, political parties and associations (provided that the aims and activities thereof are not contrary to the Constitution and laws), political parties constitute one of the forms of free unification of citizens which are expressis verbis indicated in the Constitution.

It also needs to be noted that a direct consolidation of political parties in Articles 35, 44, 83, 113, 114, and 141 of the Constitution points to the specificity of their political striving as well as the specificity of the implementation of that striving.

Thus, under the Constitution, inter alia the striving for an open civil society enshrined in the Preamble to the Constitution and the right of citizens to freely form societies, political parties and associations (provided that the aims and activities thereof are not contrary to the Constitution and laws) guaranteed by Paragraph 1 of Article 35 of the Constitution, political parties, by their striving for public power and constitutionally guaranteed participation in elections of Members of the Seimas, are distinguished from all of the legal forms of collective subjects that may be established by laws; under the Constitution, political parties (provided that the aims and activities thereof are not contrary to the Constitution and laws) are to be treated as special participants of not only the process of elections to institutions of public power, but also of the public political life taking place in the period between election campaigns; the variety of and competition among the said participants, i.e. the multi-party system, create preconditions to ensure political pluralism.

9.5. In this context it also needs to be noted that the legislator, under Paragraph 3 of Article 35 of the Constitution, must regulate inter alia the founding and activities of political parties. While doing this, the legislator, under the Constitution, inter alia Paragraph 3 of Article 35 thereof, may establish inter alia the sources and ways of funding political parties as well as the procedure for control over this funding.

It needs to be noted that the Constitution does not directly provide for any sources and ways of funding, or any bases for the control over funding, of election campaigns and their participants, inter alia political parties, however, the principles related thereto correspondingly arise from the Constitution, inter alia the striving for an open civil society enshrined in the Preamble thereto, as well as the specificity of the political striving of parties and the specificity of its implementation entrenched directly (indicated expressis verbis) in Articles 35, 44, 83, 113, 114 and 141 thereof.

Thus, under the Constitution, inter alia Paragraph 3 of Article 35 thereof, the legislator, while regulating the relations related to the founding and activities of political parties, may at the same time lay down such sources and ways of funding of political parties that include inter alia the allocation of the funds from the state budget to political parties, by means of which it is sought to ensure that the political parties the candidates of which have received in corresponding elections a significant approval (trust) from the voters would have an opportunity to strengthen that approval (trust) from the voters by democratic and lawful means of the implementation of their political striving.

It needs to be noted that the legislator, when consolidating a model of regulation of the relations related to the sources and ways of funding of, and the control over funding of, political parties, is bound by the Constitution, inter alia the striving for an open civil society entrenched in the Preamble to the Constitution, i.e. the legislator may create no preconditions to deny or distort the nature of political parties as public (non-state) organisations, to exert a negative influence upon the free development of the multi-party system, to disproportionally aggravate the opportunities of the political parties not satisfying the conditions under which they may receive the funds from the state budget to implement their political striving, nor may it lay down any such legal regulation whereby preconditions would be created to receive public (state) funding for the parties which have committed the violations of laws assessed as essential by the state institutions empowered to conduct the control over funding of a political campaign.

9.6. In the context of the constitutional justice case at issue it also needs to be noted that:

– the Constitution consolidates the principle of responsible governance (Constitutional Court rulings inter alia of 1 July 2004 and 13 December 2004);

– from the Constitution, inter alia Paragraph 2 of Article 128 thereof, the requirement arises that state-owned property be treasured, not wasted and managed rationally (Constitutional Court rulings of 5 July 2007, 20 March 2008 and 22 December 2011).

9.7. Consequently, under the Constitution, the legislator may establish such a model of regulation of the relations related to the sources and ways of funding of political parties that includes the allocation of state budget funds (allocations) to those political parties the candidates of which have received in corresponding elections a significant approval (trust) from the voters, however, such legal regulation may create no opportunities to receive such an amount of state budget funds (allocations) that would give rise to preconditions to deny or distort the nature of political parties as public (non-state) organisations, to exert a negative influence upon the free development of the multi-party system, to disproportionally aggravate the opportunities for the political parties not satisfying the conditions under which they may receive the aforesaid funds to implement their political striving, and to violate the principle of responsible governance and that of rational management of state-owned property.

 

The compliance of the provisions under investigation with the Constitution

  1. It has been mentioned that in the constitutional justice case at issue it is investigated whether inter alia Paragraph 3 of Article 13 of the Law on Funding of, and Control Over Funding of, Political Parties and Political Campaigns (wording of 23 August 2004), insofar as it provided that a state budget appropriation is distributed to those political parties that have received not less than 3 per cent of all the votes cast by the voters for the candidates of the political parties in those elections to the Seimas and municipal councils according to the results of which that state budget appropriation is distributed, was not in conflict with the provision of Article 1 of the Constitution that the State of Lithuania is a democratic republic, also Paragraph 1 of Article 29 and Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 34 thereof, as well as with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.
  2. The doubts of a group of Members of the Seimas, a petitioner (petition No. 1B-38/2010), regarding the compliance of Paragraph 3 of Article 13 of the Law on Funding of, and Control Over Funding of, Political Parties and Political Campaigns (wording of 23 August 2004) with the Constitution are substantiated by the fact that the legal regulation established in that paragraph groundlessly grants privileges to the political parties that have reached during the elections the limit of 3 per cent of votes of the voters, as these political parties receive state budget appropriations; such legal regulation is discriminatory and violates equal opportunities of parties. In the opinion of the petitioner, the discriminatory distribution of funding only increases the social gulf between the parties, it also inadequately and unreasonably reduces the opportunity of smaller parties to participate in the governance of the state as well as in the formation of policy and destroys the model of pluralistic democracy.
  3. While deciding whether Paragraph 3 of Article 13 of the Law on Funding of, and Control Over Funding of, Political Parties and Political Campaigns (wording of 23 August 2004), insofar as it provided that a state budget appropriation is distributed to those political parties that have received not less than 3 per cent of all the votes cast by the voters for the candidates of the political parties in those elections to the Seimas and municipal councils according to the results of which that state budget appropriation is distributed, was not in conflict with the provision of Article 1 of the Constitution that the State of Lithuania is a democratic republic, also Paragraph 1 of Article 29 and Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 34 thereof, as well as with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law, it needs to be noted, as mentioned, that:

– under the Constitution, inter alia the striving for an open civil society enshrined in the Preamble to the Constitution and the right of citizens to freely form societies, political parties and associations (provided that the aims and activities thereof are not contrary to the Constitution and laws) guaranteed by Paragraph 1 of Article 35 of the Constitution, political parties, by their striving for public power and constitutionally guaranteed participation in elections of Members of the Seimas, are distinguished from all of the legal forms of collective subjects that may be established by laws; under the Constitution, political parties (provided that the aims and activities thereof are not contrary to the Constitution and laws) are to be treated as special participants of not only the process of elections to institutions of public power, but also of the public political life taking place in the period between election campaigns; the variety and competition among the said special participants, i.e. the multi-party system, create preconditions to ensure political pluralism;

– under the Constitution, inter alia Paragraph 3 of Article 35 thereof, the legislator, while regulating the relations related to the founding and activities of political parties, may at the same time establish such sources and ways of funding of political parties, including inter alia the allocation of state budget funds to political parties, by means of which it is sought to ensure that the political parties the candidates of which have received in corresponding elections a significant approval (trust) from the voters would have an opportunity to strengthen the said approval (trust) by democratic and lawful means of the implementation of their political striving;

– under the Constitution, the legislator may establish such a model of regulation of the relations related to the sources and ways of funding of political parties that includes the allocation of state budget funds (allocations) to those political parties the candidates of which have received in corresponding elections a significant approval (trust) from the voters, however, such legal regulation may create no opportunities to receive such an amount of state budget funds (allocations) that would give rise to preconditions to deny or distort the nature of political parties as public (non-state) organisations, to exert a negative influence upon the free development of the multi-party system, to disproportionally aggravate the opportunities for the political parties not satisfying the conditions under which they may receive the aforesaid funds to implement their political striving, and to violate the principle of responsible governance as well as that of rational management of state-owned property;

– a differentiated legal regulation, when it is applied to certain groups of persons which are distinguished by the same signs, and in case it is striving for the positive and socially meaningful goals, or if the establishment of certain limitations or conditions is linked with the peculiarities of the regulated social relations, in itself is not to be regarded as discriminative legal regulation.

12.1. Consequently, under the Constitution, the legislator, when regulating the relations related to the founding and activities of political parties, inter alia ways of funding thereof, may inter alia prescribe that not all the established and operating political parties, but only those the candidates of which receive an appropriate (sufficient) approval from the voters in elections to institutions of public power, may be granted the state budget targeted purpose funds which are allocated to support political parties.

12.2. It needs to be noted that, as mentioned, the impugned legal regulation, which is entrenched in Paragraph 3 of Article 13 of the Law on Funding of, and Control Over Funding of, Political Parties and Political Campaigns (wording of 23 August 2004), established one of the conditions under which political parties may receive a state budget appropriation of a certain amount—a party has to have received not less than 3 per cent of all the votes cast by the voters for the candidates of the political parties in those elections to the Seimas and municipal councils according to the results of which that state budget appropriation is distributed. Consequently, the conditions under which political parties may receive a state budget appropriation were related inter alia to the amount (percentage) of the votes received by their candidates from the voters in corresponding elections. The said amount of the votes received by the candidates (not less than 3 per cent of all the votes cast by the voters for the candidates of the political parties in corresponding elections) is considered to be an amount of the votes received by the parties which have nominated those candidates.

12.3. It has also been mentioned that the minimum limit of the amount of the votes of voters upon reaching which a political party could receive a state budget appropriation of a certain amount, as established by the impugned legal regulation, was lower than the established minimum limits of the amount of the votes of voters upon reaching which lists of candidates (joint lists of candidates) of political parties participate in the distribution of mandates of Members of the Seimas or members of municipal councils. Consequently, the impugned legal regulation created preconditions to receive a state budget appropriation of a certain amount also for those political parties the lists of candidates of which did not participate in the distribution of mandates of Members of the Seimas or members of municipal councils.

12.4. It needs to be noted that, as mentioned, the legal norms establishing the allocation of a state budget appropriation to political parties and the distribution of that appropriation to those political parties that have received not less than 3 per cent of all the votes cast by the voters for the candidates of the political parties in corresponding elections, according to the results of which the state budget appropriation is distributed, are a tradition of the legal regulation opted for by the legislator in relation to sources and ways of funding political parties. The said fact is to be deemed a sufficiently significant circumstance in the context of the impugned (to the specified extent) legal regulation of activities of political parties.

12.5. It needs to be emphasised that, as mentioned, the impugned legal regulation determined that state budget appropriations used to be granted to 8–10 political parties. Thus, such legal regulation whereby preconditions are created to grant state budget appropriations to several parties is not to be assessed as posing a threat to political pluralism or the multi-party system.

  1. Thus, the impugned legal regulation, which is entrenched (to the specified extent) in Paragraph 3 of Article 13 of the Law on Funding of, and Control Over Funding of, Political Parties and Political Campaigns (wording of 23 August 2004), is to be assessed as a constitutionally grounded model of regulation opted for by the legislator with regard to the relations related to funding of political parties, by means of which it is sought to support, in a proportionate manner, the activities of the political parties that have received the voters’ approval (trust) in elections to institutions of public power and which creates no preconditions to deny or distort the nature of political parties as public (non-state) organisations, to exert a negative influence upon the free development of the multi-party system, to disproportionally aggravate the opportunities for the political parties that have not received any state budget funds (allocations) to implement their political striving, and to violate the principle of responsible governance as well as that of rational management of state-owned property.
  2. Consequently, there is no ground to assert, as it is maintained by a group of Members of the Seimas, a petitioner (petition No. 1B-38/2010), that the impugned legal regulation, entrenched in Paragraph 3 of Article 13 of the Law on Funding of, and Control Over Funding of, Political Parties and Political Campaigns (wording of 23 August 2004), groundlessly grants privileges to the political parties that have reached during the elections the limit of 3 per cent of the votes of voters, i.e. that such legal regulation is a discriminatory one.
  3. It needs to be held that the impugned legal regulation laid down in Paragraph 3 of Article 13 of the Law on Funding of, and Control Over Funding of, Political Parties and Political Campaigns (wording of 23 August 2004) neither denies, nor distorts the requirements arising from the principle of a democratic state, also from the fundamental elements of the active and passive electoral right, the constitutional principles of equality of persons and a state under the rule of law.
  4. Taking account of the arguments set forth, one is to draw a conclusion that Paragraph 3 of Article 13 of the Law on Funding of, and Control Over Funding of, Political Parties and Political Campaigns (wording of 23 August 2004), insofar as it provided that a state budget appropriation is distributed to those political parties that have received not less than 3 per cent of all the votes cast by the voters for the candidates of the political parties in those elections to the Seimas and municipal councils according to the results of which that state budget appropriation is distributed, was not in conflict with the provision of Article 1 of the Constitution that the State of Lithuania is a democratic republic, also Paragraph 1 of Article 29 and Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 34 thereof, as well as with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.
  5. As mentioned, on 18 May 2010, the Seimas adopted the Law on Amending the Law on Funding of, and Control Over Funding of, Political Parties and Political Campaigns, which (with a certain exception) came into force on 15 September 2010. This law amended the Law on Funding of, and Control Over Funding of, Political Parties and Political Campaigns (wording of 23 August 2004 with subsequent amendments and supplements) and set it forth in a new wording.

17.1. Article 15 “Procedure for Calculation of the Amount, also for Distribution and Payment, of State Budget Appropriations to Fund Activities of a Political Party” of the Law on Funding of, and Control Over Funding of, Political Parties and Political Campaigns (wording of 18 May 2010) inter alia prescribes:

“1. Political parties which are entered on the Register of Legal Entities in accordance with the procedure laid down by the law and which satisfy statutory requirements regarding the number of political party’s members, also with respect to which the restructuring or liquidation procedure has not been initiated, shall be entitled to state budget appropriations to fund activities of the political party.

  1. State budget appropriations designated for funding activities of political parties shall be distributed to those political parties satisfying the criteria set out in Paragraph 1 of this Article which have received not less than 3 per cent of all the votes cast by the voters for the candidates of the political parties in those elections to the Seimas, municipal councils and the European Parliament according to the results of which these state budget appropriations are distributed.
  2. State budget appropriations designated for funding activities of political parties shall be distributed according to the valid results of the elections to the Seimas, municipal councils and the European Parliament (rerun election, new election and runoff voting) in which the powers of the elected candidates have not been terminated or upon their termination a vacant place was occupied without holding elections:

1) according to the results of the last election to the Seimas, municipal councils and the European Parliament in multi-member electoral constituencies. In the event where the list of nominated candidates is coalitional, the number of the received votes shall be distributed to the political parties in proportion to the number of the candidates on the coalition list;

2) according to the results of the last election, the last rerun election and last new election to the Seimas in single-member electoral constituencies. If several political parties nominated a candidate, the votes received by the candidate shall be equally distributed among the political parties which have nominated him;

3) according to the results of the last runoff voting in single-member electoral constituencies of the election to the Seimas. If upon the election of a Member of the Seimas at the election, rerun election or new election, the runoff voting has not been held, then the results of the last election, rerun election or new election in this single-member electoral constituency shall be taken instead of the results of the runoff voting. If several political parties have nominated a candidate, the votes received by the candidate shall be distributed equally among the political parties which have nominated him.”

17.2. After comparing the impugned legal regulation established in Paragraph 3 of Article 13 of the Law on Funding of, and Control Over Funding of, Political Parties and Political Campaigns (wording of 23 August 2004) with the one established in Paragraph 2 of Article 15 of the Law on Funding of, and Control Over Funding of, Political Parties and Political Campaigns (wording of 18 May 2010), it is clear that, although the legal regulation has been supplemented in the aspect that the state budget funds are distributed to political parties not only according to the results of elections to the Seimas and municipal councils, but also according to the results of elections to the European Parliament, the legal regulation in the aspect impugned by the petitioner, i.e. that the state budget funds are distributed to those political parties that have received not less than 3 per cent of all the votes cast by the voters for the candidates of the political parties in corresponding elections, remained essentially intact.

  1. While taking account of this and having held in this Constitutional Court ruling that Paragraph 3 of Article 13 of the Law on Funding of, and Control Over Funding of, Political Parties and Political Campaigns (wording of 23 August 2004), insofar as it provided that a state budget appropriation is distributed to those political parties that have received not less than 3 per cent of all the votes cast by the voters for the candidates of the political parties in those elections to the Seimas and municipal councils according to the results of which that state budget appropriation is distributed, was not in conflict with the provision of Article 1 of the Constitution that the State of Lithuania is a democratic republic, also Paragraph 1 of Article 29 and Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 34 thereof, as well as with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law, it also needs to be held that Paragraph 2 of Article 15 of the Law on Funding of, and Control Over Funding of, Political Parties and Political Campaigns (wording of 18 May 2010), insofar as it provides that the state budget appropriations designated for funding activities of political parties are distributed to those political parties that have received not less than 3 per cent of all the votes cast by the voters for the candidates of the political parties in those elections to the Seimas, municipal councils and the European Parliament according to the results of which these state budget appropriations are distributed, is not in conflict with the aforementioned provisions of the Constitution, either.

Conforming to Articles 102 and 105 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and Articles 1, 53, 54, 55, 56 and 69 of the Law on the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania, the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania has passed the following

ruling:

  1. To recognise that Paragraph 2 of Article 36 of the Republic of Lithuania Law on Presidential Elections (wording of 12 June 2008; Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2008, No. 71-2721), insofar as it prescribes the requirement to submit a document attesting to the payment of a deposit amounting to 5 most recent average monthly work remunerations in the national economy, also insofar as it provides that after the elections the election deposit is refunded to the person who has paid it provided that during the election the candidate for the President of the Republic has received more than 7 per cent of votes cast by the voters who participated in the election, is not in conflict with the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania.
  2. To recognise that Item 7 of Paragraph 1 and Item 3 of Paragraph 2 of Article 38 of the Republic of Lithuania Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000; Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2000, No. 59-1760), insofar as they establish that a document attesting to the payment of the election deposit must be filed (submitted), are not in conflict with the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania.
  3. To recognise that Item 6 of Paragraph 1 of Article 37 of the Republic of Lithuania Law on Elections to the European Parliament (Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2003, No. 115-5192), insofar as it establishes that a document attesting to the payment of the election deposit must be filed, is not in conflict with the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania.
  4. To recognise that Item 5 of Paragraph 1 of Article 35 of the Republic of Lithuania Law on Elections to Municipal Councils (wording of 21 December 2006; Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2006, No. 143-5445), insofar as it established that a document attesting to the payment of the election deposit must be filed, was not in conflict with the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania.
  5. To recognise that Item 5 of Paragraph 2 of Article 35 of the Republic of Lithuania Law on Elections to Municipal Councils (wording of 30 June 2010; Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2010, No. 86-4523), insofar as it establishes that a document attesting to the payment of the election deposit must be filed, is not in conflict with the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania.
  6. To recognise that Item 5 (wording of 15 April 2008; Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2008, No. 50-1839) of Paragraph 1 and Item 2 (wording of 15 April 2008; Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2008, No. 50-1839) of Paragraph 2 of Article 38 of the Republic of Lithuania Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000; Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2000, No. 59-1760), insofar as they prescribe the requirement to file (submit) the extracts of the basic data from income and property declarations of candidates as well as their declaration of private interests, are not in conflict with the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania.
  7. To recognise that Item 4 (wording of 8 May 2008; Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2008, No. 59-2202) of Paragraph 1 of Article 37 of the Republic of Lithuania Law on Elections to the European Parliament (Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2003, No. 115-5192), insofar as it prescribes the requirement to file the extracts of the basic data from income and property declarations of candidates as well as their declaration of private interests, is not in conflict with the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania.
  8. To recognise that Paragraph 18 of Article 2 (wording of 10 June 2008; Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2008, No. 71-2720), Paragraph 2, Items 2 and 4 of Paragraph 3 and Item 3 of Paragraph 4 of Article 5 and Paragraph 2 of Article 20 of the Republic of Lithuania Law on Funding of, and Control Over Funding of, Political Parties and Political Campaigns (wording of 23 August 2004; Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2004, No. 135-4894), insofar as it was prescribed therein that an independent political campaign participant must conclude the agreement with the political campaign treasurer, were not in conflict with the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania.
  9. To recognise that Paragraph 17 of Article 2 (wording of 6 December 2011; Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2011, No. 153-7205), Paragraph 2, Items 2 and 4 of Paragraph 3 and Item 3 of Paragraph 4 of Article 5 (wording of 26 October 2010; Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2010, No. 128-6524) and Paragraph 2 of Article 21 of the Republic of Lithuania Law on Funding of, and Control Over Funding of, Political Parties and Political Campaigns (wording of 18 May 2010; Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2010, No. 63-3091), insofar as it is prescribed therein that an independent political campaign participant must conclude the agreement with the political campaign treasurer, are not in conflict with the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania.
  10. To recognise that Paragraph 2 of Article 89 of the Republic of Lithuania Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000; Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2000, No. 59-1760), insofar as it establishes that the list of candidates of a party may receive mandates of Members of the Seimas (participate in the distribution of mandates) only if that list receives not less than 5 per cent of votes cast by the voters who participated in the election, and the joint list of candidates—if it receives not less than 7 per cent of votes cast by the voters who participated in the election, is not in conflict with the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania.
  11. To recognise that Paragraph 3 of Article 13 of the Republic of Lithuania Law on Funding of, and Control Over Funding of, Political Parties and Political Campaigns (wording of 23 August 2004; Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2004, No. 135-4894), insofar as it provided that a state budget appropriation is distributed to those political parties that have received not less than 3 per cent of all the votes cast by the voters for the candidates of the political parties in those elections to the Seimas and municipal councils according to the results of which that state budget appropriation is distributed, was not in conflict with the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania.
  12. To recognise that Paragraph 2 of Article 15 of the Republic of Lithuania Law on Funding of, and Control Over Funding of, Political Parties and Political Campaigns (wording of 18 May 2010; Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2010, No. 63-3091), insofar as it provides that the state budget appropriations designated for funding activities of political parties are distributed to those political parties that have received not less than 3 per cent of all the votes cast by the voters for the candidates of the political parties in those elections to the Seimas, municipal councils and the European Parliament according to the results of which these state budget appropriations are distributed, is not in conflict with the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania.
  13. To dismiss the part of the case subsequent to the petitions of the groups of Members of the Seimas, the petitioners, requesting to investigate whether Paragraph 4 of Article 41 (wording of 15 April 2008; Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2008, No. 50-1839) of the Republic of Lithuania Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000; Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2000, No. 59-1760) and Paragraph 3 of Article 40 of the Republic of Lithuania Law on Elections to the European Parliament (Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2003, No. 115-5192) were not in conflict with the provision of Article 1 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania that the State of Lithuania is a democratic republic, also the provision of Paragraph 1 of Article 6 thereof that the Constitution is a directly applicable act, Paragraph 1 of Article 7, Article 23 and Paragraph 1 of Article 33 thereof, as well as with the constitutional principles of a state under the rule of law and the supremacy of the Constitution.
  14. To dismiss the part of the case subsequent to the petition of a group of Members of the Seimas, a petitioner, requesting to investigate whether Paragraph 4 of Article 38 of the Republic of Lithuania Law on Elections to Municipal Councils (wording of 21 December 2006; Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2006, No. 143-5445) was not in conflict with the provision of Article 1 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania that the State of Lithuania is a democratic republic, also the provision of Paragraph 1 of Article 6 thereof that the Constitution is a directly applicable act, Paragraph 1 of Article 7, Article 23 and Paragraph 1 of Article 29 thereof, as well as with the constitutional principles of a state under the rule of law and the supremacy of the Constitution.
  15. To dismiss the part of the case subsequent to the petitions of the groups of Members of the Seimas, the petitioners, requesting to investigate whether Item 9 of Paragraph 1 of Article 38 (wording of 15 April 2008; Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2008, No. 50-1839) of the Republic of Lithuania Law on Elections to the Seimas (wording of 18 July 2000; Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2000, No. 59-1760) and Item 8 of Paragraph 1 of Article 37 (wording of 8 May 2008; Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2008, No. 59-2202) of the Republic of Lithuania Law on Elections to the European Parliament (Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2003, No. 115-5192), insofar as it was prescribed therein that a political party must file a copy of the declaration of its last year’s financial activities, were not in conflict with the provision of Article 1 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania that the State of Lithuania is a democratic republic, also the provision of Paragraph 1 of Article 6 thereof that the Constitution is a directly applicable act, Paragraph 1 of Article 7, Article 23 and Paragraph 1 of Article 33 thereof, as well as with the constitutional principles of a state under the rule of law and the supremacy of the Constitution.
  16. To dismiss the part of the case subsequent to the petition of a group of Members of the Seimas, a petitioner, requesting to investigate whether Item 6 of Paragraph 1 of Article 35 of the Republic of Lithuania Law on Elections to Municipal Councils (wording of 21 December 2006; Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2006, No. 143-5445), insofar as it prescribed that a political party must file a copy of the declaration of its last year’s financial activities, was not in conflict with the provision of Article 1 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania that the State of Lithuania is a democratic republic, also the provision of Paragraph 1 of Article 6 thereof that the Constitution is a directly applicable act, Paragraph 1 of Article 7, Article 23 and Paragraph 1 of Article 33 thereof, as well as with the constitutional principles of a state under the rule of law and the supremacy of the Constitution.

 

This ruling of the Constitutional Court is final and not subject to appeal.

The ruling is promulgated in the name of the Republic of Lithuania.

Justices of the Constitutional Court:                        Egidijus Bieliūnas

                                                                                             Pranas Kuconis

                                                                                             Gediminas Mesonis

                                                                                             Ramutė Ruškytė

                                                                                             Egidijus Šileikis

                                                                                             Algirdas Taminskas

                                                                                             Romualdas Kęstutis Urbaitis

                                                                                             Dainius Žalimas