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On the pension of the President of the Republic

Case No. 29/2000

 

THE CONSTITUTIONAL COURT OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA

RULING

ON THE COMPLIANCE OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA’S LAW ON THE AMENDMENT AND SUPPLEMENTATION OF ARTICLES 7, 11, 15 OF THE LAW ON STATE PENSIONS, PARAGRAPHS 1 AND 4 OF ARTICLE 7 OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA’S LAW ON STATE PENSIONS AND PARAGRAPH 2 OF ARTICLE 20 OF THE LAW ON THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA WITH THE CONSTITUTION OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA

 

19 June 2002

Vilnius

 

The Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania, composed of the Justices of the Constitutional Court: Armanas Abramavičius, Egidijus Kūris, Kęstutis Lapinskas, Zenonas Namavičius, Augustinas Normantas, Jonas Prapiestis, Vytautas Sinkevičius, and Stasys Stačiokas

The court reporter—Daiva Pitrėnaitė

Seimas member Algimantas Salamakinas, acting as the representative of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania, the petitioner

Jadvyga Andriuškevičiūtė, a senior consultant at the Legal Department of the Office of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania, acting as the representative of the party concerned, the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania

The Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania, 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, on 6 June 2002, in its public hearing, considered case No. 29/2000 subsequent to the petition of a group of members of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania, the petitioner, requesting an investigation into whether the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on the Amendment and Supplementation of Articles 7, 11, 15 of the Law on State Pensions was in compliance with Articles 71 and 90 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania.

The Constitutional Court

has established:

I

On 13 June 2000, the Seimas enacted the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on the Amendment and Supplementation of Articles 7, 11, 15 of the Law on State Pensions (Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2000, No. 52-1487; hereinafter also referred to as the Law).

The petitioner, a group of Seimas members, requests the Constitutional Court to investigate whether the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on the Amendment and Supplementation of Articles 7, 11, 15 of the Law on State Pensions is in compliance with Articles 71 and 90 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania.

II

The petition of the petitioner is based on the following arguments.

1. Under Paragraph 2 of Article 71 of the Constitution, in the event that the law enacted by the Seimas is not referred back or signed by the President of the Republic within the established period, the law shall become effective upon the signing and official promulgation thereof by the Speaker of the Seimas. In the opinion of the petitioner, it is only the Speaker of the Seimas who enjoys independent constitutional powers, while Deputy Speaker of the Seimas may preside over sittings of the Seimas (Paragraph 1 of Article 66 of the Constitution) and, at the behest of the Seimas, temporarily carry out the duties of the Speaker of the Seimas (Article 89 of the Constitution).

The petitioner maintains that neither the Constitution, nor the Statute of the Seimas and the laws provide that a law may become effective after it is signed by a Deputy Speaker of the Seimas. Meanwhile, the impugned Law was signed and officially promulgated by the First Deputy Speaker of the Seimas. In the opinion of the petitioner, after the impugned Law was signed and promulgated, the procedure of the signing, publication and entry into force of laws which is established in the Constitution was violated. The petitioner doubts whether the impugned Law is in compliance with Article 71 of the Constitution.

2. By Article 1 of the Law on the Amendment and Supplementation of Articles 7, 11, 15 of the Law on State Pensions, Paragraph 4 of Article 7 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on State Pensions was amended and set forth as follows: “The state pension of the President of the Republic shall be granted and paid according to the Law on the President of the Republic of Lithuania to the Chairman of the Supreme Council-Reconstituent Seimas after he leaves state service”.

The petitioner points out that, under Article 90 of the Constitution, the financing of the President of the Republic and of the President’s residence shall be established by law, and that to implement this constitutional provision, a special Law on the President of the Republic of Lithuania was adopted. In the opinion of the petitioner, the Law on the President of the Republic of Lithuania provides for the financing of the activities and social guarantees for the President of the Republic only, therefore, this law may not be applied in respect to persons who have not been elected President of the Republic. Therefore, according to the petitioner, Article 1 of the impugned Law conflicts with Article 90 of the Constitution.

III

In the course of the preparation of the case for the judicial consideration, written explanations were received from the representative of the party concerned J. Andriuškevičiūtė.

1. Under Article 76 of the Constitution, the structure and procedure of activities of the Seimas shall be determined by the Statute of the Seimas. The representative of the party concerned points out that the Statute of the Seimas provides for such a structure of the Seimas so that the Seimas would be able to implement the sovereign will of the Nation in a constructive, effective and continuous manner in any possible situation in this country.

The representative of the party concerned maintains that the governing body of the Seimas is the main part of structural subdivisions of the Seimas. Its functions are established in the Constitution.

In the opinion of J. Andriuškevičiūtė, under the Constitution a Deputy Speaker of the Seimas is not prohibited from exercising the constitutional powers of the Speaker of the Seimas for a certain (limited) duration of time. On the contrary, the status of the Seimas as legislative power which is entrenched in the Constitution obligates to regulate and coordinate the powers of the governing body of the Seimas so that the continuity of the constitutional powers of the Seimas might be ensured. Under Article 30 of the Statute of the Seimas, Deputy Speakers of the Seimas shall discharge the functions assigned to them by the Speaker of the Seimas. It is also provided in the same article that “in the event that the Speaker of the Seimas is temporarily absent or has fallen ill and by reason thereof is temporarily unable to fulfil his or her duties of office, the said duties shall be performed by the First Deputy Speaker of the Seimas or, on a mandate from the Seimas, by another Deputy Speaker for a specified period.” According to the representative of the party concerned, this provision of the Statute of the Seimas should be regarded as a mandate of the Seimas for the First Deputy Speaker of the Seimas to perform the duties of the Speaker of the Seimas in the event that the Speaker of the Seimas is temporarily absent or has fallen ill and by reason thereof is temporarily unable to fulfil his or her duties of office.

The impugned Law was signed on 26 June 2000. At that time the Speaker of the Seimas was on a trip abroad (decision No. 2091 of 14 June 2000 of the Seimas Board). In the opinion of the representative of the party concerned, when the First Deputy Speaker signed and promulgated the Law, the procedure of the signing, publication and entry into force of laws which is established in the Constitution was not violated.

2. Article 52 of the Constitution provides that the state shall guarantee the right of citizens to old age and disability pension, as well as to social assistance in the event of unemployment, sickness, widowhood, loss of breadwinner, and other cases provided by law. J. Andriuškevičiūtė notes that Article 90 of the Constitution does not contain any provisions regulating the procedure of the granting of one or another pension.

The representative of the party concerned maintains that Article 7 of the Law on State Pensions points out the top state officials who enjoy the right to the state pension. Paragraph 4 of the same article names the Chairman of the Supreme Council-Reconstituent Seimas as a state official of the highest rank. The Law on State Pensions does not regulate the procedure of granting a state pension for this official, therefore, in order to define the procedure under which such a pension is granted, Paragraph 4 of Article 7 of the same law makes reference to the Republic of Lithuanian Law on the Office of President. In the opinion of the representative of the party concerned, Article 1 of the impugned Law is in compliance with the Constitution.

IV

At the court hearing, the representative of the petitioner A. Salamakinas virtually reiterated the arguments set forth in his written explanations.

At the court hearing, the representative of the party concerned J. Andriuškevičiūtė virtually reiterated the arguments set forth in her written explanations.

The Constitutional Court

holds that:

I

1. On 13 June 2000, the Seimas enacted the Law on the Amendment and Supplementation of Articles 7, 11, 15 of the Law on State Pensions.

The petitioner doubts whether the Law on the Amendment and Supplementation of Articles 7, 11, 15 of the Law on State Pensions is in compliance with Articles 71 and 90 of the Constitution.

2. Although the petitioner requests an investigation into whether the Law on the Amendment and Supplementation of Articles 7, 11, 15 of the Law on State Pensions is in compliance with Article 90 of the Constitution, however, it is clear from the arguments of the petition that the petitioner does not doubt whether the entire impugned Law is in compliance with Article 90 of the Constitution but only Article 1 of the Law whereby Paragraph 4 of Article 7 of the Law on State Pensions was amended and set forth as follows: “The state pension of the President of the Republic shall be granted and paid according to the Law on the President of the Republic of Lithuania to the Chairman of the Supreme Council-Reconstituent Seimas after he leaves state service”.

Taking account of the fact that by Article 1 of the Law on the Amendment and Supplementation of Articles 7, 11, 15 of the Law on State Pensions Paragraph 4 of Article 7 of the Law on State Pensions was amended, it should be held that the petitioner doubts whether Paragraph 4 of Article 7 of the Law on State Pensions (wording of 13 June 2000, Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2000, No. 52-1487) according to the content of its norms is in compliance with Article 90 of the Constitution.

3. Although the petitioner requests an investigation into whether the Law on the Amendment and Supplementation of Articles 7, 11, 15 of the Law on State Pensions is in compliance with Article 71 of the Constitution, however, it is clear from the arguments of the petition that the petitioner does not doubt whether the impugned Law is in compliance with entire Article 71 of the Constitution but only Paragraph 2 of the same article which provides: “In the event that the law enacted by the Seimas is not referred back or signed by the President of the Republic within the established period, the law shall become effective upon the signing and official promulgation thereof by the Speaker of the Seimas.”

It is clear from the reasoning of the petition that the opinion of the petitioner that the impugned Law is in conflict with the Constitution according to the procedure of the signing and publication which is established therein is based on the fact that the Law was signed and officially promulgated not by the President of the Republic or the Speaker of the Seimas but the First Deputy Speaker of the Seimas.

It needs to be noted that the petitioner names Paragraph 2 of Article 71 of the Constitution as Paragraph 4 of Article 71 of the Constitution. Under Paragraph 4 of Article 71 of the Constitution, in the event that the President of the Republic does not sign and promulgate the laws adopted by referendum within the established period, said laws shall become effective upon being signed and officially promulgated by the Speaker of the Seimas. Meanwhile, the impugned law was adopted not by referendum but by the Seimas. Therefore, the powers of the Speaker of the Seimas concerning the signing and official promulgation of the impugned Law stem from Paragraph 2 of Article 71 of the Constitution but not from Paragraph 4 of the same article.

Thus, the petitioner doubts whether the Law on the Amendment and Supplementation of Articles 7, 11, 15 of the Law on State Pensions according to the procedure of the signing and publication of laws which is established in the Constitution is in compliance with Paragraph 2 of Article 71 of the Constitution.

4. Subsequent to the petition of the petitioner, the Constitutional Court will consider whether Paragraph 4 of Article 7 of the Law on State Pensions (wording of 13 June 2000) according to the content of its norms is in compliance with Article 90 of the Constitution and whether the Law on the Amendment and Supplementation of Articles 7, 11, 15 of the Law on State Pensions according to the procedure of the signing and publication of laws which is established in the Constitution is in compliance with Paragraph 2 of Article 71 of the Constitution.

II

On the compliance of Paragraph 4 of Article 7 of the Law on State Pensions (wording of 13 June 2000) with Article 90 of the Constitution.

1. Paragraph 4 of Article 7 of the Law on State Pensions (wording of 13 June 2000) provides: “The state pension of the President of the Republic shall be granted and paid according to the Law on the President of the Republic of Lithuania to the Chairman of the Supreme Council-Reconstituent Seimas after he leaves state service”.

2. The petitioner doubts whether Paragraph 4 of Article 7 of the Law on State Pensions (wording of 13 June 2000) is in compliance with Article 90 of the Constitution which specifies: “The President of the Republic shall have a residence. The financing of the President of the Republic and of the President’s residence shall be established by law.”

The petitioner grounds his doubts on the fact that, in his opinion, the financing of and social guarantees to the President of the Republic only are established in the Law on the President of the Republic of Lithuania, therefore, this law may not be applied in respect to persons who have not been elected President of the Republic.

3. The Constitution shall be an integral and directly applicable statute (Paragraph 1 of Article 6 of the Constitution). The norms laid down in the Constitution are harmonised with each other and constitute a whole (the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 9 November 1999). Article 90 of the Constitution which was pointed out by the petitioner may not be construed by disassociating it from the other articles of the Constitution in which the institution of the President of the Republic is established.

4. Article 77 of the Constitution provides:

The President of the Republic is Head of State.

The President shall represent the State of Lithuania and shall perform all the duties which he or she is charged with by the Constitution and laws.”

While construing Article 77 of the Constitution, the Constitutional Court held in its ruling of 8 May 2000: “Only one person acquires the status of the Head of State for the period determined in the Constitution, i.e. the President of the Republic who is elected by citizens of the Republic of Lithuania. The legal status of the President of the Republic as the Head of State is an individual one, different from that of the rest of the citizens.” Under the Constitution, the legal status of the President of the Republic as Head of State is different from that of the rest state officials.

The exceptional legal status of the President of the Republic as Head of State is disclosed in various provisions of the Constitution which establish: the inviolability of the person of the President of the Republic; impossibility for the President of the Republic to be a Seimas member or to hold another office, or receive any remuneration other than the salary established for the President of the Republic as well as compensation for creative activities; a duty for the person elected President of the Republic to suspend his or her activities in political parties and political organisations; requirements for the candidates seeking the post of the President of the Republic and the bases and procedure of the elections of the President of the Republic; the oath of the President of the Republic; the powers of the President of the Republic, their commencement and termination, etc.

Article 89 of the Constitution provides:

In the event that the President dies or is removed from office according to the procedure for impeachment proceedings, or if the Seimas resolves that the President of the Republic is unable to fulfil the duties of office for reasons of health, the duties of President shall temporarily be passed over to the Seimas Speaker. In such a case, the Speaker of the Seimas shall lose his or her powers in the Seimas, and at the behest of the Seimas, the duties of Speaker shall temporarily be carried out by the Deputy Speaker. In said cases, the Seimas shall announce, within 10 days, an election for the President of the Republic which must be held within two months. If the Seimas cannot convene and announce the election for the President of the Republic, the election shall be announced by the Government.

The Speaker of the Seimas shall act for the President of the Republic when the President is temporarily absent beyond the boundaries of the country or has fallen ill and by reason thereof is temporarily unable to fulfil the duties of office.

While temporarily acting for the President of the Republic, the Speaker of the Seimas may neither announce a pre-term election of the Seimas nor dismiss or appoint Ministers without the agreement of the Seimas. During the said period, the Seimas may not consider the issue of lack of confidence in the Speaker of the Seimas.

The powers of the President of the Republic may not be executed in any other cases, or by any other persons or institutions.”

5. One should interpret the provisions of Article 90 of the Constitution while taking account of the fact that under the Constitution the legal status of the President of the Republic is an individual one, different from that of other state officials. It has been mentioned that Article 90 of the Constitution provides that the President of the Republic shall have a residence and that the financing of the President of the Republic and of the President’s residence shall be established by law. These constitutional provisions also mean that the activities of the President of the Republic are financed and the material as well as social guarantees for the President of the Republic are guaranteed by the state, that the funds necessary for this must be provided for in the state budget, that the financing of the President of the Republic and of the President’s residence must be regulated by law. Under the Constitution, the legislature is not permitted to establish such legal regulation which would deny the individual legal status of the President of the Republic, which is different from that of other state officials, and which might create legal pre-conditions for equating any other person with the President of the Republic, Head of State.

The Constitutional requirements that the financing of the President of the Republic and of the President’s residence shall be established by law and that it is not permitted to establish such legal regulation which would deny the individual legal status of the President of the Republic, which is different from that of other state officials, and which might create legal pre-conditions for equating any other person with the President of the Republic also mean that it is not permitted to establish such legal regulation which would create legal pre-conditions for equating any other person with a former President of the Republic.

The legislature may, without violating the Constitution, establish the financing of a former President of the Republic while taking account of the constitutional grounds upon which the powers of the President of the Republic were terminated and whether the same person was re-elected or newly elected President of the Republic.

The provisions of Article 90 of the Constitution presuppose that an inseparable element of the financing of the President of the Republic and a social guarantee of the Head of State is the pension of the President of the Republic. Under the Constitution, the legislature has a duty to establish such a size of this pension, such conditions of its granting and payment which would be in line with the dignity of the President of the Republic as the Head of State and his individual, exceptional legal status. The provisions of Article 90 of the Constitution also mean that that the legislature is prohibited from establishing such legal regulation whereby a person who has not been elected President of the Republic might receive the pension of the President of the Republic.

6. One of the laws establishing the financing of the President of the Republic is the Law on the President of the Republic of Lithuania.

6.1. Paragraph 2 of Article 20 of the same law (Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 1993, No. 5-89) provides:

Upon leaving state service, the President of the Republic shall, for the rest of his life, be:

1) given a monthly pension equal to 50 percent of the salary of the President of the Republic <…>.”

The pension of the President of the Republic as a type of state pensions is established in Item 1 of Paragraph 1 of Article 1 of the Law on State Pensions (wording of 4 July 1995), while Paragraph 3 of the same article provides, inter alia, that the pension of the President of the Republic shall be granted according to a special law. Paragraph 1 of Article 7 of the Law on State Pensions (Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 1994, No. 101-2018) specifies that a state pension for the President of the Republic shall be awarded and paid to the President of the Republic upon culmination of his state service according to the Law on the President of the Republic of Lithuania. Item 1 of Paragraph 2 of Article 20 of the Law on the President of the Republic of Lithuania provides for the amount, duration of payment and periodicity of a pension of the President of the Republic upon culmination of his state service.

The legal regulation established in Paragraph 2 of Article 20 of the Law on the President of the Republic of Lithuania means that the pension of the President of the Republic is established under this law only for the person who has been President of the Republic and not for any other person.

6.2. The establishment of the pension of the President of the Republic as an essential social guarantee for the Head of State is linked, under the Constitution, with the following conditions: (1) the person has been elected President of the Republic, and (2) his powers have terminated.

The formula employed in Paragraph 2 of Article 20 of the Law on the President of the Republic of Lithuania and Paragraph 1 of Article 7 of the Law on State Pensions “upon leaving state service” means that the pension of the President of the Republic is established (granted and paid) to a former President of the Republic only if he is not any longer in any other state service. Thus, the establishment (granting and payment) of this pension is linked not only with the termination of the powers of the President of the Republic but also with the fact that the former President of the Republic is not any longer in any other state service. Such legal regulation means that the pension of the President of the Republic is not established (granted and paid) to a former President of the Republic if he is in any other state service.

It needs to be emphasised that the Constitution does not link the social guarantees and financing of a former President of the Republic with the leaving of state service by the former President of the Republic.

The legal regulation established in Paragraph 2 of Article 20 of the Law on the President of the Republic of Lithuania and Paragraph 1 of Article 7 of the Law on State Pensions under which the pension of the President of the Republic is established (granted and paid) for a former President of the Republic if he is not any longer in any other state service are not in line with the said constitutional requirement. Paragraph 2 of Article 20 of the Law on the President of the Republic of Lithuania and Paragraph 1 of Article 7 of the Law on State Pensions provide for an additional condition, which is not specified in the Constitution, to receive the pension of the President of the Republic, i.e. the leaving of state service. After it was established that the pension of the President of the Republic is established (granted and paid) for a former President of the Republic if he is not any longer in any other state service, the constitutional-social guarantee for the President of the Republic as the Head of State to receive a pension of the President of the Republic upon expiration of the powers of the President of the Republic is denied. Therefore, pre-conditions are created to deny an exceptional constitutional status of the President of the Republic as Head of State. Thus, Paragraph 1 of Article 77 of the Constitution is violated.

6.3. Taking account of the arguments set forth, it should be concluded that Paragraph 2 of Article 20 of the Law on the President of the Republic of Lithuania to the extent that the establishment of the pension of the President of the Republic is linked with the leaving of state service by a former President of the Republic and Paragraph 1 of Article 7 of the Law on State Pensions to the extent that the establishment of the pension of the President of the Republic is linked with the leaving of state service by a former President of the Republic conflict with Paragraph 1 of Article 77 of the Constitution.

It needs to be noted that the petitioner does not impugn the conformity of Paragraph 2 of Article 20 of the Law on the President of the Republic of Lithuania and Paragraph 1 of Article 7 of the Law on State Pensions with the Constitution. The Constitutional Court, having established that the provisions of a law the compliance with the Constitution of which is not impugned by the petitioner but by which the social relations regulated by the impugned law are interfered with conflict with the Constitution, must state so (the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 14 January 2002).

7. It has been mentioned that Paragraph 4 of Article 7 of the Law on State Pensions (wording of 13 June 2000) provides that the state pension of the President of the Republic shall be granted and paid according to the Law on the President of the Republic of Lithuania to the Chairman of the Supreme Council-Reconstituent Seimas after he leaves state service.

While deciding whether Paragraph 4 of Article 7 of the Law on State Pensions (wording of 13 June 2000) is in compliance with the Constitution, one must determine whether, under the Constitution, the post of the Chairman of the Supreme Council-Reconstituent Seimas may be equated with the institution of the President of the Republic as Head of State.

7.1. Upon restoration of the independent State of Lithuania on 11 March 1990 and upon adoption of the Provisional Basic Law, the institution of the Head of State was not provided for therein. The constitutional institution of the Head of State was established in 1992 after the institution of the President of the Republic was established in the Constitution.

7.2. Article 151 of the Constitution provides: “This Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania shall become effective the day following the official publication of the results of the Referendum, provided that in the Referendum more than half of the electorate of Lithuania voted in favour thereof.”

In its ruling of 21 April 1994, the Constitutional Court held: “The Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania was adopted on 25 October 1992 by referendum of all citizens of the Republic, and came into force the following day after the official publication of the results of the referendum, i.e. on 2 November 1992.”

Article 152 of the Constitution provides: “The procedure for the enforcement of this Constitution and separate provisions thereof shall be regulated by Law of the Republic of Lithuania ‘On the Procedure for the Enforcement of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania,’ which, together with this Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania, shall be adopted by referendum.”

Article 6 of the Law “On the Procedure for the Enforcement of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania” provides that the legal situation during the period that there is no President of the Republic shall be equivalent to the situation which is provided for in Article 89 of the Constitution; as necessary, the Seimas, by a majority vote of more than half of all the members of the Seimas, may prolong the term provided in Article 89 for a period not exceeding four months.

7.3. The post of the Chairman of the Supreme Council-Reconstituent Seimas is not pointed out in the Constitution under this name.

On 28 November 1996, the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania adopted the Declaration “On the Supreme Council-Reconstituent Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania” whereby it was decided and declared that “the Supreme Council of the Republic of Lithuania that worked in 1990–1992 shall be named the Supreme Council-Reconstituent Seimas”. This declaration presents not legal but a historical and political evaluation of the Supreme Council of the Republic of Lithuania that worked in 1990–1992; it does not mean that the name of the Supreme Council that worked in 1990–1992 or titles of its officials are changed in the legal acts passed prior to the adoption of the said declaration.

Thus, according to its legal content, the post of the Chairman of the Supreme Council-Reconstituent Seimas which is pointed out in Paragraph 4 of Article 7 of the Law on State Pensions (wording of 13 June 2000) is identical to the post of the Chairman of the Supreme Council that worked in 1990–1992.

The post of the Chairman of the Supreme Council was established in the Provisional Basic Law of the Republic of Lithuania which was valid until the entry into force of the Constitution. Under Article 1 of the Law “On the Procedure for the Enforcement of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania”, upon the enforcement of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania, the Provisional Basic Law of the Republic of Lithuania shall become null and void.

Under Article 4 of the Law “On the Procedure for the Enforcement of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania”, the powers of the Supreme Council and its deputies shall be terminated when the elected Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania convenes into its first sitting. Thus, under the Constitution, from the moment when the elected Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania convenes into its first sitting the powers of the Chairman of the Supreme Council are terminated too.

Therefore, the post of the Chairman of the Supreme Council is provided for in the 1992 Constitution as a provisional one, it is linked with the transitional legal situation when the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania is elected but has not convened into its first sitting. The Constitution provides for one duty of the Chairman of the Supreme Council only, i.e. to sign and promulgate within 15 days the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and the Law “On the Procedure for the Enforcement of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania”, upon their adoption by referendum (Article 154 of the Constitution). On 6 November 1992, the Chairman of the Supreme Council signed the Constitution.

After the newly elected Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania convened into its first sitting, the post of the Chairman of the Supreme Council ceased to exist according to Article 4 of the Law “On the Procedure for the Enforcement of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania”.

7.4. Taking account of the fact that the institution of the Head of State was established in the 1992 Constitution upon the consolidation of the institution of the President of the Republic, and the fact that under the Constitution the legal status of the President of the Republic as Head of State is different from that of all other state officials, as well as the fact that the post of the Chairman of the Supreme Council is provided in the Constitution only as a provisional one and is linked with the transitional legal situation when the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania is elected but has not convened into its first sitting, it is clear that the status of the Chairman of the Supreme Council that worked in 1990–1992 is not identical with the status of the President of the Republic as Head of State established in the 1992 Constitution.

Thus, under the Constitution, the post of the Chairman of the Supreme Council is different from the institution of the President of the Republic as Head of State.

8. The provision of the impugned Paragraph 4 of Article 7 of the Law on State Pensions (wording of 13 June 2000) that the state pension of the President of the Republic shall be granted and paid according to the Law on the President of the Republic of Lithuania to the Chairman of the Supreme Council-Reconstituent Seimas after he leaves state service implies that under the Law on the President of the Republic of Lithuania the pension of the President of the Republic may be paid not only to a former President of the Republic as former Head of State but also to another person, i.e. the Chairman of the Supreme Council upon his leaving state service.

Thus, legal pre-conditions have been created to equate the Chairman of the Supreme Council that worked in 1990–1992 upon leaving state service with a former President of the Republic as former Head of State.

Alongside, legal pre-conditions have been created to equate the institution of the Chairman of the Supreme Council that worked in 1990–1992 with the institution of the President of the Republic as Head of State and thereby to deny the constitutional status of the President of the Republic as differing from the status of all other state officials.

It has been held in this ruling of the Constitutional Court that the legislature is not permitted to establish such legal regulation which might deny the individual legal status of the President of the Republic, which is different from that of all other state officials, and which might create legal pre-conditions for equating any other person with the President of the Republic, Head of State. By the legal regulation established in Paragraph 4 of Article 7 of the Law on State Pensions (wording of 13 June 2000) the constitutional status of the President of the Republic as differing from the status of all other state officials is denied. Thus, Paragraph 1 of Article 77 of the Constitution is violated.

It has also been held in this ruling of the Constitutional Court that the provisions of Article 90 of the Constitution also mean that that the legislature is prohibited from establishing such legal regulation whereby a person who has not been elected President of the Republic might receive the pension of the President of the Republic. By the legal regulation established in Paragraph 4 of Article 7 of the Law on State Pensions (wording of 13 June 2000) violates the provision of Article 90 of the Constitution that the financing of the President of the Republic shall be established by law.

9. Taking account of the arguments set forth, it should be concluded that Paragraph 4 of Article 7 of the Law on State Pensions (wording of 13 June 2000) conflicts with Paragraph 1 of Article 77 and Article 90 of the Constitution.

III

On the compliance of the Law on the Amendment and Supplementation of Articles 7, 11, 15 of the Law on State Pensions with Article 71 of the Constitution.

1. On 13 June 2000, the Seimas enacted the Law on the Amendment and Supplementation of Articles 7, 11, 15 of the Law on State Pensions. On 16 June 2000 the Law was delivered to the President of the Republic. The President of the Republic neither signed the Law and officially promulgated it, nor on a reasoned basis referred it back to the Seimas for a repeated deliberation. The impugned Law was signed and officially promulgated by the First Deputy Speaker of the Seimas on 26 June 2000. On 28 June 2000 the Law was published in the official gazette Valstybės žinios and came into force as of 1 July 2000.

The Law indicates that the First Deputy Speaker promulgates the Law on the basis of Paragraph 2 of Article 71 of the Constitution.

In the opinion of the petitioner, the First Deputy Speaker does not enjoy constitutional powers to sign and officially promulgate laws, therefore, the impugned Law according to the procedure of the signing, publication and entry into force of laws which is established in the Constitution conflicts with Paragraph 2 of Article 71 of the Constitution.

2. It is impossible to construe the procedure of the signing, publication and entry into force of laws which is established in the Constitution by dissociating the provisions of Article 71 of the Constitution pointed out by the petitioner from other constitutional provisions, since the norms regulating the signing, official publication and entry into force of laws, as well as establishing the constitutional powers of the Deputy Speaker of the Seimas are set down in various articles of the Constitution.

3. The procedure of the signing, publication and entry into force of laws and other legal acts adopted by the Seimas is entrenched not only in Article 71 of the Constitution which is pointed out by the petitioner but also Article 70, Item 24 of Article 84 and Article 149 of the Constitution.

3.1. Article 71 of the Constitution provides:

Within ten days of receiving a law passed by the Seimas, the President of the Republic shall either sign and officially promulgate said law, or shall refer it back to the Seimas together with relevant reasons for reconsideration.

In the event that the law enacted by the Seimas is not referred back or signed by the President of the Republic within the established period, the law shall become effective upon the signing and official promulgation thereof by the Speaker of the Seimas.

The President of the Republic must, within five days, sign and officially promulgate laws and other acts adopted by referendum.

In the event that the President of the Republic does not sign and promulgate such laws within the established period, said laws shall become effective upon being signed and officially promulgated by the Speaker of the Seimas.”

3.2. Article 70 of the Constitution provides:

The laws adopted by the Seimas shall be come into force after the signing and official promulgation thereof by the President of the Republic, unless the laws themselves establish a later enforcement date.

Other acts adopted by the Seimas and the Statute of the Seimas shall be signed by the Speaker of the Seimas. Said acts shall become effective the day following the publication thereof, unless the acts themselves provide for another procedure of coming into force.”

3.3. Item 24 of Article 84 of the Constitution provides that the President of the Republic shall “sign and promulgate laws enacted by the Seimas or refer them back to the Seimas according to the procedure provided for in Article 71 of the Constitution.”

3.4. Article 149 of the Constitution provides:

The adopted law on an amendment to the Constitution shall be signed by the President of the Republic and officially promulgated within 5 days.

If the President of the Republic does not sign and promulgate such a law in due time, this law shall become effective when the Speaker of the Seimas signs and promulgates it.

The law on an amendment to the Constitution shall become effective no earlier than one month after the adoption thereof.”

4. Paragraph 1 of Article 7 of the Constitution provides that “any law or other statute which conflicts with the Constitution shall be invalid.” The Constitution is a legal act having the supreme legal power and serving as a basis for the legal system of this country. All other legal acts must be in conformity with the Constitution. The main provisions of legal regulation are entrenched in the Constitution, the Constitution forms the basis for legislation (the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 29 May 1997). The legislature enjoys discretion to particularise and detail the provisions of the Constitution and to regulate relations in a legal manner, which are not regulated expressis verbis in the Constitution. It is important that in doing so, the legislature not violate the principles and norms of the Constitution.

Item 2 of Article 67 of the Constitution provides that the Seimas shall enact laws. The enactment of laws is one of the most important functions of the Seimas as the representation of the Nation, its constitutional competence. The Seimas, while enacting laws (Item 2 of Article 67 of the Constitution) and determining the structure and procedure of activities of the Seimas by the Statute of the Seimas (Article 76 of the Constitution) enjoys the constitutional competence to particularise and detail the procedure of the signing, publication and entry into force of laws and other legal acts passed both by referendum and the Seimas, which is established in the Constitution. While doing so, the Seimas may not violate the provisions of the Constitution.

5. Articles 70, 71, Item 24 of Article 84 and Article 149 of the Constitution consolidate the observance of the procedure of the signing, publication and entry into force of laws and other legal acts adopted by the Seimas, which is established in the Constitution. The observance of such a procedure is an important pre-condition of the ensuring the supremacy of the Constitution.

Paragraph 2 of Article 7 of the Constitution provides: “Only laws which are published shall be valid.” The signing and official publication of laws, i.e. promulgation of laws, is the final stage of the legislative process. The signing and official publication of laws is a necessary condition of their entry into force.

Under the Constitution, a law which has not been signed by the official indicated in the Constitution may not be officially published and come into force. Also, a law which has been signed by an official who does not enjoy corresponding constitutional powers may not be officially published and come into force.

6. In the course of a systemic construction of the provisions of Articles 70, 71, Item 24 of Article 84 as well as Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 149 of the Constitution, it becomes clear that the signing and official publication of the laws adopted by the Seimas as well as laws adopted by referendum are always linked with the President of the Republic.

6.1. Under the Constitution, the signing and official promulgation (within the time limits pointed out in Article 71) of the laws adopted by the Seimas as well as laws adopted by referendum is within the competence of the President of the Republic. Enjoying the constitutional powers to sign and officially promulgate laws, the President of the Republic takes part in the legislative process (the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 19 January 1994).

6.2. The President of the Republic also has the right not to sign a law passed by the Seimas and, within ten days of receiving, to refer it back to the Seimas together with relevant reasons for reconsideration (Paragraph 1 of Article 71 of the Constitution), i.e. he enjoys the right of delayed veto. The Constitution does not provide that the President of the Republic has the right of delayed veto in connection with laws passed by referendum or in connection with laws amending the Constitution. Under the Constitution, the President of the Republic enjoys such a right only with regard to the laws adopted by the Seimas save laws amending the Constitution. While implementing the right of delayed veto, the President of the Republic may also submit proposals how the law adopted by the Seimas but not signed by the President of the Republic yet ought to be amended or supplemented. Under Paragraph 1 of Article 72 of the Constitution, the Seimas may reconsider and enact laws which have been referred back by the President of the Republic. After reconsideration by the Seimas, a law shall be deemed enacted if the amendments and supplements submitted by the President of the Republic were adopted, or if more than half of all the Seimas members vote in the affirmative, and if it is a constitutional law—if at least three-fifths of all the Seimas members vote in the affirmative (Paragraph 2 of Article 72 of the Constitution); the President of the Republic must, within three days, sign and forthwith officially promulgate laws re-enacted by the Seimas (Paragraph 3 of Article 72 of the Constitution). Such a relation between the powers of the President of the Republic and the Seimas is an important aspect of the separation of powers entrenched in the Constitution.

Under Article 85 of the Constitution, the President of the Republic, implementing the powers vested in him or her, shall issue acts-decrees. Under Paragraph 1 of Article 71 of the Constitution, the President of the Republic referring back, within ten days of receiving, a law passed by the Seimas, must indicate in his or her decree relevant reasons for the referring back of the law. Meanwhile, submission of draft amendments and supplements to the law referred back for the Seimas is not a constitutional duty of the President of the Republic but his constitutional right.

6.3. The provisions of Paragraph 1 of Article 71, Item 24 of Article 84 and Paragraph 2 of Article 71 of the Constitution are interrelated. Under the Constitution, the President of the Republic has the right, within ten days of receiving a law passed by the Seimas, to perform one legal action from among those pointed out in the above provisions: either to sign and officially promulgate the law passed by the Seimas (the right of promulgation), or to refer it back to the Seimas together with relevant reasons for reconsideration (the right of delayed veto). To perform one of such legal actions is a constitutional duty of the President of the Republic.

The formula “the law enacted by the Seimas is not referred back or signed by the President of the Republic within the established period” employed in Paragraph 2 of Article 71 of the Constitution is not to be interpreted as meaning that the President of the Republic has the right not to sign and thus not to promulgate officially the law passed by the Seimas without referring the said law back to the Seimas together with relevant reasons. This formula denotes such a factual situation when the President of the Republic, although having the constitutional duty to sign and officially promulgate a law passed by the Seimas within ten days of receiving it, or to refer it back to the Seimas together with relevant reasons for reconsideration, still, for certain reasons neither promulgates the law passed by the Seimas nor makes use of the right of delayed veto. Paragraph 2 of Article 71 of the Constitution provides that in such a case the law shall be signed and officially promulgated by the Speaker of the Seimas.

Thus, the constitutional powers of the Speaker of the Seimas to sign and officially promulgate laws are linked with strict conditions established in the Constitution: the Speaker of the Seimas shall sign and officially promulgate laws only in the event that the President of the Republic neither signs nor officially promulgates them (Paragraphs 2 and 4 of Article 71, Paragraph 2 of Article 149). Besides, in order that the Speaker of the Seimas have the constitutional powers to sign and officially promulgate laws adopted by the Seimas, it is necessary that the President of the Republic not only not promulgate these laws but also that he not use his right of the delayed veto (save laws amending the Constitution). Thus, the powers of the Speaker of the Seimas to sign and officially promulgate laws are conditioned by corresponding actions of the President of the Republic.

7. The situations when the President of the Republic neither promulgates laws passed by the Seimas nor makes use of his right of the delayed veto are to be interpreted under the Constitution depending on whether the powers of the President of the Republic are terminated, or not terminated, and whether the President of the Republic is holding office or is temporarily unable to perform his duties.

7.1. While establishing which official enjoys the constitutional powers to sign and officially promulgate a law passed by the Seimas which was neither signed nor officially promulgated by the President of the Republic and which was not referred back to the Seimas together with relevant reasons for reconsideration due to the fact that the powers of the President of the Republic are terminated, one must take account of the provisions of Article 88 of the Constitution.

Article 88 of the Constitution provides:

The powers of the President of the Republic shall be terminated:

1) upon the expiration of the term of office;

2) upon holding a pre-term presidential election;

3) upon resignation from office;

4) upon the death of the President of the Republic;

5) when the Seimas removes the President from office according to the procedure for impeachment proceedings; and

6) when the Seimas, taking into consideration the conclusion of the Constitutional Court and by three-fifths majority vote of all the Seimas members, adopts a resolution stating that the President of the Republic is unable to fulfil the duties of office for reasons of health.”

It needs to be noted that the list of the bases of termination of the powers of the President of the Republic which is established in Article 88 of the Constitution is final and may not be interpreted in an expanding manner.

7.1.1. Upon termination of the powers of the President of the Republic on the bases provided for in Items 1 and 2 of Article 88 of the Constitution, a newly elected President of the Republic takes over the powers of the President of the Republic. The newly elected President of the Republic has all the powers which are provided for the President of the Republic in the Constitution and the laws, thus, including the powers to sign and officially promulgate laws within ten days of receiving them, which were passed by the Seimas at the time when the previous President of the Republic was in office.

7.1.2. Upon expiration of the powers of the President of the Republic pursuant to the bases established in Items 3, 4, 5 and 6 of Article 88 of the Constitution, there appears such a legal situation when a new President of the Republic is not elected yet. Paragraph 1 of Article 89 of the Constitution provides that in the event that the President of the Republic dies or is removed from office according to the procedure for impeachment proceedings, or if the Seimas resolves that the President of the Republic is unable to fulfil the duties of office for reasons of health, the duties of President shall temporarily be passed over to the Seimas Speaker. In such a case, the Speaker of the Seimas shall lose his or her powers in the Seimas, and at the behest of the Seimas, the duties of Speaker shall temporarily be carried out by the Deputy Speaker.

It needs to be noted that the realisation of the constitutional right of the Speaker of the Seimas to temporarily perform the duties of the President of the Republic is linked with an establishment of the legal fact, i.e. one of the circumstances pointed out in Paragraph 1 of Article 89 of the Constitution due to which the powers of the President of the Republic become terminated pursuant to Items 3, 4, 5 or 6 of Article 88 of the Constitution. That the legal effects pointed out in the Constitution may appear, this legal fact must be established while observing due legal procedure. This is the entry into force of the act of the President of the Republic in which he states about his resignation (Item 3 of Article 88 of the Constitution); establishment of the fact of death of the President of the Republic under procedure provided for in laws (Item 4 of Article 88 of the Constitution); the entry into force of the Seimas legal act removing the President of the Republic from office by three-fifths majority vote of all the Seimas members according to the procedure for impeachment proceedings established in the Statute of the Seimas (Item 5 of Article 88 and Article 74 of the Constitution); the entry into force of the Seimas resolution adopted while taking into consideration the conclusion of the Constitutional Court and by three-fifths majority vote of all the Seimas members and stating that the President of the Republic is unable to fulfil the duties of office for reasons of health (Item 6 of Article 88 and Item 2 of Paragraph 3 of Article 105 of the Constitution).

Paragraph 2 of Article 77 of the Constitution provides that the President shall represent the State of Lithuania and shall perform all the duties which he or she is charged with by the Constitution and laws. Thus, the Speaker of the Seimas, under Paragraph 1 of Article 89 of the Constitution temporarily performing the duties of the President of the Republic, discharges everything that the Constitution and laws commission the President of the Republic to do. Thus, he has the powers to sign and officially promulgate the laws passed by the Seimas within 10 days of receiving them, or to refer them back to the Seimas together with relevant reasons for reconsideration.

It needs to be noted that the Speaker of the Seimas who temporarily performs the duties of the President of the Republic exercises the constitutional powers of the President of the Republic but not those of the Speaker of the Seimas because he has lost them temporarily. Meanwhile, the Deputy Speaker of the Seimas who temporarily performs the duties of the Speaker of the Seimas at the behest of the Seimas also takes over the powers of the Speaker of the Seimas established in Paragraph 2 of Article 71 of the Constitution to sign and officially promulgate the laws in the cases when the Speaker of the Seimas who temporarily performs the duties of the President of the Republic for certain reasons neither signs and officially promulgates the said laws, nor refers them back to the Seimas together with relevant reasons for reconsideration.

Attention should be paid to the fact that the formula “at the behest of the Seimas” employed in Paragraph 1 of Article 89 of the Constitution means not general but individual legal regulation when a corresponding Seimas legal act commissions a particular Deputy Speaker of the Seimas to temporarily perform the functions of the Speaker of the Seimas, and only for the period until the Speaker of the Seimas resumes his duties again.

In the situations provided for in Paragraph 1 of Article 89 of the Constitution, the Speaker of the Seimas performs the duties of the President of the Republic until a new President of the Republic is elected and begins to fulfil his duties. After the Speaker of the Seimas begins to temporarily perform the duties of the President of the Republic, the Seimas must announce, within 10 days, an election for the President of the Republic which must be held within two months; if the Seimas cannot convene and announce the election for the President of the Republic, the election shall be announced by the Government (Paragraph 1 of Article 89 of the Constitution). After the newly elected President of the Republic begins to perform his duties, the Speaker of the Seimas ceases the temporary performance of the duties of the President of the Republic and resumes the duties of the Speaker of the Seimas, while the Deputy Speaker of the Seimas who has been performing the duties of the Speaker of the Seimas at the behest of the Seimas, ceases the temporary performance of the duties of the Speaker of the Seimas and resumes the duties of the Deputy Speaker of the Seimas. The right of official promulgation of laws passed by the Seimas and that of the delayed veto are already enjoyed by the elected President of the Republic.

Also such legal situations are possible when even though one of the situations provided for in Paragraph 1 of Article 89 of the Constitution is present, but a corresponding legal fact has not been established in accordance with due legal procedure (thus, it has not lead to respective legal effects). In such cases the Speaker of the Seimas, under the Constitution, may not temporarily perform the functions of the President of the Republic yet, thus so far he does not enjoy temporary powers of the President of the Republic to sign and officially promulgate the laws passed by the Seimas within 10 days of receiving them, or to refer them back to the Seimas together with relevant reasons for reconsideration. In view of the circumstances pointed out in Paragraph 1 of Article 89 and Items 3, 4, 5 and 6 of Article 88 of the Constitution, different legal situations are possible. For instance, in case the Seimas resolution adopted while taking into consideration the conclusion of the Constitutional Court and by three-fifths majority vote of all the Seimas members and stating that the President of the Republic is unable to fulfil the duties of office for reasons of health has not come into force (Item 6 of Article 88 and Item 2 of Paragraph 3 of Article 105 of the Constitution), or the act of the President of the Republic in which he states about his resignation has not come into force (Item 3 of Article 88 of the Constitution), or the Seimas legal act removing the President of the Republic from office by three-fifths majority vote of all the Seimas members according to the procedure for impeachment proceedings established in the Statute of the Seimas has not come into force (Item 5 of Article 88 and Article 74 of the Constitution), the said powers are still vested in the President of the Republic. Until the establishment of the fact of death of the President of the Republic under procedure provided for in laws (Item 4 of Article 88 of the Constitution), no one may implement the powers of the President of the Republic to sign and officially promulgate the laws passed by the Seimas within 10 days of receiving them, or to refer them back to the Seimas together with relevant reasons for reconsideration.

7.2. The Constitution regulates the legal situations when the President of the Republic within 10 days of the receiving of the laws passed by the Seimas neither signs and officially promulgates the said laws, nor refers them back to the Seimas together with relevant reasons for reconsideration not due to the reasons that the powers of the President of the Republic are terminated but that he is temporarily unable to perform his duties.

Paragraph 2 of Article 89 of the Constitution specifies that the Speaker of the Seimas shall act for the President of the Republic when the President is temporarily absent beyond the boundaries of the country or has fallen ill and by reason thereof is temporarily unable to fulfil the duties of office.

It needs to be noted that the formula “the duties <…> shall temporarily be passed over to the Seimas Speaker” employed in Paragraph 1 of Article 89 of the Constitution and the formula “the Speaker of the Seimas shall act for” employed in Paragraph 2 of Article 89 of the Constitution are not identical as far as their legal content is concerned. The formula “the duties <…> shall temporarily be passed over to the Seimas Speaker” denotes such a legal situation when the powers of the President of the Republic have terminated, a new President of the Republic has not been elected, while the duties of the President of the Republic are temporarily performed by the Speaker of the Seimas; as long as he temporarily performs the duties of the President of the Republic, the Speaker of the Seimas does not enjoy his powers in the Seimas. Meanwhile, the formula “the Speaker of the Seimas shall act for” denotes such a legal situation when the President is temporarily absent beyond the boundaries of the country or has fallen ill and by reason thereof is temporarily unable to fulfil the duties of office, and due to this the Speaker of the Seimas temporarily acts for the President of the Republic. While temporarily acting for the President of the Republic, the Speaker of the Seimas enjoys his powers of the Speaker of the Seimas.

A temporary absence of the President of the Republic beyond the boundaries of the country or his illness still are not sufficient constitutional grounds for the Speaker of the Seimas to temporarily act for the President of the Republic because of the sole fact that the President of the Republic is temporarily absent beyond the boundaries of the country or has fallen ill he does not lose his legal status as the President of the Republic and the powers granted to him by the Constitution and laws. The Speaker of the Seimas temporarily acts for the President of the Republic only if there are both conditions provided for in Paragraph 2 of Article 89 of the Constitution: (1) the President of the Republic is temporarily absent beyond the boundaries of the country or has fallen ill; (2) by reason thereof he is temporarily unable to fulfil the duties of office. Both these facts must be established according to due legal procedure. To establish such a procedure by law is a constitutional duty of the Seimas. Such a procedure has not been established yet.

It needs to be noted that an interpretation of the provision of Paragraph 2 of Article 89 of the Constitution that a temporary absence of the President of the Republic beyond the boundaries of the country or his illness are sufficient constitutional grounds for the Speaker of the Seimas to temporarily act for the President of the Republic would be groundless from the constitutional standpoint. Such an interpretation of Paragraph 2 of Article 89 of the Constitution would create pre-conditions for treating the Speaker of the Seimas who is temporarily acting for the President of the Republic under Paragraph 2 of Article 89 of the Constitution as Head of State, even though the President of the Republic is Head of State and does not lose his powers granted to him by the Constitution and laws even when he is temporarily absent beyond the boundaries of the country or has fallen ill. The President of the Republic is Head of State even in cases when by reason of his temporary absence beyond the boundaries of the country or his illness he is unable to fulfil the duties of office although the Speaker of the Seimas is acting for him at this time. Under the Constitution, the Speaker of the Seimas, even acting temporarily for the President of the Republic at the time when the latter by reason of his temporary absence beyond the boundaries of the country or his illness is unable to fulfil the duties of office, is not Head of State but the head of one of state institutions, i.e. the Seimas. There is only one Head of State in Lithuania, i.e. the President of the Republic.

While temporarily acting for the President of the Republic under Paragraph 2 of Article 89 of the Constitution, unlike that when he temporarily performs the duties of the President of the Republic under Paragraph 1 of Article 89 of the Constitution, the Speaker of the Seimas may not exercise certain powers of the President of the Republic which are pointed out expressis verbis by the Constitution: Paragraph 3 of Article 89 of the Constitution provides that, while temporarily acting for the President of the Republic, the Speaker of the Seimas may neither announce a pre-term election of the Seimas nor dismiss or appoint Ministers without the agreement of the Seimas. Paragraph 3 of Article 89 of the Constitution also establishes a special guarantee for the Speaker of the Seimas temporarily acting for the President of the Republic: during the said period, the Seimas may not consider the issue of lack of confidence in the Speaker of the Seimas.

It needs to be noted that a temporary performance of the duties of the President of the Republic or temporary acting for him are possible only upon the bases pointed out in Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 89 of the Constitution, while the Speaker of the Seimas is the only state official who may temporarily perform the duties of the President of the Republic or to act temporarily for the President of the Republic. Paragraph 4 of Article 89 of the Constitution specifies that the powers of the President of the Republic may not be executed in any other cases, or by any other persons or institutions.

7.3. Still in a different manner the Constitution regulates the legal situations when the President of the Republic for certain reasons neither signs and officially promulgates the laws passed by the Seimas within 10 days of the receiving of these laws nor refers them back to the Seimas together with relevant reasons for reconsideration, even though his powers have not terminated and he performs his duties of office.

As mentioned before, under Paragraph 2 of Article 71 of the Constitution, if during the indicated time (i.e. within 10 days of receiving, as established in Paragraph 1 of the same article) the President of the Republic neither signs and officially promulgates said law, nor refers it back to the Seimas together with relevant reasons for reconsideration, the law shall become effective upon the signing and official promulgation thereof by the Speaker of the Seimas. Under Paragraph 4 of Article 71 of the Constitution, in the event that the President of the Republic does not sign and promulgate laws adopted by referendum within the established period (i.e. within five days, as established in Paragraph 3 of the same article), the said laws shall become effective upon being signed and officially promulgated by the Speaker of the Seimas.

These are independent powers of the Speaker of the Seimas to promulgate laws adopted by the Seimas. On the other hand, the powers of the Speaker of the Seimas to sign and officially promulgate the laws passed by the Seimas are linked with the legal situation when the President of the Republic, within ten days of receiving laws passed by the Seimas, neither signs and officially promulgates them, nor refers them back to the Seimas together with relevant reasons for reconsideration, even though his powers have not terminated and he performs his duties of office. Therefore, as it has been held in this ruling of the Constitutional Court, the powers of the Speaker of the Seimas are determined by corresponding actions of the President of the Republic. When the President of the Republic, within ten days of receiving a law passed by the Seimas, neither signs and officially promulgates it, nor refers it back to the Seimas together with relevant reasons for reconsideration, under Paragraph 2 of Article 71 of the Constitution the Speaker of the Seimas is empowered to promulgate this law.

Alongside, it needs to be noted that under Paragraphs 2 and 4 of Article 71 of the Constitution, the Speaker of the Seimas has the powers to promulgate the laws adopted by the Seimas which have not been signed nor officially promulgated by the President of the Republic but he may not refer them back to the Seimas together with relevant reasons for reconsideration. Therefore, the powers of the Speaker of the Seimas to promulgate the laws adopted by the Seimas are essentially different from the powers of the President of the Republic to promulgate them: the President of the Republic has the right, while the Speaker of the Seimas has both the right and duty to sign the laws passed by the Seimas and officially promulgate them.

In this context it is to be noted that the Speaker of the Seimas implements the said powers only after the time period of 10 and 5 days expires, which is pointed out in Article 71 of the Constitution.

The powers of the Speaker of the Seimas to sign and officially promulgate the law passed by the Seimas is only the right and duty of the Speaker of the Seimas, his constitutional prerogative which is realised in the event that during the established time (i.e. within 10 days of receiving a law) the President of the Republic neither signed the law passed by the Seimas nor referred it back to the Seimas together with relevant reasons for reconsideration, while the Speaker of the Seimas at this time neither performs the duties of the President of the Republic nor temporarily acts for the President of the Republic. The said powers of the Speaker of the Seimas are directly established in the Constitution for the Speaker of the Seimas.

In its rulings the Constitutional Court has held more than once that direct establishment of powers in the Constitution means that one state institution may not take over such powers from another state institution, transfer or waive such powers. Thus, if the Constitution directly establishes powers for a certain state official, he may not take over, transfer or waive such powers except in the cases provided for in the Constitution itself. Thus, the powers of the Speaker of the Seimas established in the Constitution to sign and officially promulgate the laws passed by the Seimas in the event that within 10 days of receiving them the President of the Republic neither signed nor referred them back to the Seimas together with relevant reasons for reconsideration, if the Speaker of the Seimas has not temporarily lost his powers under Paragraph 1 of Article 89 of the Constitution, may not be transferred nor passed over to a Deputy Speaker of the Seimas or any other person.

8. The post of the Deputy Speaker of the Seimas is established in the Constitution (Paragraph 1 of Article 66 and Paragraph 1 of Article 89). While establishing the structure and procedure of activities of the Seimas by the Statute of the Seimas, the Seimas enjoys competence to establish the number of Deputy Speakers of the Seimas, their powers and status. When the Seimas is establishing this, it is bound by the Constitution. Neither in establishing the structure and procedure of activities of the Seimas, as well as the powers and status of the Deputy Speaker of the Seimas or of Deputy Speakers of the Seimas, nor in commissioning the Deputy Speaker of the Seimas or Deputy Speakers of the Seimas to perform certain functions, the Seimas may not establish a legal regulation (neither general nor individual) which would compete with that established in the Constitution.

In the context of the case at issue it needs to be noted that the post of the First Deputy Speaker of the Seimas is not established in the Constitution. The establishment of such a post is within the competence of the Seimas.

9. In its ruling of 24 February 1994, the Constitutional Court held: “Conforming to the Constitution, the Speaker of the Seimas is an official of the Seimas in whom independent constitutional powers are vested, and Deputy Speaker of the Seimas, in accordance with the first paragraph of Article 66 of the Constitution, may perform only one function, i.e. preside over sittings of the Seimas. The constitutional powers of the Speaker of the Seimas shall be passed to the Deputy Speaker of the Seimas only in the case prescribed by Article 89 of the Constitution, i.e. when he, at the behest of the Seimas, shall temporarily perform the duties of the Speaker of the Seimas.” Thus, the Deputy Speaker of the Seimas acquires the constitutional powers of the Speaker of the Seimas only in accordance with the bases pointed out in Paragraph 1 of Article 89 of the Constitution.

Paragraph 1 of Article 66 of the Constitution provides that the Deputy Speaker of the Seimas shall preside over sittings of the Seimas. The Deputy Speaker of the Seimas does not enjoy any other constitutional powers. Meanwhile, the Deputy Speaker of the Seimas may perform the powers established in the Constitution for the Speaker of the Seimas but not for the Deputy Speaker of the Seimas only in the event that the Speaker of the Seimas temporarily performs the duties of the President of the Republic under Paragraph 1 of Article 89 of the Constitution, and if there is a Seimas act which has been adopted and gone into effect under established procedure whereby a particular Deputy Speaker of the Seimas is commissioned to temporarily perform the duties of the Speaker of the Seimas.

In the event that the Speaker of the Seimas temporarily performs the duties of the President of the Republic under Paragraph 1 of Article 89 of the Constitution, the duties of the former are temporarily performed by the Deputy Speaker of the Seimas. In such cases the Deputy Speaker of the Seimas implements not the constitutional powers of the Deputy Speaker of the Seimas but those of the Speaker of the Seimas whose duties he temporarily performs at the behest of the Seimas. The fact that under the Constitution the Deputy Speaker of the Seimas enjoys and implements the constitutional powers of the Speaker of the Seimas is linked with the fact that the President of the Republic is unable to perform his duties because of the circumstances pointed out by Paragraph 1 of Article 89 of the Constitution, and with the fact that before a newly elected President of the Republic commences to perform his duties, the duties of the President of the Republic are temporarily performed by the Speaker of the Seimas, who, under Paragraph 1 of Article 89 of the Constitution, at this time temporarily does not enjoy his powers in the Seimas. At that time the Deputy Speaker of the Seimas, who temporarily performs the duties of the Speaker of the Seimas, also enjoys the powers under Paragraphs 2 and 4 of Article 71 of the Constitution to sign and officially promulgate laws if they are not signed and officially promulgated within the established time by the Speaker of the Seimas who is temporarily performing the duties of the President of the Republic and who does not enjoy temporarily his powers in the Seimas.

Meanwhile, in cases when the Speaker of the Seimas temporarily acts for the President of the Republic when the President is temporarily absent beyond the boundaries of the country or has fallen ill and by reason thereof is temporarily unable to fulfil the duties of office under Paragraph 2 of Article 89 of the Constitution, the Speaker of the Seimas does not lose his powers in the Seimas. Therefore, the Deputy Speaker of the Seimas, under the Constitution, may not perform the constitutional duties of the Speaker of the Seimas in such cases.

The Seimas enjoys discretion to establish as to which Deputy Speaker of the Seimas must perform the powers of the Speaker of the Seimas when he is unable to perform his functions for certain reasons. The Constitution does not prohibit this. However, establishing this, the Seimas may not commission this Deputy Speaker of the Seimas to exercise the powers which, under the Constitution, are enjoyed by the Speaker of the Seimas only, and create legal pre-conditions for this Deputy Speaker of the Seimas to exercise the powers of the Speaker of the Seimas at the time when he has not lost his powers in the Seimas under Paragraph 1 of Article 89 of the Constitution as the Constitution provides for only one legal situation when the powers of the Speaker of the Seimas are passed to the Deputy Speaker of the Seimas, i.e. the situation pointed out in Paragraph 1 of Article 89 of the Constitution. The Seimas, while commissioning a particular Deputy Speaker of the Seimas to perform the functions of the Speaker of the Seimas to temporarily perform the duties of the Speaker of the Seimas may establish this commissioning for the period not longer than one during which the Speaker of the Seimas does not enjoy his powers in the Seimas under Paragraph 1 of Article 89 of the Constitution.

Thus, in addition, the Seimas may not establish such legal regulation whereby the Deputy Speaker of the Seimas (be it the First Deputy Speaker or any other) is commissioned to sign and officially promulgate laws passed by the Seimas if there is not a Seimas act which has been adopted and has come into force by established procedure and which commissions the Deputy Speaker of the Seimas to temporarily perform the powers of the Speaker of the Seimas due to the fact that subsequent to one of the bases pointed out in Paragraph 1 of Article 89 of the Constitution the Speaker of the Seimas is performing the duties of the President of the Republic and has temporarily lost his powers in the Seimas.

10. It has been mentioned that the President of the Republic neither signed or officially promulgated the impugned Law, nor on a reasoned basis referred it back to the Seimas for a repeated deliberation.

10.1. From the evidence collected in this case it is clear that when the First Deputy Speaker of the Seimas signed the impugned Law, the legal situation provided for in Paragraph 1 of Article 89 of the Constitution did not exist at the time: the President of the Republic was in office.

10.2. As mentioned before, in the event that the law enacted by the Seimas is not referred back to the Seimas on a reasoned basis for a repeated deliberation or signed by the President of the Republic within 10 days of receiving, under Paragraph 2 of Article 71 of the Constitution it is signed and officially promulgated by the Speaker of the Seimas; the powers of the Speaker of the Seimas to sign and officially promulgate the laws adopted by the Seimas but not signed and officially promulgated by the President of the Republic nor referred back to the Seimas for a repeated deliberation is a constitutional prerogative of the Speaker of the Seimas. These are the powers which, if the Speaker of the Seimas has not temporarily lost his powers in the Seimas under Paragraph 1 of Article 89 of the Constitution, may not, under the Constitution, be transferred to anyone and may not be passed over to the Deputy Speaker of the Seimas.

Thus, after the impugned Law enacted by the Seimas had not been referred back to the Seimas for a repeated deliberation and had not been signed and officially promulgated by the President of the Republic within 10 days of receiving it, under Paragraph 2 of Article 71 of the Constitution this Law ought to have been signed and officially promulgated by the Speaker of the Seimas. These powers of the Speaker of the Seimas may have been passed to a certain Deputy Speaker of the Seimas only in the case that the Speaker of the Seimas had temporarily performed the duties of the President of the Republic under Paragraph 1 of Article 89 of the Constitution, and if there had been a Seimas act which had been adopted and had come into force by established procedure and by which a particular Deputy Speaker of the Seimas had been commissioned to temporarily perform the powers of the Speaker of the Seimas. From the evidence collected in the case it is clear that such a situation did not exist.

By means of its decision No. 2091 of 14 June 2000, the Seimas Board decided to approve of the trip of the Speaker of the Seimas to Germany on 24–26 June 2000. Paragraph 4 of Article 30 of the Statute of the Seimas (wording of 22 December 1998) specified that in the event that the Speaker of the Seimas is temporarily absent or has fallen ill and by reason thereof is temporarily unable to fulfil his or her duties of office, the said duties shall be performed by the First Deputy Speaker of the Seimas or, on a mandate from the Seimas, by another Deputy Speaker for a specified period. From the evidence collected in the case it is clear that at the time when the impugned Law was signed, the First Deputy Speaker of the Seimas was acting for the Speaker of the Seimas. However, under the Constitution, when the Speaker of the Seimas is temporarily absent, his constitutional powers, thus, including the powers granted to him by Paragraph 2 of Article 71 of the Constitution to sign and officially promulgate laws enacted by the Seimas but within the established period neither signed nor referred back to the Seimas together with relevant reasons for reconsideration by the President of the Republic, may not be taken over neither by the First Deputy Speaker of the Seimas nor any other Deputy Speaker of the Seimas.

10.3. As mentioned before, the impugned Law was signed and officially promulgated by the First Deputy Speaker of the Seimas, and that it is indicated in the Law that that the First Deputy Speaker promulgates the Law on the basis of Paragraph 2 of Article 71 of the Constitution.

As it has been held in this ruling of the Constitutional Court, under the Constitution, the fact that the Deputy Speaker of the Seimas enjoys and fulfils the constitutional powers of the Speaker of the Seimas is linked not with the fact that the Speaker of the Seimas is unable to exercise his powers as the Speaker of the Seimas but with the fact that the President of the Republic is unable to perform his duties by reason of the circumstances pointed out in Paragraph 1 of Article 89 of the Constitution and with the fact that until a newly elected President of the Republic commences to perform his duties, the duties of the President of the Republic are temporarily performed by the Speaker of the Seimas who temporarily loses his powers in the Seimas for this period under Paragraph 1 of Article 89 of the Constitution. Only in such cases the Deputy Speaker of the Seimas implements the constitutional powers of the Speaker of the Seimas, whose powers he temporarily implements at the behest of the Seimas, to promulgate laws passed by the Seimas.

Thus, in such a case, under the Constitution, neither the First Deputy Speaker of the Seimas, nor any other Speaker of the Seimas, had the right to sign and officially promulgate the impugned Law. It was only the Speaker of the Seimas that had the constitutional right to sign and promulgate officially the Law after the President of the Republic within the established period neither signed and officially promulgated nor referred it back to the Seimas together with relevant reasons for reconsideration.

Thus, in the course of the signing and official publication of the impugned Law, one disregarded the provision of Paragraph 2 of Article 71 of the Constitution that in the event that the law enacted by the Seimas is not referred back or signed by the President of the Republic within the established period, the law shall become effective upon the signing and official promulgation thereof by the Speaker of the Seimas.

11. Taking account of the arguments set forth, it should be concluded that Law on the Amendment and Supplementation of Articles 7, 11, 15 of the Law on State Pensions according to the procedure of its signing and publication conflicts with Paragraph 2 of Article 71 of the Constitution.

Conforming to Article 102 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and Articles 1, 53, 54, 55 and 56 of the Law on the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania, the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania gives the following

ruling:

1. To recognise that Paragraph 4 of Article 7 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on State Pensions (wording of 13 June 2000) conflicts with Paragraph 1 of Article 77 and Article 90 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania.

2. To recognise that the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on the Amendment and Supplementation of Articles 7, 11, 15 of the Law on State Pensions conflicts with Paragraph 2 of Article 71 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania.

3. To recognise that Paragraph 1 of Article 7 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on State Pensions to the extent that the establishment of the pension of the President of the Republic is linked with the leaving of state service by a former President of the Republic conflicts with Paragraph 1 of Article 77 of the Constitution of Republic of Lithuania.

4. To recognise that Paragraph 2 of Article 20 of the Law on the President of the Republic of Lithuania to the extent that the establishment of the pension of the President of the Republic is linked with the leaving of state service by a former President of the Republic conflicts with Paragraph 1 of Article 77 of the Constitution of Republic of Lithuania.

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

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

Justices of the Constitutional Court:                                                  Armanas Abramavičius

Egidijus Kūris

Kęstutis Lapinskas

Zenonas Namavičius

Augustinas Normantas

Jonas Prapiestis

Vytautas Sinkevičius

Stasys Stačiokas