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On the Law on Presidential Elections

Case No. 24/04

 

THE CONSTITUTIONAL COURT OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA

RULING

ON THE COMPLIANCE OF ARTICLE 11 (WORDING OF 4 MAY 2004) AND PARAGRAPH 2 (WORDING OF 4 MAY 2004) OF ARTICLE 2 OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA’S LAW ON PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS WITH THE CONSTITUTION OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA

 

25 May 2004

Vilnius

 

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

The court reporter—Daiva Pitrėnaitė

Seimas members Vytautas Zabiela and Henrikas Žukauskas, acting as the representatives of a group of members of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania, the petitioner

Julius Sabatauskas, a member of the Seimas, Mindaugas Girdauskas, a senior consultant to the Legal Department of the Office of the Seimas, and Girius Ivoška, the chief specialist to the Legal Department of the Office of the Seimas, acting as the representatives of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania, the party concerned

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 18 May 2004, in its public hearing considered case No. 24/04 subsequent to the petition of the petitioner, a group of members of the Seimas, requesting an investigation into whether Article 1 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law Supplementing the Law on Presidential Elections with Article 11 and Supplementing Article 2 Thereof is not in conflict with the principle of a state under the rule of law enshrined in the Preamble to the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania, and whether Article 2 of this law is not in conflict with the principle of a state under the rule of law enshrined in the Preamble to the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania, as well as with Articles 1 and 2, Paragraph 1 of Article 3, Article 4, Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 5, Paragraph 1 of Article 6, Paragraph 1 of Article 29, Paragraph 1 of Article 33, Paragraph 2 of Article 34, Article 67, Paragraph 1 of Article 78, Article 79, and Paragraph 1 of Article 109 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania.

The Constitutional Court

has established:

I

1. On 4 May 2004, the Seimas adopted the Republic of Lithuania’s Law Supplementing the Law on Presidential Elections with Article 11 and Supplementing Article 2 Thereof (Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2004, No. 75-2568). By Paragraph 1 of Article 2 of this law, Article 2 (wording of 19 September 1996) of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Presidential Elections was supplemented with new Paragraph 2 and it was prescribed that a person, who has been removed from office or his mandate of the Seimas member has been revoked by the Seimas in accordance with the procedure for impeachment proceedings, may not stand for election as the President of the Republic if less than 5 years have elapsed since his removal from office or the revocation of his mandate of the Seimas member. By Article 1 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law Supplementing the Law on Presidential Elections with Article 11 and Supplementing Article 2 Thereof, the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Presidential Elections was supplemented with Article 11, which is set forth as follows:

Article 11. Purposes for Supplementing Article 2 of this Law

Pursuant to the principles of an open, just, and harmonious civil society and state under the rule of law enshrined in the Preamble to the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania, as well as Articles 6, 34 and 74 of the Constitution, the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania adopts this Law.”

2. A group of members of the Seimas, the petitioner, applied to the Constitutional Court with the petition requesting an investigation into whether Article 1 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law Supplementing the Law on Presidential Elections with Article 11 and Supplementing Article 2 Thereof is not in conflict with the principle of a state under the rule of law enshrined in the Preamble to the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania, and whether Article 2 of this law is not in conflict with the principle of a state under the rule of law enshrined in the Preamble to the Constitution, as well as with Articles 1 and 2, Paragraph 1 of Article 3, Article 4, Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 5, Paragraph 1 of Article 6, Paragraph 1 of Article 29, Paragraph 1 of Article 33, Paragraph 2 of Article 34, Article 67, Paragraph 1 of Article 78, Article 79, and Paragraph 1 of Article 109 of the Constitution.

II

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

1. The Constitution shall be an integral and directly applicable act (Paragraph 1 of Article 6 of the Constitution); the norms set forth in various articles of the Constitution are harmonised with each other and constitute a whole.

According to the petitioner, it follows from Articles 1, 2, 3, and 4, Paragraph 1 of Article 33 as well as other provisions of the Constitution that only citizens of the Republic of Lithuania, i.e. the state community—the civil Nation—have the right to create the State of Lithuania, only citizens have the right to decide what should the State of Lithuania be like, and to establish the constitutional system of the State of Lithuania, the organisation of the institutions which implement state power, the bases of the legal relations between a person and the state, the economic system of this country, etc. While executing their rights and freedoms, including the electoral right, citizens participate in the implementation of sovereignty of the Nation. Creation of the democratic national institutes and function thereof is possible only after the electoral right of the citizens is ensured.

In the opinion of the petitioner, the purpose of the norm “the right to stand for election shall be established by the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and by the election laws” provided for in Paragraph 2 of Article 34 of the Constitution, is to establish a basis of legal relations between citizens of the Republic of Lithuania and the State of Lithuania, and the limits of the legal regulation which should be taken into consideration while regulating the passive electoral right of the citizens.

According to the petitioner, Article 56, Paragraph 1 of Article 78, and Paragraph 1 of Article 79 of the Constitution consolidates a final list of requirements for a person who wishes to become President of the Republic; it is not permitted to “narrow” this list by means of the law, while “ignoring” the Constitution.

The petitioner states that Article 5 of the Constitution consolidates the principle of the separation of powers, and Article 7 consolidates the fundamental constitutional principle “any law or other act, which is inconsistent with the Constitution, shall be invalid” which defines the supremacy of the Constitution within the system of other legal acts. The Constitution also consolidates the basic provisions of legal regulation and constitutes the legislative basis. Laws may not be in conflict with the Constitution; while exercising its powers to pass laws the legislature must have regard for the constitutional imperative “the scope of power shall be limited by the Constitution” (Paragraph 2 of Article 5 of the Constitution). Thus, the Seimas, the legislature, while representing the Nation (Article 55 of the Constitution), is independent insofar as its powers are not limited by the Constitution. According to the petitioner, the prerogative of the Seimas to pass and amend a law, and to recognise a law as no longer effective, is unquestionable, however, when doing so, the Seimas must follow the Constitution. The legislature has the discretion to make the provisions of the Constitution more specific or detailed, and to legally regulate the relations which are not expressis verbis regulated by the Constitution, however, while doing so, it must not exceed the principles and norms of the Constitution. Chapter 2, the Preamble, Chapters 3, 4 and 13 of the Constitution define the rights and freedoms which should be ensured for the citizens of the Republic of Lithuania and other persons within the jurisdiction of the Republic of Lithuania. Such rights are constitutional values and they may not be denied or violated by bringing other constitutional values above them or by making them opposed to each other; a balance should exist between these values. The basis of all these values is the Constitution, which, being a value itself, constitutes a “standard” of laws and other legal acts adopted in the state. This follows from the striving for an open, just, and harmonious civil society and a state under the rule of law, which is entrenched in the Preamble to the Constitution, inseparable from which is the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law, a universal principle, which constitutes the basis of the entire legal system of Lithuania and the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania itself, and the content of which is reflected in various provisions of the Constitution. In addition to other requirements, the said constitutional principle implies that human rights and freedoms must be ensured, that all institutions executing state power and other state institutions must act in accordance with law and must obey law, and that the Constitution bears the supreme legal force and that laws and other legal acts must be in compliance with the Constitution.

2. In the opinion of the petitioner, having established in the Republic of Lithuania’s Law Supplementing the Law on Presidential Elections with Article 11 and Supplementing Article 2 Thereof that a person, who has been removed from office or his mandate of the Seimas member has been revoked by the Seimas in accordance with the procedure for impeachment proceedings, may not stand for election as the President of the Republic if less than 5 years have elapsed since his removal from office or the revocation of his mandate of the Seimas member, while no such limitation exists in the Constitution, and having justified this limitation by the striving for an open, just, and harmonious civil society and a state under the rule of law, one established limitations on the passive electoral right of the citizens and, thus, the principles and norms enshrined in the Constitution were violated, and the Constitution as a value was denied.

3. The petitioner maintains that, according to the constitutional doctrine of impeachment, only the sanction of removal from office is applied to a person. The sanctions for violations of law, as established by the state, must be proportionate for the violation of law, they must be in line with the generally important objectives sought, and they should not restrict the person more than it is necessary to achieve these objectives. A just balance (proportion) should exist between the objective sought and measures of achieving this objective, between violations of law and established punishment for the said violations. When providing for a liability and its implementation a just balance between the interests of the person and the society should be maintained in order to avoid an unfounded limitation on the rights of the person. The rights of the person may be limited as far as it is needed to protect the public interests. The petitioner also noted that, by establishing an additional sanction for impeachment, the Seimas undertook the function of administration of justice, while in the Republic of Lithuania justice may be administered only by court.

In the opinion of the petitioner, Article 2 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law Supplementing the Law on Presidential Elections with Article 11 and Supplementing Article 2 Thereof has established an additional sanction to a person, who has been subject to an impeachment procedure, because the passive electoral right of such person is limited by the legal regulation established in this article. Therefore, in the opinion of the petitioner, these limitations are in conflict with the constitutional principles of a state under the rule of law, those of justice and proportionality.

III

In the course of the preparation of the case for the Constitutional Court’s hearing, written explanations were received from the representatives of the party concerned, who were J. Sabatauskas, M. Girdauskas, and G. Ivoška.

1. According to the representatives of the party concerned, the petitioner did not present any arguments related to the conflict of Article 1 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law Supplementing the Law on Presidential Elections with Article 11 and Supplementing Article 2 Thereof with the Constitution; under Paragraph 6 of Article 106 of the Constitution and Item 5 of Paragraph 1 and Paragraph 3 of Article 69 of the Law on the Constitutional Court, this constitutes a basis for refusal to investigate the petition, and at the later stage of the process—for dismissal of the case to the extent that it requests an investigation into the compliance of Article 1 of the said law with the Constitution. On the other hand, Article 1 of the said law only consolidates the purpose of adoption of Article 2 of this law, therefore, in the opinion of J. Sabatauskas, M. Girdauskas, and G. Ivoška, Article 1 itself is not in conflict with the Constitution.

2. In the opinion of the representatives of the party concerned, the list of the limitations applied to a person, who may stand for election as the President of the Republic, which are defined in Article 78 of the Constitution, is not final. Article 34 of the Constitution provides that the right to stand for election shall be established by the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and by the election laws; under Article 78 of the Constitution, a citizen of the Republic of Lithuania by birth, who has resided in Lithuania for not less than the past three years, if he has reached the age of not less than 40 prior to the election day, and if he may be stand for election as a member of the Seimas, may stand for election as the President of the Republic; the same person may not stand for election as the President of the Republic for more than two consecutive terms; under Article 56 of the Constitution, 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 stand for election as a member of the Seimas and consequently the President of the Republic; a person who has not fulfilled punishment imposed on him by court judgment, as well as a person recognised incapable by a court, may not stand for election as the President of the Republic. Moreover, the representatives of the party concerned noted that Article 141 of the Constitution provides that “persons performing actual military service or alternative service, as well as officers of the national defence system, of the police and the Interior, non-commissioned officers, re-enlistees and other paid officials of paramilitary and security services who have not retired to the reserve may not be members of the Seimas and of municipal councils” and that “they may not hold elective or appointive office in State civil service, and may not take part in the activities of political parties and political organisations”, and Article 113 of the Constitution provides that a judge may not hold any other elective or appointive office, and may not participate in the activities of political parties and other political organisations. In the opinion of J. Sabatauskas, M. Girdauskas, and G. Ivoška, the prohibition against participation in the activities of political parties and political organisations is a part of the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law pursuant to which state officials must follow public, instead of private interests, and avoid a conflict of public and private interests, and it reflects the prohibition, which is entrenched in the Constitution, against participation in the campaign of the election of the President of the Republic or the election to the Seimas—the political activity (under Paragraph 2 of Article 83 of the Constitution, a person elected President of the Republic must suspend his activities in political parties and political organisations until the beginning of a new campaign of the election of the President of the Republic). In case of participation of a judge or the state official specified in Article 141 of the Constitution in the campaign of election of the President of the Republic, a conflict could arise between a person’s duty to exercise his powers impartially and his private interest to sand for election, therefore, according to the principle of a state under the rule of law, these persons may not participate in the campaign of election of the President of the Republic and consequently be elected President of the Republic. According to J. Sabatauskas, M. Girdauskas, and G. Ivoška, the final list of limitations applied to a person, who may stand for election as the President of the Republic, is determined by the content of the principle of a state under the rule of law.

3. The constitutions of democratic states treat impeachment as a special procedure, where the issue of the constitutional liability of the official is being solved. The possibility entrenched in the Constitution to remove the President of the Republic from office in accordance with the procedure for impeachment proceedings is a form of public democratic control over the activities of the President of the Republic, a method of his constitutional liability to the Nation, one of the means of self-protection of a democratic civil society against the abuse by the President of the Republic of the powers established for him. According to J. Sabatauskas, M. Girdauskas, and G. Ivoška, under Article 74 of the Constitution, for a gross violation of the Constitution, a breach of the oath or the commission of a crime a person may be removed from office not by an ordinary majority of the participants of the meeting, but by the qualified, the 3/5 majority vote of all the members of the Seimas—the representatives of the Nation. Having taken account of the fact that the Preamble to the Constitution consolidates the striving for an open, just, and harmonious civil society and state under the rule of law, the representatives of the party concerned believe that the participation of the person who has been removed from office in accordance with the procedure for impeachment proceedings in an election and becoming the President of the Republic before a reasonable period of time elapses, would deny the meaning of the provisions of the Constitution linked with application of the constitutional liability under the procedure for impeachment proceedings.

4. The representatives of the party concerned noted that the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law, among other requirements, implies that all the institutions executing state power should act according to law and in compliance with law; a state under the rule of law is a state based on the respect for law. The President of the Republic shall be the Head of State (Paragraph 1 of Article 77 of the Constitution). Therefore, in the opinion of J. Sabatauskas, M. Girdauskas, and G. Ivoška, the President of the Republic may be only a person who is in general eligible for being the Head of State; a person, who has taken the oath to follow the Constitution and law, however, who has breached the oath, grossly violated the Constitution and who, for this reason, has been removed from office by the 3/5 majority vote of all the members of the Seimas—the representatives of the Nation—may not be the Head of the State under the rule of law for at least a reasonable period. Otherwise, a gross disrespect for law would be tolerated and the essence of a state under the rule of law itself would thus be denied: in a state under the rule of law a situation where a person, who officially takes an oath to be faithful to the Republic of Lithuania (Articles 59, 74, 82, 112, and 104 of the Constitution), to respect the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and law, and not to violate it, but grossly violates law (grossly violates the Constitution, breaches the oath, commits a crime) and for the said reason is removed from office, has a right, before the reasonable period of time elapses, to take the oath to follow the law again and to become the Head of State, is impossible. According to the representatives of the party concerned, the exceptional legal status of the President of the Republic also implies the exceptional, special requirements to the candidates for the President of the Republic.

5. Paragraph 1 of Article 86 of the Constitution provides that the person of the President of the Republic is inviolable: while in office, he may neither be arrested nor be held criminally or administratively liable. According to J. Sabatauskas, M. Girdauskas, and G. Ivoška, such a person may be held administratively or criminally liable only in case he has been removed from office in accordance with the procedure for impeachment proceedings. The purpose of the removal of a person from office according to the procedure for impeachment is the creation of a possibility for holding the person, who was the President of the Republic and who has committed a crime or an administrative violation of law, liable in another legal manner under the procedure established by law, and this needs a reasonable period of time. In the opinion of the representatives of the party concerned, the period of time provided for in Article 89 of the Constitution and other articles of the Constitution (from the removal of a person from office of the President of the Republic till the oath of the newly elected President of the Republic) is not enough to bring the said person to criminal or administrative responsibility. Therefore, the provisions of the Constitution may not be interpreted as the ones that give the right to a person, who has been removed from office of the President of the Republic in accordance with the procedure for impeachment proceedings, to participate in the election provided for in Article 89 of the Constitution, as the constitutional principle of equality of persons would thus be denied, and the conditions would be created for a person to be elected President of the Republic at any means and thus to acquire the immunity of the person of the President of the Republic.

6. J. Sabatauskas, M. Girdauskas, and G. Ivoška noted that, under Article 89 of the Constitution, the inability of a person, who was the President of the Republic, to continue holding the office of the President of the Republic for the reason that he has been removed from office according to the procedure for impeachment proceedings, is one of the compulsory bases for calling an election of the President of the Republic. The purpose of the appointment of election on the said basis is not to revise the decision of the Seimas, but to elect the person President of the Republic, who has not breached the oath of the President of the Republic or grossly violated the Constitution. The decision of the Seimas to remove a person from office according to the procedure for impeachment proceedings is a form of application of constitutional liability, and the content of the constitutional liability comprises a limitation on the right of a person, who has been removed from office according to the procedure for impeachment proceedings, to hold office for a certain period of time; the purpose of the application of the constitutional liability is not the adoption of the decision by the Seimas to remove the person from office according to the procedure for impeachment proceedings, but the application of the said limitations for a certain period of time. Therefore, the election established in Article 89 of the Constitution may not be considered a procedure deciding an issue of dismissal of a person, who was the President of the Republic and who has been removed from office according to the procedure for impeachment proceedings, from the constitutional liability, as this would deny the priority of the content of the constitutional liability in respect of the form of application of the constitutional liability.

7. The principle of proportionality should be followed when one defines liability for violations of law. In the opinion of J. Sabatauskas, M. Girdauskas, and G. Ivoška, the legal regulation established in Article 2 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law Supplementing the Law on Presidential Elections with Article 11 and Supplementing Article 2 Thereof is in line with the principle of proportionality, as it provides that the prohibition for a person, who has been removed from the office of the President of the Republic according to the procedure for impeachment proceedings, against standing for election as the President of the Republic is effective not for an unlimited period of time, but for five years. In case a person, who has been removed from office according to the procedure for impeachment proceedings, stood for election as the President of the Republic before the reasonable period of time elapses, the content of the provisions of the Constitution related to the application of the constitutional liability would be denied and the balance of values entrenched in the Constitution would be disturbed.

8. The petitioner’s argument that the Seimas, when adopting Article 2 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law Supplementing the Law on Presidential Elections with Article 11 and Supplementing Article 2 Thereof, undertook the function of administration of justice and applied an additional sanction to a person, was evaluated by J. Sabatauskas, M. Girdauskas, and G. Ivoška as ungrounded, because, they said, the Seimas did not administer justice, but exercised the legislative function—provided more details to the provisions of the Constitution.

9. The representatives of the party concerned maintain that Article 2 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law Supplementing the Law on Presidential Elections with Article 11 and Supplementing Article 2 Thereof is not in conflict with the Constitution.

IV

1. At the Constitutional Court’s hearing the representatives of the petitioner V. Zabiela and H. Žukauskas virtually reiterated the arguments set forth in the petition by the petitioner.

2. At the Constitutional Court’s hearing the representatives of the party concerned J. Sabatauskas, M. Girdauskas, and G. Ivoška virtually reiterated the arguments set forth in their written explanations.

The Constitutional Court

holds that:

I

1. On 4 May 2004, the Seimas adopted the Republic of Lithuania’s Law Supplementing the Law on Presidential Elections with Article 11 and Supplementing Article 2 Thereof. It provides:

Article 1. Supplement to the Law with Article 11

To supplement the Law with Article 11:

Article 11. Purposes for Supplementing Article 2 of this Law

Pursuant to the principles of an open, just, and harmonious civil society and state under the rule of law enshrined in the Preamble to the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania, as well as Articles 6, 34 and 74 of the Constitution, the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania adopts this Law.”

Article 2. Supplement of Article 2 with Paragraph 2

1. To supplement Article 2 with new Paragraph 2:

A person, who has been removed from office or his mandate of the Seimas member has been revoked by the Seimas in accordance with the procedure for impeachment proceedings, may not stand for election as the President of the Republic if less than 5 years have elapsed since his removal from office or the revocation of his mandate of the Seimas member.”

2. To consider former Paragraph 2 of Article 2 as Paragraph 3.”

2. The petitioner requests an investigation into whether Article 1 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law Supplementing the Law on Presidential Elections with Article 11 and Supplementing Article 2 Thereof is not in conflict with the principle of a state under the rule of law entrenched in the Preamble to the Constitution, and whether Article 2 of this law is not in conflict with the principle of a state under the rule of law entrenched in the Preamble to the Constitution, as well as with Articles 1 and 2, Paragraph 1 of Article 3, Article 4, Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 5, Paragraph 1 of Article 6, Paragraph 1 of Article 29, Paragraph 1 of Article 33, Paragraph 2 of Article 34, Article 67, Paragraph 1 of Article 78, Article 79, and Paragraph 1 of Article 109 of the Constitution.

3. Although the petition of the petitioner is named “On the Compliance of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law Supplementing the Law on Presidential Elections with Article 11 and Supplementing Article 2 Thereof with the Striving for an Open, Just, and Harmonious Civil Society and a State Under the Rule of Law Entrenched in the Preamble to the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania, as well as with Articles 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 29, 33, 34, 56, 67, 78,79, and 100 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania”, however, its operative part indicates that, as mentioned before, the Constitutional Court is requested to investigate whether Article 1 of the said law is not in conflict with the principle of a state under the rule of law entrenched in the Preamble to the Constitution, and whether Article 2 of this law is not in conflict with the principle of a state under the rule of law entrenched in the Preamble to the Constitution, and Articles 1 and 2, Paragraph 1 of Article 3, Article 4, Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 5, Paragraph 1 of Article 6, Paragraph 1 of Article 29, Paragraph 1 of Article 33, Paragraph 2 of Article 34, Article 67, Paragraph 1 of Article 78, Article 79, and Paragraph 1 of Article 109 of the Constitution.

Thus, the petitioner does not impugn the compliance of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law Supplementing the Law on Presidential Elections with Article 11 and Supplementing Article 2 Thereof (it separate articles) with Paragraph 2 of Article 3, Paragraph 3 of Article 5, Paragraph 2 of Article 6, Article 7, Paragraph 2 of Article 29, Paragraphs 2 and 3 of Article 33, Paragraphs 1 and 3 of Article 34, Article 56, Paragraphs 2 and 3 of Article 78, Paragraphs 2, 3, and 4 of Article 109 of the Constitution: these articles (paragraphs thereof) are not listed in the operative part of the petition of the petitioner.

4. The petitioner requests an investigation into the compliance of entire Article 2 the Republic of Lithuania’s Law Supplementing the Law on Presidential Elections with Article 11 and Supplementing Article 2 Thereof with the Constitution, however, the petition of the petitioner shows that it has no doubts as to whether the provision “to consider former Paragraph 2 of Article 2 as Paragraph 3” of Paragraph 2 of this article is not in conflict with the Constitution.

5. Taking account of the fact that under Article 1 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law Supplementing the Law on Presidential Elections with Article 11 and Supplementing Article 2 Thereof the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Presidential Elections was supplemented with Article 11, and that under Paragraph 1 of Article 2 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law Supplementing the Law on Presidential Elections with Article 11 and Supplementing Article 2 Thereof Article 2 (wording of 19 September 1996) of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Presidential Elections was supplemented with new Paragraph 2, the fact that the petitioner has no doubts as to whether Paragraph 2, which changed the sequence of the paragraphs of Article 2 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Presidential Elections, of Article 2 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law Supplementing the Law on Presidential Elections with Article 11 and Supplementing Article 2 Thereof is not in conflict with the Constitution, it should be held that the petitioner doubts whether Article 11 (wording of 4 May 2004) and Paragraph 2 (wording of 4 May 2004) of Article 2 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Presidential Elections are not in conflict with the Constitution.

II

1. The Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania was adopted by referendum—the voting of the entire Nation—on 25 October 1992. The referendum in which the Constitution was adopted was organised according to the democratic legal traditions of the State of Lithuania (the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 22 July 1994). The source of the Constitution is the national community, the civil Nation, itself.

The Constitution is an act of the supreme legal force. The Constitution reflects a social contract—a democratically accepted obligation by all the citizens of the Republic of Lithuania to the current and future generations to live according to the fundamental rules entrenched in the Constitution and to obey them in order to ensure the legitimacy of the governing power, the legitimacy of its decisions, as well as to ensure human rights and freedoms, so that the concord would exist in the society. As an act of the supreme legal force and a social contract, the Constitution is based on universal, unquestionable values, which are belonging of the sovereignty to the Nation, democracy, recognition of human rights and freedoms and respect for them, respect for law and the rule of law, limitation on the scope of powers, duty of state institutions to serve the people and their responsibility to the society, public spirit, justice, striving for an open, just, and harmonious civil society and state under the rule of law. The Constitution provides the bases of relationships between a person and the state, the formation and functioning of public government, the national economy, local self-government, other major relationships of life of the society and the state. Having adopted the Constitution, the civil Nation formed the standardised basis for the common life of its own, as the state community, and consolidated the state as the common good of the entire society. The Nation usually amends the Constitution directly or through its democratically elected representatives and only according to the rules established in the Constitution itself. The Constitution is supreme law. It provides the guidelines for the entire legal system—the entire legal system is created on the basis of the Constitution.

2. Justice, an open and harmonious civil society, a state under the rule of law would never be possible if whole state power becomes concentrated in a certain single institution of state power. The Constitution consolidates the organisation of the institutions executing state power and procedure of their formation, which ensures a balance between the institutions of state power, the counterbalance of the power of certain state institutions to the power of other state institutions, the harmonious activity of all the institutions executing state power and execution of their constitutional duty to serve the people, the solution by the Constitutional Court of disputes related to the power vested by the Constitution in the institutions of state power, the formation of all the institutions executing state power, the Seimas, the President of the Republic, the Government, the Judiciary, as well as other state institutions only from the citizens, who without reservations obey the Constitution adopted by the Nation and who, while in office, unconditionally follow the Constitution, law, the interests of the Nation and the State of Lithuania.

3. In case state officials perform their duties according to the Constitution, law, act in the interests of the Nation and the State of Lithuania, they must be protected from pressure and unreasonable interference in their activity, when fairly exercising their duties, they must not suffer threat against their person, their rights and freedoms. The state official must enjoy the confidence of the citizens—the state community. However, in order that the citizens—the state community—could reasonably trust the state officials, that it would be possible to ascertain that all the state institutions and all the state officials follow the Constitution as well as law and obey them, while those who do not obey the Constitution and law would not hold the office for which the confidence of the citizens—the state community—is needed, a public democratic control over the activity of the state officials comprising, inter alia, a possibility of removing from office the state officials who violate the Constitution and law, who bring their personal interests or the interests of the group above the public interests, or who disgrace state power by their actions, is needed. One of the forms of such public democratic control is the constitutional institute of impeachment: certain top officials of state power—the President of the Republic, the President and justices of the Constitutional Court, the President and justices of the Supreme Court, the President and judges of the Court of Appeal—for a gross violation of the Constitution, a breach of the oath or disclosure of the commission of a crime, may be removed from office according to the procedure for impeachment proceedings, and the mandate of a member of the Seimas may also revoked according to the procedure for impeachment proceedings. The application of impeachment, an institute of a special parliamentary procedure, and the constitutional sanction—removal from office—which are entrenched in the Constitution, in respect of the President of the Republic, the President and justices of the Constitutional Court, the President and justices of the Supreme Court, the President and judges of the Court of Appeal, is one of the measures of self-protection of the state community, the civil Nation, a way of its own defence from the said top officials of state power, who ignore the Constitution and law, in a manner when they are prohibited from holding certain office, as they do not fulfil their obligation unconditionally to follow the Constitution and law, follow the interests of the Nation and the State of Lithuania, and who have disgraced state power by their actions.

4. The Constitution as a legal act is expressed in a certain textual form, and has certain verbal expression. However, since it is impossible to treat law solely as a text in which expressis verbis certain legal provisions and rules of behaviour are set forth, thus, also, it is impossible to treat the Constitution as a legal reality solely in its textual form. The Constitution may not be understood as an aggregate of explicit provisions only. The Constitution shall be an integral and directly applicable act (Paragraph 1 of Article 6 of the Constitution). The nature of the Constitution itself as an act of the supreme legal force, and the idea of the constitutionality imply that the Constitution may not have and has no gaps, so there may not be and there is no such legal regulation established in legal acts of lower legal force which may not be assessed in respect of its compliance with the Constitution. The Constitution as a legal reality is comprised of various provisions, the constitutional norms and the constitutional principles, which are directly consolidated in various formulations of the Constitution or derived from them. Some constitutional principles are entrenched in constitutional norms formulated expressis verbis, others, although not entrenched therein expressis verbis, are reflected in them and are derived from the constitutional norms, as well as from other constitutional principles reflected in these norms, from the entirety of the constitutional legal regulation, from the meaning of the Constitution as the act which consolidates and protects the system of major values of the state community, the civil Nation, and which provides the guidelines for the entire legal system. There may not exist and there is no contradiction between the constitutional principles and the constitutional norms—all the constitutional norms and constitutional principles form a harmonious system. It is the constitutional principles that organise all the provisions of the Constitution into a harmonious entirety, and thus do not permit the existence in the Constitution of internal contradictions or such an interpretation thereof which distorts and denies the essence of any provision of the Constitution, or any value entrenched in and protected by the Constitution. The constitutional principles reveal not only the letter, but also the spirit of the Constitution—the values and objectives entrenched in the Constitution by the Nation which chose certain textual form and verbal expression of its provisions, which defined certain norms of the Constitution, and which explicitly or implicitly established certain constitutional legal regulation. Thus, there may not exist and there is no contradiction not only between the constitutional principles and the constitutional norms, but also between the spirit of the Constitution and the letter of the Constitution: the letter of the Constitution may not be interpreted or applied in a manner which denies the spirit of the Constitution, which may be understood only when perceiving the constitutional legal regulation as an entirety and only upon the evaluation of the purpose of the Constitution as a social contract and an act of the supreme legal force. The spirit of the Constitution is expressed by the entirety of the constitutional legal regulation, all its provisions—both the norms of the Constitution directly set forth in the text of the Constitution, and the principles of the Constitution, including those that originate from the entirety of the constitutional legal regulation and the meaning of the Constitution as an act which consolidates and protects the system of major values of the Nation, and which provides the guidelines for the whole legal system.

The Constitutional Court has held more than once that all the provisions of the Constitution are linked to each other and constitute an integral and harmonious system, that there is a balance between the values entrenched in the Constitution, that not a single provision of the Constitution may be interpreted in a manner distorting or denying the content of any other provision of the Constitution, as this would distort the essence of the entire constitutional legal regulation, and disturb the balance between the constitutional values (the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 24 September 1998, 23 October 2002, 25 November 2002, 4 March 2003, 4 July 2003, 30 September 2003, 3 December 2003, and 15 April 2004).

5. It is due to the fact that the Constitution is an integral act, that it is comprised of various provisions—both the constitutional norms, and the constitutional principles—among which there may not exist and there is no contradiction, and which constitute a harmonious system, that the constitutional principles are derived from the entirety of the constitutional legal regulation expressing the spirit of the Constitution, and from the meaning of the Constitution as the act consolidating and protecting the system of the major values of the state community, the civil Nation, and which provides the guidelines for the entire legal system, and due to the fact that the letter of the Constitution may not be interpreted or applied in the manner which denies the spirit of the Constitution, the Constitution may not be interpreted only literally by applying the sole linguistic (verbal) method. When interpreting the Constitution, one must apply various methods of interpretation of law: systemic, the one of general principles of law, logical, teleological, the one of intentions of the legislature, the one of precedents, historical, comparative, etc. Only such comprehensive interpretation of the Constitution may provide conditions for realisation of the purpose of the Constitution as a social contract and an act of the supreme legal force, and for ensuring that the meaning of the Constitution will not be deviated from, that the spirit of the Constitution will not be denied, and that the values upon which the Nation has based the Constitution adopted by it will be consolidated in reality.

III

1. Paragraph 1 of Article 5 of the Constitution provides that in Lithuania the Seimas, the President of the Republic and the Government, and the Judiciary, execute state power.

Under Article 77 of the Constitution, the President of the Republic is the Head of State, he represents the State of Lithuania and performs everything that he is charged with by the Constitution and laws.

When interpreting Article 77 of the Constitution, in its 8 May 2000 ruling the Constitutional Court held: “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.”

According to the Constitution, the legal status of the President of the Republic, the Head of State, is an individual one and it differs from the legal status of all the other state officials. The individual and exceptional constitutional legal status of the President of the Republic as the Head of State may be detected in various provisions of the Constitution which consolidate: the inviolability of the person of the President of the Republic; the 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 activities in political parties and political organisations until the beginning of a new election campaign for the post of the President of the Republic; requirements for the candidates seeking the post of the President of the Republic and the bases and procedure of the election 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. (the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 19 June 2002).

The Constitution has established significant powers for the President of the Republic as the Head of State. A part of the constitutional powers of the President of the Republic, the Head of State, is linked with an opportunity to form other institutions executing state power and/or to exert influence on their activity, the adopted decisions, and on the lawmaking process.

For example, the President of the Republic has the right of legislative initiative in the Seimas (Paragraph 1 of Article 68 of the Constitution). He signs and officially promulgates the adopted laws related to alteration of the Constitution (Paragraph 1 of Article 149 of the Constitution), the laws adopted by the Seimas (Paragraph 1 of Article 70 of the Constitution), as well as the laws adopted by referendum (Paragraph 3 of Article 71 of the Constitution). The President of the Republic has the right to refer the adopted by the Seimas law back to the Seimas together with relevant reasons for reconsideration (Paragraph 1 of Article 71 of the Constitution) and may present amendments and supplements to the law (Paragraph 2 of Article 72 of the Constitution). Under Article 84 of the Constitution, the President of the Republic decides basic foreign policy issues and, together with the Government, conducts foreign policy (Item 1); signs international treaties of the Republic of Lithuania and presents them to the Seimas for ratification (Item 2); upon approval of the Seimas, appoints the Prime Minister, charges him to form the Government, and confirms its composition (Item 4); upon approval of the Seimas, releases the Prime Minister from office (Item 5); appoints and releases Ministers upon the presentation by the Prime Minister (Item 9); presents candidatures for justices of the Supreme Court to the Seimas, and, upon the appointment of all the justices of the Supreme Court, from among them presents the President of the Supreme Court to the Seimas; appoints judges of the Court of Appeal, and from among them—the President of the Court of Appeal provided their candidatures have been approved of by the Seimas; appoints judges and presidents of regional and local courts, and changes their places of work; in cases provided for by law, presents that the Seimas release judges from office; upon approval of the Seimas, appoints and releases the Prosecutor General of the Republic of Lithuania (Item 11); presents to the Seimas the candidatures for three justices of the Constitutional Court, and, upon the appointment of all the justices of the Constitutional Court, presents, from among them, a candidature for the President of the Constitutional Court to the Seimas (Item 12); presents to the Seimas candidatures for the Auditor General and the President of the Board of the Bank of Lithuania; may present that the Seimas express no-confidence in them (Item 13); appoints and releases, upon the approval of the Seimas, the Chief of the Army and the Head of the Security Service (Item 14); confers high military ranks (Item 15); adopts, in the event of an armed attack which threatens state sovereignty or territorial integrity, decisions concerning defence against such armed aggression, the imposition of martial law, as well as mobilisation, and presents these decisions to the next sitting of the Seimas for confirmation (Item 16); declares a state of emergency in accordance with the procedure and in cases established by law, and presents this decision to the next sitting of the Seimas for confirmation (Item 17). Paragraph 4 of Article 112 of the Constitution provides that the President of the Republic appoints judges and presidents of regional, local, and specialised courts, and transfers them to other places of work. Under Paragraph 2 of Article 140 of the Constitution, the President of the Republic is the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces. The President of the Republic heads the State Defence Council (Paragraph 1 of Article 140 of the Constitution).

The Constitution provides for other significant powers of the President of the Republic, the Head of State, as well: under the conditions established in Paragraph 2 of Article 58 of the Constitution the President of the Republic may call an early election to the Seimas (Paragraph 2 of Article 58 of the Constitution), the President of the Republic grants citizenship of the Republic of Lithuania in accordance with the procedure established by law (Item 21 of Article 84 of the Constitution), confers state awards (Item 22 of Article 84 of the Constitution), grants pardons to convicted persons (Item 23 of Article 84 of the Constitution), etc.

As mentioned before, under the Constitution, the President of the Republic performs all the actions assigned to him by the Constitution and laws. Various powers of the President of the Republic are established not only in the Constitution, but in the laws adopted by the Seimas as well.

It is clear from the said provisions of the Constitution that the President of the Republic, the Head of State, has also the constitutional powers, when exercising which he may strongly influence other institutions executing state power, i.e. the Seimas which exercises the legislative power, and the Government, an institution of the executive power; the President of the Republic, the Head of State, has also significant powers in forming the judicial power. The functioning of other institutions of state power considerably depends upon the execution of the powers by the President of the Republic, the Head of State, which are established for him in the Constitution.

It needs to be noted that, from the Constitution, a duty of the President of the Republic, as the Head of State, arises to act, while exercising the powers established for him in the Constitution and laws, so that his actions would maintain harmonic interaction between the institutions executing state power, that the citizens of the Republic of Lithuania, the state community, could trust in the institution of the President of the Republic, the Head of State, that the State of Lithuania would be properly represented in its relations with other countries and international organisation, that the State of Lithuania would be able to duly perform its international obligations, and that it might be ensured that other entities of international relations (foreign states, international organisations, etc.) could duly perform their obligations to the State of Lithuania. The due fulfilment of the said constitutional duty of the President of the Republic, the Head of State, is an essential condition of the trust of the citizens in the State of Lithuania itself, as the general good of the entire society, and its institutions, as well as a condition of the trust of other entities of international relations in the State of Lithuania as well.

Thus, when evaluating the constitutional legal status of the President of the Republic, the Head of State, it needs to be noted that this status is not only the sum of powers expressis verbis established for the President of the Republic by the Constitution. The President of the Republic, as the Head of State elected directly by the Nation, symbolises the State of Lithuania, the values of its society, and personifies the Republic of Lithuania in international relations.

The constitutional powers of the President of the Republic and the guarantees established for him in the Constitution, as well as the constitutional legal status of the President of the Republic as the Head of State, imply also his special responsibility against the community of the state—the civil Nation.

2. Paragraph 1 of Article 78 of the Constitution provides that a citizen of the Republic of Lithuania by birth, who has resided in Lithuania for not less than the past three years, if he has reached the age of not less than 40 prior to the election day, and if he may stand for election as a member of the Seimas, may stand for election as the President of the Republic. Under Paragraph 1 of Article 56 of the Constitution, 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 stand for election as a member of the Seimas. Paragraph 2 of this article provides that persons who have not fulfilled punishment imposed on them by court judgment, as well as persons recognised incapable by a court, may not stand for election as members of the Seimas. According to Paragraph 1 of Article 79 of the Constitution, any citizen who meets the conditions set forth in the First Paragraph of Article 78 and has collected the signatures of not less than 20,000 voters shall be registered as a presidential candidate.

3. Paragraph 1 of Article 82 of the Constitution provides that when beginning to hold office the President of the Republic takes an oath to the Nation to be faithful to the Republic of Lithuania and the Constitution, to conscientiously fulfil the duties of his office, and to be equally just to all. The oath of an elected President of the Republic reflects the major universal constitutional values which are linked by the Nation with the office of the President of the Republic—the Head of State; the said constitutional values are inseparable from each other, the content of these values is much-inclusive and comprises many other constitutional obligations of no less significance. The provision of Paragraph 2 of Article 77 of the Constitution that the President of the Republic performs everything that he is charged with by the Constitution and laws, when one takes account of the content of the oath of the President of the Republic which is established in Paragraph 1 of Article 82 of the Constitution, means that the President of the Republic, when implementing all the powers that he is charged with by the Constitution and laws, must follow only the Constitution and laws and may not violate them, that the President of the Republic must act only in the interests of the Nation and the State of Lithuania, that the President of the Republic may not act by following the objectives or interests which are not in line with the Constitution and laws, the interests of the Nation and the State of Lithuania, and the public interests, as well as that the President of the Republic may not bring his personal interests or interests of some group above the interests of the society and the state, or act in a way which discredits the state power.

It needs to be noted that the elected President of the Republic—the Head of State elected directly by the Nation—is the sole person indicated in the Constitution who takes an oath to the special subject holding the sovereignty, i.e. the elected President of the Republic takes an oath to the Nation.

It should be stressed that the oath of the President of the Republic is not a mere formal or symbolic act, it is not only a solemn utterance of words of the oath and signing the act of the oath.

Since the institute of the oath of the President of the Republic and the content of the oath is entrenched in the Constitution, the oath given by the President of the Republic bears the constitutional legal meaning and gives rise to constitutional legal effects: before he takes the oath, the President of the Republic may not begin to hold office; refusal to take the oath, taking the oath with certain reservations or changing the text of the oath, refusal to sign the text of the oath of the President of the Republic means, under the Constitution, that the President of the Republic may not begin to hold office; in case the person elected President of the Republic does not take the oath, a fresh election of the President of the Republic must be called.

The act of the oath of the President of the Republic is constitutionally legally important also because the President of the Republic, the Head of State, by taking an oath to the Nation, publicly and solemnly accepts an obligation to act in line with the obligations of the oath and to breach the oath under no circumstances; when the President of the Republic has taken the oath, his duty emerges to act only in the way he is obliged to by the oath given to the Nation, and to breach this oath under no circumstances. According to Article 74 of the Constitution, a breach of the oath is one of the bases for removal of the President of the Republic from office according to the procedure for impeachment proceedings.

The Constitutional Court has held that a breach of the oath is, alongside, a gross violation of the Constitution, while a gross violation of the Constitution is, alongside, a breach of the oath (the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 30 December 2003 and the Constitutional Court’s conclusion of 31 March 2004).

4. As mentioned before, impeachment is a special parliamentary procedure, when the top state officials indicated in Article 74 of the Constitution are removed from office: under Article 74 of the Constitution, the President of the Republic, the President and justices of the Constitutional Court, the President and justices of the Supreme Court, the President and judges of the Court of Appeal, may be removed from office in accordance with the procedure for impeachment proceedings, and the mandate of a member of the Seimas may be revoked in accordance with the procedure for impeachment proceedings. It needs to be stressed that impeachment is possible only if there are the bases indicated in Article 74 of the Constitution: a gross violation of the Constitution, a breach of the oath or disclosure of the commission of a crime.

In its ruling of 15 April 2004, the Constitutional Court held that under the Constitution, two institutions of state power enjoy the powers in impeachment proceedings, i.e. the Seimas and the Constitutional Court. Each of these institutions of state power under the Constitution are assigned powers which are in line with their functions during impeachment procedure: an impeachment case may be instituted only upon proposal (initiative) of Seimas members; a conclusion as to whether concrete actions of the person against whom an impeachment case has been instituted are in conflict with the Constitution is presented by the Constitutional Court; in case the Constitutional Court concludes that the person against whom an impeachment case has been instituted has grossly violated the Constitution, the Seimas may remove such a person from office or may revoke his mandate of the Seimas member by not less than 3/5 majority vote of all the members of the Seimas.

Under the Constitution, only the Constitutional Court has the powers to decide whether the persons indicated in Article 74 of the Constitution, against whom an impeachment procedure has been initiated, have grossly violated the Constitution (in view of the fact that a gross violation of the Constitution constitutes also a breach of the oath—to decide whether such persons breached the oath). The conclusion of the Constitution Court that a person has grossly violated the Constitution (and thus has breached the oath) is final. No state institution, no state official, no other subject may change or revoke such a conclusion of the Constitution Court. Under the Constitution, such a conclusion may not be changed nor revoked either by referendum or election, or in any other way.

Article 2 of the Constitution provides that sovereignty belongs to the Nation. Article 4 of the Constitution stipulates that the Nation executes its supreme sovereign power either directly or through its democratically elected representatives. According to Paragraph 1 of Article 55 of the Constitution members of the Seimas are representatives of the Nation. Therefore, under the Constitution, only the Seimas is the representation of the Nation, through which the Nation executes its supreme sovereign power. It should be stressed that, according to the Constitution, there may not be and there is no contradiction between the supreme sovereign power executed by the Nation directly, and the supreme sovereign power executed by the Nation through its democratically elected representatives—members of the Seimas. Thus, under the Constitution, there may not be and there is no contradiction between the Nation and its representation, the Seimas: the Seimas implements the powers which are established for it by the Nation in the Constitution adopted by it.

According to the Constitution, only the Seimas has powers to decide whether, in case there are the bases provided for in Article 74 of the Constitution, according to the procedure for impeachment proceedings, to remove a person from office or to revoke his mandate of a member of the Seimas—these issues may not be decided by referendum or election, and by no other state institution, state official or other subject.

The Seimas as the representation of the Nation, through which the Nation executes its supreme sovereign power, acts according to the powers established for it by the Nation in the Constitution. This means that a decision of the Seimas as the representation of the Nation to remove a state official indicated in Article 74 of the Constitution from office, or to revoke his mandate of a member of the Seimas according to the procedure for impeachment proceedings is, alongside, execution of sovereign powers of the Nation through its democratically elected representatives. As, under the Constitution, only the Seimas may decide whether to remove a certain state official specified in Article 74 of the Constitution from office, or to revoke his mandate of a member of the Seimas according to the procedure for impeachment proceedings, therefore, such a decision of the Seimas may not be changed or revoked by referendum or election, or in any other way. Thus, if the Seimas, according to the procedure for impeachment proceedings, while following the Constitution, removed a state official specified in Article 74 of the Constitution from office or revoked his mandate of a member of the Seimas, then such a decision of the Seimas is final.

5. The President of the Republic is one of the state officials indicated in Article 74 of the Constitution who may be removed by the Seimas from office according to the procedure for impeachment proceedings. Impeachment of the President of the Republic at the Seimas is not a legal dispute of the President of the Republic, one of the institutions executing state power, with the Seimas, another institution executing state power. Impeachment of the President of the Republic is a means of the constitutional liability of a person who holds the office of the President of the Republic to the Nation: the Nation through its representation, the Seimas, decides whether a person holding the office of the President of the Republic, and who has grossly violated the Constitution, breached the oath, or committed a crime, should be removed from office.

A gross violation of the Constitution or a breach of the oath undermines the trust in the institution of the President of the Republic and, alongside, it weakens the trust in the state power as a whole and in the State of Lithuania. Impeachment, when a person who has grossly violated the Constitution, or breached the oath, is removed from the office of the President of the Republic, is one of the ways of protection of the state as the common good of the society which is provided for in the Constitution.

It needs to be stressed that, under the Constitution, a person in respect of whom the Seimas, following the conclusion of the Constitutional Court that the President of the Republic has committed a gross violation of the Constitution and breached the oath, has applied the constitutional sanction, namely removal from office, may not evade constitutional liability through a fresh election of the President of the Republic, a referendum, or any other means. It should also be stressed that neither a referendum, nor a fresh election of the President of the Republic may be and, under the Constitution, is a way of expressing the trust or mistrust of the citizens in the Seimas, which has removed, according to the procedure for impeachment proceedings, the President of the Republic from office.

6. Under the Constitution, only the Seimas has the power to decide whether to remove the President of the Republic from office according to the procedure for impeachment proceedings for a gross violation of the Constitution, a breach of the oath, or the commission of a crime. When evaluating the relationship between the constitutional powers of the Constitutional Court and the Seimas during the impeachment procedure it needs to be noted that the conclusion of the Constitutional Court that the actions of the President of the Republic are (are not) in conflict with the Constitution, are binding on the Seimas in that, according to the Constitution, the Seimas has no power to decide whether the conclusion of the Constitutional Court is well-founded and lawful, the legal fact that the actions of the President of the Republic are (are not) in conflict with the Constitution is established only by the Constitutional Court (Constitution Court conclusion of 31 March 2004). Although members of the Seimas, when deciding the issue of removal of the President of the Republic from office for a gross violation of the Constitution, or a breach of the oath, vote freely, still this does not mean that members of the Seimas, when deciding whether to remove the President of the Republic from office for a gross violation of the Constitution, or a breach of the oath according to the procedure for impeachment proceedings, are not bound by the oath of the member of the Seimas taken by them, which obligates the member of the Seimas in his activity to follow the Constitution, the interests of the state and his conscience, and not be bound by any mandates. The free mandate of a member of the Seimas, which is entrenched in the Constitution, may not be understood only as a permission to act at one’s own discretion, following only one’s conscience and to ignore the Constitution. The Constitution implies such a notion of discretion of a member of the Seimas and conscience of a member of the Seimas, which contains no gap between the discretion of a member of the Seimas and the conscience of a member of the Seimas, and the requirements of the Constitution, as well as the values preserved and protected by the Constitution: according to the Constitution, the discretion of a member of the Seimas and his conscience should be oriented towards the Constitution, and the interests of the Nation and the State of Lithuania. Therefore, an especially great responsibility is borne by the Seimas, which decides whether to remove, according to the procedure for impeachment proceedings, the President of the Republic from office for a gross violation of the Constitution and a breach of the oath: in a democratic state under the rule of law a person, who has grossly violated the Constitution, or breached the oath, should not evade the constitutional liability—the removal from office.

The Constitution does not provide that, after a certain time has elapsed, a President of the Republic, whose actions have been recognised by the Constitutional Court as having grossly violated the Constitution, and who has been found to have breached the oath and has been removed from office by the Seimas for a breach of the oath and a gross violation of the Constitution, may be treated as though he had not breached the oath or committed a gross violation of the Constitution. The President of the Republic, whose actions were recognised by the Constitutional Court as those which grossly violated the Constitution, and who has been removed from office by the Seimas, the representation of the Nation, according to the procedure for impeachment proceedings, under the Constitution, will always remain someone who has breached his oath to the Nation and grossly violated the Constitution, and who has been dismissed as President of the Republic for those reasons.

As mentioned before, that the Constitution consolidates such an organisation of the institutions executing state power and procedure of forming thereof, where all the institutions executing state power as well as other institutions should be formed only from the citizens who without reservations obey the Constitution adopted by the Nation, and who, while in office, unconditionally follow the Constitution, law, and the interests of the Nation and the State of Lithuania. It was also mentioned that the elected President of the Republic, according to the Constitution, may begin to hold office only after he takes an oath to the Nation to be faithful to the Republic of Lithuania and the Constitution, to conscientiously perform his duties, and to be equally just to all.

A person, who was elected President of the Republic, who took the oath of the President to the Nation, and who subsequently breached it and thus grossly violated the Constitution, and who was, according to the procedure for impeachment proceedings, removed from office by the Seimas, the representation of the Nation, may not, under the Constitution, take an oath to the Nation once again, as there would always exist a reasonable doubt, which would never disappear, related to the certainty and reliability of his repeatedly taken oath, and thus related to the fact whether the person who takes the oath will really perform his duties of the President of the Republic in the manner prescribed by the oath to the Nation, whether this person will not breach the oath to the Nation again, in other words, whether the oath repeatedly taken by this person to the Nation will not be fictitious.

7. As mentioned before, impeachment is one of the form of public and democratic control over the state officials, one of the measures of self-protection of the state community, the civil Nation, the way of its defence against the aforementioned top officials of state power, who disregard the Constitution and laws, where they are no longer permitted to hold certain office, as they do not fulfil their obligation to unconditionally follow the Constitution, law, as well as the interests of the Nation and the State of Lithuania. It was also mentioned that the President of the Republic, whose actions were recognised by the Constitutional Court as the ones that grossly violated the Constitution, and who has been removed from the office of the President of the Republic by the Seimas, the representation of the Nation, according to the procedure for impeachment proceedings, will always remain the one who breached the oath taken to the Nation, who grossly violated the Constitution and who was removed from office of the President of the Republic for this reason.

The removal of the President of the Republic from office, as well as of any other person indicated in Article 74 of the Constitution, who has breached the oath and grossly violated the Constitution, according to the procedure for impeachment proceedings, is not an end in itself. The purpose of the constitutional institute of impeachment is not only a one-off removal of such persons from office, but it is much broader: it purpose is to prevent the persons who have grossly violated the Constitution and breached the oath from holding the office provided for in the Constitution, the beginning of which, according to the Constitution, is linked with taking the oath specified in the Constitution. The content of the constitutional sanction (the constitutional liability) applied upon the procedure for impeachment proceedings comprises also the removal of the person who has grossly violated the Constitution and breached the oath from office, and the subsequent prohibition for such a person from holding the office provided for in the Constitution in the future, which a person may begin to hold only upon taking the oath established in the Constitution. The said prohibition to hold the office established in the Constitution, which a person may begin to hold only upon taking the oath provided for in the Constitution, is not a repeated punishment of the person who has grossly violated the Constitution and breached the oath, not a second “punishment” imposed on the person for the same violation of the Constitution, but a constituent part of the constitutional sanction, the removal from office, the deep essence of the impeachment as the measure of self-protection of the state community, the civil Nation, and the constitutional liability, its aim and purpose, which is to ensure that a person who has grossly violated the Constitution and breached the oath, and has been removed from office by the Seimas for the said reason, could never hold the office the beginning of which is related to the taking of the oath specified in the Constitution.

The Constitution consolidates the legal regulation which provides that a person, who has been removed from the office of the President of the Republic by the Seimas according to the procedure for impeachment proceedings for a breach of the oath and a gross violation of the Constitution, may never stand for election as the President of the Republic. A different interpretation of the provisions of the Constitution would make the institute of constitutional impeachment for a gross violation of the Constitution and a breach of the oath legally meaningless, pointless, it would be incompatible with the essence and purpose of the constitutional liability for a breach of the oath and a gross violation of the Constitution, with the essence and purpose of the oath established in the Constitution as a constitutional value, as well as with the requirement, which emerges from the overall constitutional legal regulation, that all the institutions executing state power and other state institutions be formed only from the citizens who without reservations obey the Constitution adopted by the Nation, and who, while in office, unconditionally follow the Constitution, law, as well as the interests of the Nation and the State of Lithuania. A different interpretation of the provisions of the Constitution would be inconsistent with both the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law and the constitutional imperative of an open, just, and harmonious civil society.

8. One of the bases established in Article 74 of the Constitution, under which a certain official specified in Article 74 of the Constitution may be removed from office or his mandate of a Seimas member may be revoked, is “upon disclosure of the commission of a crime”. When disclosing what constitutional consequences emerge in respect to the person due to the fact that he has been removed from office, or his mandate of a Seimas member has been revoked according to the procedure for impeachment proceedings for the commission of a crime, account must also be taken of the provision entrenched in Paragraph 2 of Article 56 of the Constitution, that a person who has not fulfilled punishment imposed on him by court judgment may not stand for election as a member of the Seimas. This constitutional provision also means that if a person has been sentenced by court for the commission of a crime and has served the punishment imposed on him by court judgment, he may stand for election as a member of the Seimas.

In this context it should be noted that crimes provided for in the criminal law may be not only grave or minor, they may be committed not only intentionally but due to negligence, they may be more or less dangerous, they may cause especially severe consequences or the consequences which are not that severe, they may be committed due to selfish or unselfish intentions, they may be related or not related to the duties performed (the office held), etc. The commission of a crime in itself does not mean that a person has alongside violated the Constitution, or breached the oath, or that the person in his activity did not follow the Constitution, the interests of the Nation and the State of Lithuania, etc. Some crimes may even be of a type that they are not directly linked with a breach of the oath provided for in the Constitution or with a gross violation of the Constitution. The Constitution itself (Paragraph 2 of Article 56) has established expressis verbis an exception in respect to the consequences which arise due to the fact that the person has been removed from office, his mandate of a Seimas member has been revoked according to the procedure for impeachment proceedings for the commission of a crime. It emerges from the provisions of Article 74 and Paragraph 2 of Article 56 of the Constitution that a crime, by which the Constitution has not been grossly violated and the oath has not been breached, does not cause the same constitutional legal effects as the crime by which the Constitution is grossly violated or the oath is breached. Paragraph 2 of Article 56 of the Constitution, according to which a person, who has fulfilled punishment imposed on him by court judgment, may stand for election as a member of the Seimas, by providing an exception in respect to the consequences which emerge upon application of the sanctions set forth in Article 74 of the Constitution for a gross violation of the Constitution and a breach of the oath, means that the Constitution not only does not provide that a person, who has been removed from office of the President of the Republic according to the procedure for impeachment proceedings for the commission of a crime by which the Constitution has not been grossly violated or the oath has not been breached, but the Constitution, by making the said exception, expressis verbis permits such a person to stand for election as a member of the Seimas.

As mentioned before, in a democratic state under the rule of law a person, who has grossly violated the Constitution and breached the oath, should not evade the constitutional liability—the removal from office. Therefore, the Seimas, which decides whether to remove, according to the procedure for impeachment proceedings, a person from office or to revoke his mandate of a member of the Seimas for the commission of a crime, under the Constitution, bears the responsibility to elucidate whether the Constitution was grossly violated and the oath was breached by the commission of the crime.

Taking account of the fact that one of the conditions established in Paragraph 1 of Article 78 of the Constitution, when a person may not stand for election as the President of the Republic, is that “if he may stand for election as a member of the Seimas”, it should be held that the Constitution does not stipulate that a person, who has been removed by the Seimas from office or whose mandate of a member of the Seimas has been revoked according to the procedure for impeachment proceedings for the commission of the crime by which the Constitution has not been grossly violated or the oath has not been breached, may not stand for election as the President of the Republic (a permission for standing for election is established).

9. Under Article 141 of the Constitution, persons performing actual military service or alternative service, as well as officers of the national defence system, of the police and the Interior, non-commissioned officers, re-enlistees and other paid officials of paramilitary and security services who have not retired to the reserve may not be members of the Seimas and of municipal councils; they may not hold elective or appointive office in state civil service, and may not take part in the activities of political parties and political organisations. The President of the Republic may not be a member of the Seimas (Paragraph 1 of Article 83 of the Constitution). Under Paragraph 1 of Article 113 of the Constitution, a judge may not hold any other elective or appointive office, may not work in any business, commercial, or other private establishments or enterprises; he is also not permitted to receive any remuneration other than the remuneration established for the judge and payment for educational or creative activities; under Paragraph 2 of this article, a judge may not participate in the activities of political parties and other political organisations; thus, under the Constitution, a judge may not be a member of the Seimas.

In its ruling of 24 December 2002, the Constitutional Court held that the said requirements of the Constitution do not mean that the aforementioned persons have no right to seek to be elected members of municipal councils (i.e. it does not mean that they do not enjoy the passive electoral right in the election of members of municipal councils), but that in cases when a legal situation occurs where a person is elected a member of a municipal council, he, before the newly elected municipal council convenes to the first sitting, must decide whether to remain in his previous office or to be a member of the municipal council.

Under the Constitution, state administration and local self-government are two different systems of public power (the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 24 December 2002). Municipalities do not execute state administration; state administration is performed through institutions of state power and other state institutions specified in the Constitution and laws, meanwhile, it is the right of self-government which is exercised through municipal councils.

Within the context of the case at issue it needs to be noted that the striving for an open, just, and harmonious civil society and state under the rule of law, entrenched in the Constitution, and the constitutional principle of free and democratic elections imply that no conditions should be created for judges or persons, who perform actual military service or alternative service, as well as officers of the national defence system, of the police and the Interior, non-commissioned officers, re-enlistees and other paid officials of paramilitary and security services who have not retired to the reserve, to use their powers while seeking to become members of the Seimas, and thus for any conflict between the official duties of the person and his private interest to be elected a member of the Seimas to emerge. Taking account of the fact that a possibility for judges and other persons specified in Article 141 of the Constitution to be elected as members of the Seimas should be evaluated differently from their possibility for seeking to be elected as members of municipal councils—under the Constitution, as long as they perform respective duties, these persons have no right to stand for election as members of the Seimas.

As mentioned before, under Paragraph 1 of Article 78 of the Constitution, a citizen of the Republic of Lithuania, who, inter alia, may stand for election as a member of the Seimas, may stand for election as the President of the Republic. Since, under the Constitution, judges and the persons specified in Article 141 of the Constitution have no right to stand for election as members of the Seimas until they hold respective office, thus, they may not stand for election as the President of the Republic, either.

Under Paragraph 3 of Article 104 of the Constitution, the limitations on work and political activities which are established for judges also apply to justices of the Constitutional Court. Thus, the constitutional limitation on standing for election as a member of the Seimas and as the President of the Republic also applies to justices of the Constitutional Court.

10. Paragraph 2 of Article 34 of the Constitution reads: “The right to stand for election shall be established by the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and by the election laws.”

If Paragraph 2 of Article 34 of the Constitution is construed only literally by applying the linguistic method of interpretation of law, it would be possible to state that it is possible to establish by the election laws, thus, by the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Presidential Elections as well, also the requirements (conditions) for a person, who may stand for election as the President of the Republic, which are not provided by the Constitution.

As mentioned before, the Constitution is an integral act, that all the provisions of the Constitution are linked with each other and comprise a harmonious system, that none of the provisions of the Constitution may be interpreted only literally, that none of the provisions of the Constitution may be interpreted in a way, which distorts or denies the content of any other constitutional provision, as this would deny the essence of the entire constitutional legal regulation.

In the context of the case at issue it needs to be noted that requirements to the person, who may stand for election as the President of the Republic, are established in the Constitution. So the provision “the right to stand for election shall be established <…> by the election laws” of Paragraph 2 of Article 34 of the Constitution means that, under the Constitution, the legislature has the powers to establish in the election laws, thus, in the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Presidential Elections as well, the requirements (conditions) for a person, who may stand for election as the President of the Republic, which are constitutionally grounded. The Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Presidential Elections may not establish requirements (conditions) which distort or deny the requirements (conditions) established in the Constitution for a person who may stand for election as the President of the Republic. The provision “the right to stand for election shall be established <…> by the election laws” of Paragraph 2 of Article 34 of the Constitution also means that in the election laws, thus, in the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Presidential Elections as well, the procedure of an election of the President of the Republic, the proceedings of implementation of the rights of a person to be elected President of the Republic, etc. should be regulated. A different interpretation of the provisions of Paragraph 2 of Article 34 of the Constitution would make the constitutional legal regulation, which establishes requirements (conditions) for a person, who may stand for election as the President of the Republic, legally meaningless, because, in case the laws establish a different legal regulation, which competes with the constitutional regulation, the constitutional norms and principles establishing the said requirements (conditions) and bearing the supreme legal force, would be denied. This would be inconsistent with the principle of the supremacy of the Constitution, with the provision of Paragraph 1 of Article 6 of the Constitution that the Constitution is directly applicable legal act, and with Paragraph 1 of Article 7 of the Constitution, under which any law or other act, which is inconsistent with the Constitution, is invalid.

11. Under the Constitution, not only the President of the Republic, the Head of State, but also members of the Seimas, members of the Government, justices of the Constitutional Court, judges of other courts, and the Auditor General, must take an oath.

Paragraph 2 of Article 59 of the Constitution provides that the elected member of the Seimas acquires all the rights of a representative of the Nation only after taking an oath in the Seimas to be faithful to the Republic of Lithuania; the text of the oath of a member of the Seimas is established in Article 5 of the Law of the Republic of Lithuania “On the Procedure of Entry into Effect of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania” (which is a constituent part of the Constitution). Paragraph 3 of Article 59 of the Constitution stipulates that a member of the Seimas who either does not take an oath in accordance with the procedure established by law, or who takes a conditional oath, loses the mandate of a member of the Seimas, and the Seimas adopts a corresponding resolution thereon. Article 93 of the Constitution provides that while taking office, the Prime Minister and the Ministers, in the Seimas take an oath to be faithful to the Republic of Lithuania and to observe the Constitution and laws, and the text of the oath is established in the Law on the Government. Paragraph 2 of Article 104 of the Constitution provides that before entering office, justices of the Constitutional Court shall take an oath in the Seimas to be faithful to the Republic of Lithuania and the Constitution. Paragraph 6 of Article 112 of the Constitution provides that a person appointed a judge takes an oath, in accordance with the procedure established by law, to be faithful to the Republic of Lithuania and to administer justice in accordance with the law only. Paragraph 3 of Article 133 of the Constitution provides that while taking office, the Auditor General takes an oath, and that the oath is established by law.

Thus, according to the Constitution, members of the Seimas, members of the Government, justices of the Constitutional Court, judges of other courts, the Auditor General, must take an oath before entering office. The aforementioned persons may not begin to hold office before they take the oath.

Taking account of the fact that, under the Constitution, the legal status of the said state officials differs, the texts of their oaths established in the Constitution are also not the same, however, the texts of oaths of all the indicated state officials reflect the same constitutional values in various aspects; on the other hand, the texts of oaths stress namely the values which are linked by the Nation with the respective office and with the activity of the persons holding corresponding office.

It needs to be noted that members of the Seimas, members of the Government, judges, all of them, under the Constitution, must swear to be faithful to the Republic of Lithuania (although, as mentioned before, due to a different legal status of the state officials indicated in the Constitution, the texts of the oaths are not the same). It also needs to be noted that the text of the oath of the Auditor General is not established in the Constitution (under Paragraph 3 of Article 133 of the Constitution, the oath of the Auditor General is established by law), however, the constitutional status of the Auditor General implies the requirement for the Auditor General to take an oath to be faithful to the Republic of Lithuania; the requirement to be faithful to the Republic of Lithuania is established in the oath of the Auditor General, the text of which is defined in Paragraph 1 of Article 30 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on the National Audit Office.

Faithfulness to the State of Lithuania is inseparable from faithfulness to the Constitution, too; upon a breach of the oath to be faithful to the Republic of Lithuania, the Constitution is grossly violated as well.

It needs to be mentioned that the oath of members of the Seimas, members of the Government, justices of the Constitutional Court, judges of other courts, the Auditor General, as well as the oath of the President of the Republic, is not a mere formal or symbolic act. After account is taken of the fact that the institute of the oath of the aforementioned state officials, the content of the oath are established in the Constitution, then the oath taken by the said persons bears the constitutional meaning and gives rise to constitutional legal effects: a person may not begin to hold office before he takes the oath; refusal to take the oath, taking the oath with certain reservations or changing the text of the oath, refusal to sign the text of the oath, under the Constitution, means that the person may not begin to hold office: in case a person elected a member of the Seimas does not take the oath, the Seimas must adopt a resolution on the loss of the mandate of a member of the Seimas (Paragraph 3 of Article 59 of the Constitution); if a person, appointed a justice of the Constitutional Court, a justice of the Supreme Court, a judge of the Court of Appeal, a judge of another court, does not take the oath, another person should be appointed to the said office; if a person, appointed a member of the Government, does not take the oath, another person should be appointed to the said office; if a person, appointed the Auditor General, does not take the oath, another person must be appointed the Auditor General.

The act of oath of the aforesaid state officials is constitutionally legally significant also for the reason that the aforementioned persons, when taking the oath, publicly and solemnly accept an obligation to act in accordance with the requirements of the oath; their constitutional obligation to act in accordance with the requirements of the oath and to breach the oath under no circumstances emerges from the moment of taking the oath. Under Article 74 of the Constitution, a breach of the oath is one of the bases, under which not only the President of the Republic, but the President and justices of the Constitutional, the President and justices of the Supreme Court, the President and judges of the Court of Appeal may be removed from office, or a mandate of a member of the Seimas may be revoked according to the procedure for impeachment proceedings.

As mentioned before, the Constitution consolidates such an organisation of institutions executing state power and such a procedure of their formation, where all the institutions which execute state power, the Seimas, the Government, the President of the Republic, the Judiciary, as well as other state institutions, are formed only from the citizens who without reservations obey the Constitution adopted by the Nation and who, while in office, unconditionally follow the Constitution, law, the interests of the Nation and the State of Lithuania. It was also held in this ruling of the Constitutional Court that the content of the constitutional sanction (the constitutional liability) applied in accordance with the procedure for impeachment proceedings, comprises also the removal of the person who has grossly violated the Constitution and breached the oath from office, and the subsequent prohibition, in the future, for such a person from holding such an office defined in the Constitution, which the person may begin to hold only upon taking the oath established in the Constitution. The Constitution also consolidates the legal regulation, where a person, whose mandate of a member of the Seimas has been revoked according to the procedure for impeachment proceedings for a gross violation of the Constitution and a breach of the oath, or where a person has been removed from the office of the President of the Republic, the President and a justice of the Constitutional Court, the President and a justice of the Supreme Court, the President and a judge of the Court of Appeal, for a gross violation of the Constitution and a breach of the oath, under the Constitution, may never stand for election as the President of the Republic, a member of the Seimas, may never hold office as a justice of the Constitutional Court, a justice of the Supreme Court, a judge of the Court of Appeal, a judge at other court, a member of the Government, the Auditor General, i.e. may not hold the office established in the Constitution, the beginning of holding of which, according to the Constitution, is linked with taking the oath set forth in the Constitution. A different interpretation of the provisions of the Constitution would make the institute of constitutional impeachment for a gross violation of the Constitution and a breach of the oath legally meaningless, pointless, it would be incompatible with the essence and purpose of the constitutional liability for a breach of the oath and a gross violation of the Constitution, with the essence and purpose of the oath established in the Constitution as a constitutional value, as well as with the requirement, which emerges from the overall constitutional legal regulation, that all the institutions executing state power and other state institutions be comprised only from the citizens who without reservations obey the Constitution adopted by the Nation, and who, while in office, unconditionally follow the Constitution, law, the interests of the Nation and the State of Lithuania. A different interpretation of the provisions of the Constitution would be inconsistent with both the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law, and the constitutional imperative of an open, just, and harmonious civil society

12. Thus, according to the Constitution, a person, who is a citizen of the Republic of Lithuania by birth, who has resided in Lithuania for not less than the past three years; who has reached the age of not less than 40 prior to the election day; who is not bound by an oath or a pledge to a foreign state, may stand for election as the President of the Republic. Under the Constitution, a person may not stand for election as the President of the Republic, if he has acted the President of the Republic for two consecutive times (two consecutive terms). Under the Constitution, a person, who has not fulfilled punishment imposed on him by court judgment, as well as a person recognised incapable by a court, may not stand for election as the President of the Republic as well. Under the Constitution, a person, who has been removed from office, or whose mandate of a member of the Seimas has been revoked according to the procedure for impeachment proceedings for a breach of the oath, a gross violation of the Constitution or the crime by which the Constitution was grossly violated and the oath was breached, may never stand for election as the President of the Republic. Under the Constitution, a judge of any court or a person holding the office defined in Article 141 of the Constitution may not stand for election as the President of the Republic.

Under the Constitution, a person, who meets the established constitutional requirements (if no obstacles defined in the Constitution exist) for being registered as a candidate to the President of the Republic, must additionally collect the signatures of not less than 20,000 voters.

It needs to be stressed that the Constitution does not provide for any other requirements (conditions), which should be met by a person so that he would be eligible for standing for election as the President of the Republic. Under the Constitution, the laws and other legal acts may not establish any such requirements (conditions) which would distort or deny the requirements (conditions) established in the Constitution, which should be met by a person so that he would be eligible for standing for election as the President of the Republic.

IV

On the compliance of Paragraph 2 (wording of 4 May 2004) of Article 2 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Presidential Elections with Articles 1 and 2, Paragraph 1 of Article 3, Article 4, Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 5, Paragraph 1 of Article 6, Paragraph 1 of Article 29, Paragraph 1 of Article 33, Paragraph 2 of Article 34, Article 67, Paragraph 1 of Article 78, Article 79, and Paragraph 1 of Article 109 of the Constitution, and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

1. Paragraph 2 (wording of 4 May 2004) of Article 2 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Presidential Elections reads: “A person, who has been removed from office or his mandate of a member of the Seimas has been revoked by the Seimas in accordance with the procedure for impeachment proceedings, may not stand for election as the President of the Republic if less than 5 years have elapsed since his removal from office or the revocation of his mandate of a member of the Seimas”.

2. Paragraph 2 (wording of 4 May 2004) of Article 2 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Presidential Elections has consolidated the following provisions:

1) a prohibition for a person against standing for election as the President of the Republic is established, if such a person has been removed from office or his mandate of a member of the Seimas has been revoked by the Seimas in accordance with the procedure for impeachment proceedings;

2) a period of validity of the aforementioned prohibition is established: a person, who has been removed from office or his mandate of a member of the Seimas has been revoked by the Seimas in accordance with the procedure for impeachment proceedings, may not stand for election as the President of the Republic if less than 5 years have elapsed since his removal from office or the revocation of his mandate of a member of the Seimas in accordance with the procedure for impeachment proceedings; in other words, a permission is established to elect such a person President of the Republic if 5 years have elapsed since his removal from office or the revocation of his mandate of a member of the Seimas in accordance with the procedure for impeachment proceedings;

3) it is prescribed that the said prohibition applies to all the persons, who are specified in Article 74 of the Constitution and who have been removed by the Seimas from office, or whose mandate of a member of the Seimas has been revoked by it, in case of existence of any basis established in Article 74 of the Constitution: a gross violation of the Constitution, a breach of the oath or disclosure of the commission of a crime.

3. The petitioner bases his doubt concerning the compliance of Paragraph 2 (wording of 4 May 2004) of Article 2 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Presidential Elections with the Constitution on the fact, that, in his opinion, the requirements for a person, who may stand for election as the President of the Republic, are established in Article 56, Paragraph 1 of Article 78, and Paragraph 1 of Article 79 of the Constitution, that, according to him, no other limitations on the exercising the passive electoral right are established in the Constitution, that the Constitution, in the opinion of the petitioner, consolidates a final list of requirements, which should be met by a person, who may stand for election as the President of the Republic, and that no other requirements may be established in laws.

4. It has been held in this ruling of the Constitutional Court that, under the Constitution, a person, who grossly violated the Constitution, breached the oath, or committed the crime by which the Constitution was also grossly violated and the oath was breached, and for the said reason who was removed, in accordance with the procedure for impeachment proceedings, from the office of the President of the Republic, the President and a justice of the Constitutional Court, the President and a justice of the Supreme Court, the President and a judge of the Court of Appeal, or whose mandate of a member of the Seimas has been revoked, may, under the Constitution, never stand for election as the President of the Republic, a member of the Seimas, may never hold office as a justice of the Constitutional Court, a justice of the Supreme Court, a judge of the Court of Appeal, a judge of another court, a member of the Government, the Auditor General, i.e. he may never hold the offices established in the Constitution, the beginning of holding of which, according to the Constitution, are linked with the taking of the oath provided for in the Constitution.

5. The provision of Paragraph 2 (wording of 4 May 2004) of Article 2 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Presidential Elections that a person may stand for election as the President of the Republic if 5 years have elapsed since his removal from office or the revocation of his mandate of a member of the Seimas in accordance with the procedure for impeachment proceedings, is not consistent with the requirement of the Constitution that such a person may never stand for election as the President of the Republic. The provision of Paragraph 2 (wording of 4 May 2004) of Article 2 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Presidential Elections that a person may stand for election as the President of the Republic if 5 years have elapsed since his removal from office or the revocation of his mandate of a member of the Seimas in accordance with the procedure for impeachment proceedings violates: Paragraph 1 of Article 82 of the Constitution, in which the essence and the purpose of the oath of the President of the Republic is consolidated; Paragraphs 2 and 3 of Article 59 of the Constitution, in which consolidate the essence and the purpose of the oath of a member of the Seimas are consolidated; Article 5 of the Law of the Republic of Lithuania “On the Procedure of Entry into Effect of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania”, in which the oath of a member of the Seimas is established; Paragraph 2 of Article 104 of the Constitution, in which the oath of a justice of the Constitutional Court is consolidated; Paragraph 6 of Article 112 of the Constitution, in which the oath of a person appointed as a judge is consolidated; Article 74 of the Constitution, which provides that for a gross violation of the Constitution, or a breach of the oath, the Seimas has a right to remove from office the President of the Republic, the President and justices of the Constitutional Court, the President and justices of the Supreme Court, the President and judges of the Court of Appeal, or to revoke the mandate of a member of the Seimas; and Paragraph 2 of Article 34 of the Constitution, which provides that the right to stand for election is established by the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and by the election laws. The aforementioned provision of Paragraph 2 (wording of 4 May 2004) of Article 2 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Presidential Elections also violates the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

6. In Paragraph 2 (wording of 4 May 2004) of Article 2 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Presidential Elections the provision is consolidated according to which a person may not stand for election as the President of the Republic if less than 5 years have elapsed since his removal from office or the revocation of his mandate of a member of the Seimas in accordance with the procedure for impeachment proceedings. The formula “procedure for impeachment proceedings” comprises also all the bases established in Article 74 of the Constitution, in presence of which a person may be removed from office, or his mandate of a member of the Seimas may be revoked. As mentioned before, in Article 74 of the Constitution the following bases for removal of a person from office and revocation of his mandate of a member of the Seimas in accordance with the procedure for impeachment proceedings are established: a gross violation of the Constitution, a breach of the oath, disclosure of a committed crime. Thus, under Paragraph 2 (wording of 4 May 2004) of Article 2 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Presidential Elections, a person, who has been removed from office, or his mandate of a member of the Seimas has been revoked in accordance with the procedure for impeachment proceedings not only for a gross violation of the Constitution, a breach of the oath, but for the commission of any crime, including a crime by which the Constitution was not grossly violated and the oath was not breached, may not stand for election as the President of the Republic if less than 5 years have elapsed.

The Constitution does not stipulate that a person, who has been removed from office, or his mandate of a member of the Seimas has been revoked in accordance with the procedure for impeachment proceedings for the commission of a crime by which the Constitution was not grossly violated and the oath was not breached, may not stand for election as the President of the Republic.

Therefore, Paragraph 2 (wording of 4 May 2004) of Article 2 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Presidential Elections, according to which a person, who has been removed by the Seimas from office, or whose mandate of a member of the Seimas has been revoked in accordance with the procedure for impeachment proceedings for the commission of a crime by which the Constitution was not grossly violated and the oath was not breached, may not stand for election as the President of the Republic, has established a requirement (condition) for a person, who may stand for election as the President of the Republic, which is different than the one entrenched in the Constitution.

Paragraph 2 (wording of 4 May 2004) of Article 2 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Presidential Elections to the extent that it provides that a person, who has been removed by the Seimas from office, or his mandate of a member of the Seimas has been revoked in accordance with the procedure for impeachment proceedings for the commission of a crime by which the Constitution was not grossly violated and the oath was not breached, may not stand for election as the President of the Republic, is inconsistent with: Article 74 of the Constitution, which provides for the right of the Seimas in accordance with the procedure for impeachment proceedings, for a gross violation of the Constitution and a breach of the oath, to remove the President of the Republic, the President and justices of the Constitutional Court, the President and justices of the Supreme Court, the President and judges of the Court of Appeal from office, or to revoke the mandate of a member of the Seimas; Paragraph 2 of Article 56 of the Constitution, according to which a person who has not fulfilled punishment imposed on him by court judgment may not stand for election as a member of the Seimas; Paragraph 1 of Article 78 of the Constitution, according to which a citizen of the Republic of Lithuania, who, inter alia, may stand for election as a member of the Seimas, stand for election as the President of the Republic; and Paragraph 2 of Article 34 of the Constitution, which provides that the right to stand for election is established by the Constitution and by the election laws.

7. When assessing the compliance of Paragraph 2 (wording of 4 May 2004) of Article 2 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Presidential Elections with the Constitution, it should be noted that this paragraph providing that a person, who has been removed from office or his mandate of the Seimas member has been revoked by the Seimas in accordance with the procedure for impeachment proceedings, may not stand for election as the President of the Republic, except the provision that “if less than 5 years have elapsed since his removal from office or the revocation of his mandate of the Seimas member”, and the provision that a person, who has been removed from office or his mandate of the Seimas member has been revoked by the Seimas in accordance with the procedure for impeachment proceedings for the commission of a crime by which the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania has not been grossly violated or the oath has not been breached, is in line with the restriction entrenched in the Constitution that a person, who has been removed from office of the President of the Republic, the President and a justice of the Constitutional Court, the President and a justice of the Supreme Court, the President and a judge of the Court of Appeal, or whose mandate of a member of the Seimas has been revoked in accordance with the procedure for impeachment proceedings for a breach of the oath, a gross violation of the Constitution, or the crime by which the Constitution has also been grossly violated, may never stand for election as the President of the Republic.

8. Taking account of the aforementioned arguments, the conclusion should be drawn that:

1) Paragraph 2 (wording of 4 May 2004) of Article 2 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Presidential Elections, which provides that a person, who has been removed from office or his mandate of the Seimas member has been revoked by the Seimas in accordance with the procedure for impeachment proceedings, may not stand for election as the President of the Republic, except the provision that “if less than 5 years have elapsed since his removal from office or the revocation of his mandate of the Seimas member”, and the provision that a person, who has been removed from office or his mandate of the Seimas member has been revoked by the Seimas in accordance with the procedure for impeachment proceedings for the commission of a crime by which the Constitution has not been grossly violated or the oath has not been breached, is not in conflict with the Constitution;

2) the provision of Paragraph 2 (wording of 4 May 2004) of Article 2 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Presidential Elections, which reads “if less than 5 years have elapsed since his removal from office or the revocation of his mandate of the Seimas member” is in conflict with Paragraph 2 of Article 34, Paragraphs 2 and 3 of Article 59, Article 74, Paragraph 1 of Article 82, Paragraph 2 of Article 104, and Paragraph 6 of Article 112 of the Constitution, Article 5 of the Law “On the Procedure of Entry into Effect of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania”, as well as the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law;

3) Paragraph 2 (wording of 4 May 2004) of Article 2 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Presidential Elections to the extent that it provides that a person, who has been removed from office or his mandate of the Seimas member has been revoked by the Seimas in accordance with the procedure for impeachment proceedings for the commission of a crime by which the Constitution has not been grossly violated or the oath has not been breached may not stand for election as the President of the Republic, is in conflict with Paragraph 2 of Article 34, Paragraph 2 of Article 56, Article 74, and Paragraph 1 of Article 78 of the Constitution.

9. Having held the aforementioned, in this case the Constitutional Court will not investigate as to whether Paragraph 2 (wording of 4 May 2004) of Article 2 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Presidential Elections is not in conflict with the other articles (paragraphs thereof) of the Constitution, which are specified in the operative part of the petition of the petitioner, i.e. Articles 1 and 2, Paragraph 1 of Article 3, Article 4, Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 5, Paragraph 1 of Article 6, Paragraph 1 of Article 29, Paragraph 1 of Article 33, Article 67, Article 79, and Paragraph 1 of Article 109 of the Constitution.

V

On the compliance of Article 11 (wording of 4 May 2004) of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Presidential Elections with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

1. Article 11 (wording of 4 May 2004) of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Presidential Elections is set forth as follows:

Article 11. Purposes for Supplementing Article 2 of this Law

Pursuant to the principles of an open, just, and harmonious civil society and state under the rule of law enshrined in the Preamble to the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania, as well as Articles 6, 34 and 74 of the Constitution, the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania adopts this Law.”

2. The petitioner doubts as to whether Article 11 (wording of 4 May 2004) of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Presidential Elections is not in conflict with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

3. As mentioned before, by the Republic of Lithuania’s Law Supplementing the Law on Presidential Elections with Article 11 and Supplementing Article 2 Thereof Article 2 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Presidential Elections was supplemented with new Paragraph 2, which provides that a person, who has been removed from office or his mandate of the Seimas member has been revoked by the Seimas in accordance with the procedure for impeachment proceedings, may not stand for election as the President of the Republic if less than 5 years have elapsed since his removal from office or the revocation of his mandate of the Seimas member.

4. Article 11 (wording of 4 May 2004) of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Presidential Elections specifies the purposes, as well as the articles of the Constitution, according to which the Seimas supplemented Article 2 (wording of 19 September 1996) of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Presidential Elections with said new Paragraph 2.

5. It was held in this ruling of the Constitutional Court that:

1) Paragraph 2 (wording of 4 May 2004) of Article 2 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Presidential Elections, which prescribes that a person, who has been removed from office or his mandate of the Seimas member has been revoked by the Seimas in accordance with the procedure for impeachment proceedings, may not stand for election as the President of the Republic, except the provision that “if less than 5 years have elapsed since his removal from office or the revocation of his mandate of the Seimas member”, and the provision that a person, who has been removed from office or his mandate of the Seimas member has been revoked by the Seimas in accordance with the procedure for impeachment proceedings for the commission of a crime by which the Constitution has not been grossly violated or the oath has not been breached, is not in conflict with the Constitution;

2) the provision of Paragraph 2 (wording of 4 May 2004) of Article 2 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Presidential Elections, which reads “if less than 5 years have elapsed since his removal from office or the revocation of his mandate of the Seimas member” is in conflict with Paragraph 2 of Article 34, Paragraphs 2 and 3 of Article 59, Article 74, Paragraph 1 of Article 82, Paragraph 2 of Article 104, and Paragraph 6 of Article 112 of the Constitution, Article 5 of the Law “On the Procedure of Entry into Effect of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania”, as well as the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law;

3) Paragraph 2 (wording of 4 May 2004) of Article 2 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Presidential Elections to the extent that it provides that a person, who has been removed from office or his mandate of the Seimas member has been revoked by the Seimas in accordance with the procedure for impeachment proceedings for the commission of a crime by which the Constitution has not been grossly violated or the oath has not been breached may not stand for election as the President of the Republic of Lithuania, is in conflict with Paragraph 2 of Article 34, Paragraph 2 of Article 56, Article 74, and Paragraph 1 of Article 78 of the Constitution.

Article 11 (wording of 4 May 2004) of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Presidential Elections is inseparable from Paragraph 2 (wording of 4 may 2004) of Article 2 of this law: Article 11 (wording of 4 May 2004) of the said law does not establish any legal regulation, which itself could cause any rights or duties of the subjects to legal relations specified in Paragraph 2 (wording of 4 may 2004) of Article 2 of this law, or cause any legal effects in their respect.

Having taken account of the aforementioned, the Constitutional Court will not investigate as to whether Article 11 (wording of 4 May 2004) of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Presidential Elections is not in conflict with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law as specified by the petitioner.

Conforming to Articles 102 and 105 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 2 (wording of 4 May 2004) of Article 2 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Presidential Elections, which prescribes that a person, who has been removed from office or his mandate of the Seimas member has been revoked by the Seimas in accordance with the procedure for impeachment proceedings, may not stand for election as the President of the Republic, except the provision that “if less than 5 years have elapsed since his removal from office or the revocation of his mandate of the Seimas member”, and the provision that a person, who has been removed from office or his mandate of the Seimas member has been revoked by the Seimas in accordance with the procedure for impeachment proceedings for the commission of a crime by which the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania has not been grossly violated or the oath has not been breached, is not in conflict with the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania.

2. To recognise that the provision of Paragraph 2 (wording of 4 May 2004) of Article 2 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Presidential Elections, which reads “if less than 5 years have elapsed since his removal from office or the revocation of his mandate of the Seimas member” is in conflict with Paragraph 2 of Article 34, Paragraphs 2 and 3 of Article 59, Article 74, Paragraph 1 of Article 82, Paragraph 2 of Article 104, and Paragraph 6 of Article 112 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania, Article 5 of the Law “On the Procedure of the Entry into Effect of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania”, as well as the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

3. To recognise that Paragraph 2 (wording of 4 May 2004) of Article 2 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Presidential Elections to the extent that it provides that a person, who has been removed from office or his mandate of the Seimas member has been revoked by the Seimas in accordance with the procedure for impeachment proceedings for the commission of a crime by which the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania has not been grossly violated or the oath has not been breached may not stand for election as the President of the Republic, is in conflict with Paragraph 2 of Article 34, Paragraph 2 of Article 56, Article 74, and Paragraph 1 of Article 78 of the Constitution of the 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 Jarašiūnas

Egidijus Kūris

Kęstutis Lapinskas

Zenonas Namavičius

Augustinas Normantas

Jonas Prapiestis

Vytautas Sinkevičius

Stasys Stačiokas