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On the constitutionality of amendments to the Law on Elections to the Seimas

THE CONSTITUTIONAL COURT OF
THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA

R U L I N G

On the compliance of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law “On a Partial Amendment and Supplement to the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Elections to the Seimas” of 16 March 1993 with the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania

8 November 1993, Vilnius

The Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania, composed from the Justices of the Constitutional Court: Algirdas Gailiūnas, Kęstutis Lapinskas, Zigmas Levickis, Vladas Pavilonis, Pranas Vytautas Rasimavičius, Stasys Stačiokas, Teodora Staugaitienė, Stasys Šedbaras and Juozas Žilys

The court reporter—Rolanda Stimbirytė

Zita Šličytė, acting as the representative of a group of members of the Seimas, the petitioner

Juozas Bernatonis, Deputy Speaker of the Seimas, acting as the representative of the Seimas, the party concerned

The Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania, pursuant to Paragraph 1 of Article 102 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and Paragraph 1 of Article 1 of Law on the Constitutional Court, in its public hearing, on 4 November 1993, considered case No. 6 subsequent to the petition submitted to the Court by a group of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania members to investigate the conformity of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law “On a Partial Amendment and Supplement to the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Elections to the Seimas” of 16 March 1993 with the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania.

The Constitutional Court

has established:

A group of members of the Seimas, the petitioner, requests that the Constitutional Court investigate if the Law “On a Partial Amendment and Supplement to the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Elections to the Seimas” of 16 March 1993 is in compliance with the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania. The request is grounded on the provision established in Article 69 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania that “laws shall be enacted in the Seimas in accordance with the procedure established by law”. The petitioner maintains that the impugned law was enacted by the Seimas on 16 March 1993 neglecting the procedure of law enactment established by law, as:

1) in violation of Article 216 of the Provisional Statute of the Seimas “the head of the Committee for State and Law—the Commission for Drafting Laws—did not announce the date of the public sitting of the Committee when the possibility would be provided for the Seimas members to submit proposals and supplements for consideration. During the consideration no conclusion on the part of the Committee for Budget was submitted”;

2) “the term for the third consideration was set for the same day of the Seimas sittings in violation of the procedure prescribed by law (i.e. in Articles 206 and 209 of the Provisional Statute of the Seimas), furthermore, the Seimas majority ignored the proposals and supplements submitted by the members of the Seimas and did not charge the legislators to edit the draft law taking them into consideration”;

3) “On 16 March 1993, applying the speed-up procedure of consideration of this law, the first, the second and the third considerations were conducted on the same day of the Seimas sittings in violation of the procedure established by law, and, for this reason, political groups of the Seimas and members of the Seimas could not in due time, at least 24 hours before the consideration, submit their proposals and amendments in writing”.

Furthermore, the petitioner in the request submitted to the Constitutional Court states that during the consideration of said draft law in the Seimas on 16 March 1993 “the Seimas members of Homeland Coalition (Tėvynės Santaros frakcijų koalicija) demanded in compliance with Article 69 of the Constitution to establish a list of constitutional laws. This demand was rejected by the majority of the Seimas and on the same day the Law ‘On a Partial Amendment and Supplement to the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Elections to the Seimas’ was enacted by the vote of 55 Seimas members”.

As it is specified in Article 7 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania, “any law which contradicts the Constitution shall be invalid.”

On 10 March 1993, the draft law “On Amending the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Elections to the Seimas” was submitted to the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania. On the same day, the Seimas decided to include this draft law into the session schedule of sittings and to apply the speed-up procedure of consideration.

The first and the second considerations of this law were conducted in 16 March 1993 morning sitting. The third consideration was carried out and the law “On a Partial Amendment and Supplement to the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Elections to the Seimas” was enacted in the evening sitting of 16 March 1993.

Upon the request of Homeland Coalition (Tėvynės Santaros frakcijų koalicija) on 23 March 1993 the Seimas formed the Provisional Committee for the investigation of said violations.

The Provisional Committee of the Seimas, upon the investigation of the petition submitted by Homeland Coalition have agreed that the petition points out to the following violations of the Provisional Statute of the Seimas:

1) the date of the public sitting of the Committee for State and Law—the Commission for Drafting Laws—was not announced;

2) the conclusion drawn by the Committee for Budget was not submitted during the consideration;

3) the discussion time as well as the number of participants was limited;

4) the third consideration was scheduled for the same day of the Seimas sitting when the first and the second considerations were conducted;

5) the procedure of amendments and supplements to draft laws established in Article 208 of the Statute was not observed.

The Provisional Committee has drawn the following conclusions pertaining to every fact:

  1. The law was drafted on the initiative of J. Bernatonis, A. Kunčinas and V. Būtėnas, members of the Committee for State and Law. This draft was investigated in 9 March 1993 sitting of the Committee for State and Law and was approved by the majority vote, however, the said draft law was submitted for consideration and was investigated not upon the instructions of the Committee but on the initiative of the group of the members of the Seimas. Thus, the Seimas did not commission the Committee for State and Law or any other Committee to draft the law. On the other hand, all the sittings of the Committee for State and Law with the exception of closed ones are public and there was no need to inform about it separately, therefore, in this case requirements set forth in Article 216 of the Provisional Statute of the Seimas are not applicable and this Article does not regulate the right of legislative initiative.
  2. It is specified in Article 216 of the Provisional Statute of the Seimas that law enactment should be preceded by the conclusion drawn by the Committee for Budget and Finance pertaining to State funds and their possible source necessary to implement a law or decision. As in said draft law the tendency of saving the expenses is obvious because it contains a suggestion to diminish the composition of the Central Electoral Commission, the conclusion of the Committee for Budget and Finance would evidently have had no sense.
  3. The duration of discussions during the first and second considerations was limited to 40 minutes and speeches to 5 minutes respectively. The duration of discussions and the number of participants are interrelated, therefore, the limitation of discussion time causes the limitation of the number of those who speak. In the opinion of the Committee, in this case there was no direct violation of Article 218 of the Provisional Statute of the Seimas. The Seimas members did not ask to prolong the consideration of the draft law.
  4. It is specified in Article 218 of the Provisional Statute of the Seimas that the third consideration can be conducted in one of the nearest sittings of the Seimas. The first and the second considerations were conducted in 16 March 1993 morning sitting and the third consideration—in the evening sitting of the same day which is in absolute compliance with Article 218 of the Provisional Statute of the Seimas. It is established in Article 218 that the third consideration shall be conducted in conformity with the requirements set forth in Chapter 23 of the Statute. In the opinion of the petitioner, there was a violation of Article 206 of the Provisional Statute of the Seimas. However, this Article regulates not the course of the third consideration but the decisions upon the second consideration which in case of application of the speed-up procedure of consideration is regulated by Article 218. Thus, in this case, there was no violation of the Provisional Statute of the Seimas as the third consideration was conducted on the same day applying the speed-up procedure of law consideration established in Article 218.
  5. Article 208 of the Provisional Statute of the Seimas regulates not the course of the third consideration but the decisions adopted upon the second consideration. In the event of application of the speed-up procedure of consideration, the third consideration is regulated by Articles 209, 210, 211 and 212 and as the third consideration in question met the requirements established in these Articles, it can be stated that, in this case, there was no violation of the Provisional Statute of the Seimas.

The Provisional Committee, upon the investigation of the facts submitted in the petition of Homeland Coalition (Tėvynės Santaros frakcijų koalicija), have drawn a general conclusion that in the consideration of the draft Law “On a Partial Amendment and Supplement to the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Elections to the Seimas” a certain minor technical violation was made (the conclusion of the Committee for Budget and Finance concerning the State funds and their possible source necessary to implement the law—Article 216—was not submitted), which did not influence the enactment and the implementation of said law. On this ground, the Provisional Committee proposed to leave the enacted law in force.

Three members of the Provisional Committee (The Seimas members: P. Giniotas, S. Pečeliūnas and V. Žiemelis) did not agree with the conclusions of the Committee and prepared a separate certificate the main statements of which are as follows:

  1. The right of legislative initiative vested in the Seimas members in compliance with Article 68 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania was limited as “the head of the Committee for State and Law Commission for Drafting Laws did not inform about the time of the public sitting of the Committee and when the possibility would be provided for the Seimas members to submit their proposals and supplements for consideration” (as it is required by Article 216 of the Provisional Statute of the Seimas)
  2. “The Committee for Budget and Finance did not consider this draft law and did not submit any conclusions” (the violation of Article 216 of the Provisional Statute of the Seimas).
  3. “In the consideration of this draft law, the discussion time was limited to 5 minutes and the time allotted for the consideration of this issue was also limited, therefore, the majority of those willing to participate in discussions could not do this which can only be qualified as the limitation of the number of participants in the discussions. It is specified in the Provisional Statute that only one limitation can be applied” (the violation of Article 218 of the Provisional Statute of the Seimas).
  4. “The first and the second considerations of the draft law ended at 2.30 p.m. of 16 March 1993. The third consideration was set for the next Seimas sitting, i.e. after 3 p.m. In this case the Seimas members did not have any possibility of submitting their suggestions and supplements for the third consideration” in conformity with the requirements established in Article 208 of the Provisional Statute of the Seimas.
  5. “In the process of the consideration and voting of this draft law, an amendment of the title of the draft law was submitted in verbal form, which was not a technical amendment, but a key one altering the title of the law as well as the essence of the interpretation of its content. This amendment was applied in violation of the procedure established in Item 4 of Article 208 of the Provisional Statute of the Seimas, in which it is specified that new amendments and supplements are not accepted during the third consideration, except technical amendments which are not subject to consideration and voting and are only submitted in writing to the Commission for Drafting Laws”.

The above-mentioned members of the Provisional Committee proposed to abrogate the Seimas decision to enact the Law “On a Partial Amendment and Supplement to the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Elections to the Seimas”.

Two alternative draft decisions were submitted to the Seimas. On 4 May 1993, the Seimas by the majority vote confirmed the draft decision proposed by the Provisional Committee in approval of the conclusions drawn by this Committee.

In the process of the preliminary investigation of the case, the representative of the petitioner submitted the following supplementary arguments and reasoning:

  1. “The Seimas, by adoption of the new wording of Article 11 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Elections to the Seimas, renounced the provision that ‘all political parties and public political movements participating in an election shall have the right to equal representation in all electoral commissions’. The renunciation of this provision contradicts Article 29 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania which promulgates that all persons shall be equal before the law. As it is well known, persons can be natural and legal persons, thus, Article 29 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania guarantees not only the equality of all persons before the law but also the equality of political parties and public political movements registered as legal persons. The granting of exclusive rights to the Society of Lawyers of Lithuania as well as to political parties and public political movements that won their mandate of members of the Seimas in the multi-member constituency established in the wording of Article 11 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania, does not only contradict Article 29 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania but also denies the possibility of active participation in an election to the Seimas to those political parties and public political movements that did not get seats in the Seimas at the election in the multi-member constituency”.

“Articles 13 and 14 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Elections to the Seimas in their new wordings, establishing the principles of the formation of the electoral commissions of constituencies and polling districts, by analogy with those of forming the Central Electoral Commission, also contradict Article 29 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania”.

  1. The newly elected Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania “had primarily to establish a list of constitutional laws and only then start the process of legislation. Unfortunately, this was not done either within 3.5 months before the enactment of the Law “On a Partial Amendment and Supplement to the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Elections to the Seimas” or later.

The draft Law “On the Constitutional Laws of the Republic of Lithuania” was submitted to the Seimas on 19 October 1993.

Article 2 of the draft Law establishes that the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Elections to the Seimas is a constitutional law. Thus, amending and supplementing the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Elections to the Seimas without having established a list of constitutional laws, the Seimas has grossly violated the provisions of Article 69 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania”.

  1. “The essence of violations enumerated in the declaration (an attached document to the petition submitted to the Constitutional Court) of Homeland Coalition (Tėvynės Santaros frakcijų koalicija) ‘is that the constitutional right of legislative initiative vested in the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania members in accordance with Article 68 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania was restricted’”.

The representative of the petitioner has also explained that “the declaration of Homeland Coalition gives far from being exhaustive interpretation of Article 218 of the Provisional Statute of the Seimas and that the joining of alternative norms into one idea ensues from an inaccurate citing of the law. It also gives a misleading reference to Article 209, though, in reality, Article 208 was cited, as well as groundlessly relies on Article 208 instead of Article 218 of the Provisional Statute of the Seimas”.

The representative of the party concerned stated that the petition of a group of the members of the Seimas submitted to the Constitutional Court on 23 March 1993 with the request for an investigation into the compliance of the Law “On a Partial Amendment and Supplement to the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Elections to the Seimas” with the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania does not contain any evidence or arguments confirming the contradiction of aforesaid law to the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania. The Provisional Committee formed by the Seimas has also established no violations mentioned above. The representative of the party concerned, while assenting to the conclusions drawn by the Committee, in addition has made the following retorts:

  1. The petitioner states that the conclusions of the Committee for Budget and Finance were not submitted during the consideration of said draft law. It is specified in Article 192 of the Provisional Statute of the Seimas as a general norm that “if the implementation of the law requires state funds, the initiators of draft laws should submit their proposals as well as the Committee for Budget and Finance along with the Government should submit their conclusions pertaining to a possible source of the funds”. The special norm established in Article 216 of the Statute only specifies the term for the submission of the conclusions drawn by the Committee for Budget and Finance but it does not define the conditions when they are indispensable. In this case the initiators of the draft did not submit the proposals because after the consultations with the members of the Committee for Budget and Finance they found out that the implementation of the amended law would not require additional budget funds.
  2. The petitioner’s statement that the third consideration of the draft law could not be conducted earlier than on the other nearest day of the Seimas sitting, is groundless. The petitioner presents an erroneous and too extensive interpretation of special norms established in Article 218 of the Provisional Statute of the Seimas that define the application of the speed-up procedure of the consideration of a law is applied, the Seimas upon the first and the second consideration decides to conduct the third one in one of the nearest sittings of the Seimas. In Item 1 of Article 206 of the Provisional Statute of the Seimas an analogous general norm is formulated specifying that “the third consideration may not be conducted earlier than on the other nearest day of the Seimas sitting”, however, it is applied in all cases with exception of those when the Seimas decide to consider the law under speed-up procedure or emergency procedure of consideration. Therefore, the Seimas decision to conduct the third consideration of the draft law in the nearest sitting, i.e. in the evening sitting of the same day was in compliance with the Provisional Statute of the Seimas.
  3. The representative of the party concerned does not agree with the petitioner’s statement that in the period between the first, the second and the third considerations the edited draft law was not submitted to the Seimas members. In fact, the first and the second considerations in the morning sitting of the Seimas ended about 1.30 p.m. whereas the third consideration started at the end of the evening sitting, i.e. after 7 p.m., and by this time a newly edited draft law heeding the remarks and proposals of the Seimas members, had been submitted. For example, an amendment of P. Papovas, a member of the Seimas, was submitted and considered. However, it was rejected, as key amendments to the law were proposed. The remarks of the Seimas members that Article 2 of the Law on Elections to the Seimas is not in compliance with the Constitution, were taken into account and an amended draft law was submitted for the third consideration.
  4. The petitioner maintains that by the adoption of this law procedure of law enactment established in the Constitution was violated as this law had to be enacted as a constitutional law. As a matter of fact, in the process of the consideration of the above-mentioned draft law, a number of the Seimas members suggested establishing a list of constitutional laws, however, the suggestion was submitted in violation of the Provisional Statute of the Seimas and without preparation of necessary drafts. In conformity with Article 69 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania the Seimas shall establish a list of constitutional laws by a three-fifths majority vote of the Seimas members. As the Law on Elections to the Seimas did not have the power of the constitutional law, the law on a partial amendment and supplement to the said law could not be considered and enacted as a constitutional law.

Subsequent to the above-mentioned reasoning, the representative of the party concerned is of the opinion that the Republic of Lithuania’s Law “On a Partial Amendment and Supplement to the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Election to the Seimas” is in compliance with the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania, thus, the petitioner’s request should not be complied with. The representative of the party concerned has also stated that he would not be against the evaluation of additional arguments of the petitioner’s representative by the Constitutional Court. The representative of the party concerned has also explained that universally recognised human and civil rights and freedoms are established in the Chapter “The Human Being and the State” of the Constitution. The petitioner’s representative gives too extensive an explanation of the notion “person” and groundlessly maintains that the equality of persons established in Article 29 of the Constitution is applicable to legal persons. The consideration of the impugned law was conducted under speed-up procedure prescribed by the Provisional Statute of the Seimas in compliance with the right of legislative initiative established in Article 68 of the Constitution.

The Constitutional Court

holds that:

  1. On the compliance of the procedure of the enactment of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law “On a Partial Amendment and Supplement to the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Elections to the Seimas” of 16 March 1993 with the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania.

General rules of law enactment are formulated in Article 69 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania. It is specified by which majority vote laws and constitutional laws shall be adopted. As far as other procedures are concerned, it is established in the first paragraph of said Article that laws shall be enacted in the Seimas in accordance with the procedure established by law. At present, these procedures are established in the Provisional Statute of the Seimas—a legal act having the power of law. The procedure of the submission of draft laws to the Seimas, of three considerations of those laws, of discussions, voting and other significant issues pertaining to the process of legislation, are established in it. In fact, these are the issues of the structure and the procedure of activities of the Seimas that shall be determined by the Statute of the Seimas as prescribed by Article 76 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania. The self-dependence of the Seimas is within its competence established in the Constitution as well as is limited by its duty to act in compliance with the Constitution and valid laws. The duty of the Seimas to act in accordance with the procedure of law enactment established by the Statute of the Seimas not only may be but, in fact, must be interpreted as a constitutional duty because it is conditioned by the provision established in Paragraph 1 of Article 69 of the Constitution.

It is determined in the Provisional Statute of the Seimas how to verity the adherence to the procedure of law enactment prescribed by law and how to resolve disputes ensuing from the violations of procedure (Article 2121 of the Provisional Statute of the Seimas). It is also specified in the Statute that in cases when the Provisional Committee formed by the Seimas draws the conclusion pointing out to gross violations in the procedure of legislation, essential violations in the order of voting as well as other relevant violations of significant provisions of the Statute that predetermined the decision of the Seimas on the law, the Seimas resolves by voting whether to abrogate or to leave in force the act in dispute. Thus, the conclusion can be drawn that the Seimas itself states if there was a violation of the procedure of law enactment prescribed by the Statute of the Seimas, and resolves the disputes that arise. The perfection of the norms of the Statute is also within the competence of the Seimas. There was no appeal to the Constitutional Court on the constitutionality of the above-mentioned and other norms of the Provisional Statute of the Seimas determining the procedures of consideration and adoption of draft laws.

The Seimas formed the Provisional Committee to investigate the said procedural violations. In the conclusions submitted by the Committee, violations mentioned in the declaration of Homeland Coalition (Tėvynės Santaros frakcijų koalicija) are investigated and a generalised conclusion is drawn that during the consideration of the draft Law “On a Partial Amendment and Supplement to the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Elections to the Seimas” a minor technical violation has been made (no conclusion of the Committee for Budget and Finance pertaining to state funds and their possible source necessary for the implementation of the law was submitted), which had no effect upon the adoption and implementation of the impugned law. On the basis of this, the Provisional Committee proposed to leave the Law “On a Partial Amendment and Supplement to the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Elections to the Seimas” of 16 March 1993 in force. Furthermore, the Provisional Committee has called attention to the fact that the speed-up procedure of the consideration of law is not specified accurately enough in the Provisional Statute of the Seimas, therefore, various interpretations of norms, causing disputes and misunderstandings are possible. On 4 May 1993 the Seimas adopted the decisions in approval of the conclusions drawn by the Provisional Committee.

The legal proceedings prove that the conclusion of the Committee for Budget and Finance was not submitted for the adoption of law, i.e. the requirement established in Paragraph 2 of Article 216 of the Provisional Statute of the Seimas has been violated. The Court holds that the issue of financing elections has in essence been resolved upon the enactment of the Law on Elections. Thus, even though the above-mentioned procedural violation has been made, the Constitutional Court does not find a sufficient ground for the conclusion that the enacted law contradicts the Constitution in accordance with the procedure of its enactment established by the Constitution.

During the judicial consideration it was also established that many disagreements and disputes had emerged from an inaccurate definition of the procedure of the consideration of draft laws in the Statute and the variety of interpretations of the norms of the Statute. In the application of these norms a rule specifying that, in case of the competition between general and special norms, a special norm shall be valid, was not always observed.

On the basis of Item 4 of Paragraph 1 of Article 64 of the Law on the Constitutional Court, the Constitutional Court investigates the compliance of legal act with the Constitution in accordance with the procedure prescribed by this law. The Constitutional Court draws the conclusion that this procedure in the adoption of the Law “On a Partial Amendment and Supplement to the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Elections to the Seimas” was not violated. Thus, there is no ground for maintaining that the impugned law contradicts Paragraph 1 of Article 69 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania in the procedure of its enactment. The petitioner did not raise the question whether during the adoption of the impugned law the norms of Paragraph 2 of said Article were violated.

  1. On the issue whether the Law “On a Partial Amendment and Supplement to the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on the Elections to the Seimas”, 16 March 1993, had to be enacted in accordance with the procedure established by constitutional laws and not general procedure.

The Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania establishes a variety of majority votes for the enactment of laws. in compliance with Paragraph 2 of Article 69 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania, laws shall be deemed adopted if the majority of the Seimas members participating in the sitting vote in favour thereof. The procedure of the enactment of constitutional laws is defined in Paragraph 3 of said Article: they shall be deemed adopted if more than half of all the members of the Seimas vote in the affirmative and shall be amended by at least a three-fifths majority vote of all the Seimas members.

Due to the above-mentioned variety in the procedure of the adoption of laws, the classification of laws in accordance with constitutional norms is very significant. The constituent parts of the Constitution shall primarily be the laws established in Article 150 of the Constitution. Only the Seimas is empowered with enumerating other constitutional laws. It is determined in Paragraph 3 of Article 69 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania: “The Seimas shall establish a list of constitutional laws by a three-fifths majority vote of the Seimas members”. Thus, a list of constitutional laws being established only in accordance with this procedure, laws entering this list shall be interpreted as constitutional laws, and the rule of their enactment and amendment by at least a three-fifths majority vote of all the Seimas members established in the Constitution shall be applied only to these laws. In the absence of such a list of constitutional laws, the aforesaid procedure of law enactment may not be applied to the adoption of any law, except the law on the establishment of the list of constitutional laws. Even more groundless are the arguments that amendments and supplements to an ordinary law may be adopted in accordance with the rules of the adoption of constitutional laws.

The above-mentioned procedure of law enactment and amendment is not applied to amendments to the Constitution that can also be called constitutional laws. The procedures of their amending, consideration and adoption are regulated by Chapter XIV “Alteration of the Constitution” of the Constitution of Republic of Lithuania.

Constitutional norms do not establish the priorities of the sequence of consideration or enactment of laws, constitutional laws included. These issues are within the competence of the Seimas.

  1. On the compliance of the Law “On a Partial Amendment and Supplement to the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Elections to the Seimas” of 16 March 1993 with Article 68 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania.

The petitioner maintains that, due to procedural violations made in the adoption of the Law “On a Partial Amendment and Supplement to the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Elections to the Seimas” of 16 March 1993, the right of the Seimas members to submit proposals and supplements for consideration was limited, i.e. the constitutional right of legislative initiative of the members of the Seimas established in Article 68 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania was restricted in essence.

The process of legislation is the whole complex of legally significant acts necessary for the adoption of a law and performed in rigid sequence of logic and time. The following stages of the process of legislation are universally recognised: the realisation of the right to legislation, the consideration of a draft law, the adoption of a draft law, the promulgation and the enforcement of the enacted law. Only with the completion of one stage in consecutive order starts another. The aforesaid consecutive order of the process of legislation is in essence established in the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania: the realisation of the right of legislative initiative—in Article 68, the adoption of laws—in Article 69, the promulgation and enforcement of laws—in Articles 70–72. The stage of the consideration of draft laws, being the stage which guarantees the application of principles of democracy in the process of legislation, is not specified in these articles. However, their actual presence is evident from other constitutional norms: Article 71 establishes the right of the President of the Republic of Lithuania to refer the law back “to the Seimas for reconsideration”, Article 72—the right of the Seimas “to reconsider and enact laws” which have been referred back by the President of the Seimas. In view of this, the conclusion can be drawn that the stage of the consideration of draft laws is necessary in the procedure of the Seimas legislation. This is confirmed in the wording of Article 72 that “after reconsideration of the Seimas, a law shall be deemed enacted if the amendments and supplements submitted by the President of the Republic were adopted, or if more than half of all the Seimas members vote in the affirmative, and if it is a constitutional law—if at least three-fifths of all the Seimas members vote in the affirmative”.

The process of legislation starts with putting forward an initiative. This may be done only by the persons specified in the Constitution, i.e. persons who have the right of legislative initiative. The essence and purpose of this right is to initiate the process of legislation. This right is practically realised by the submission of some concrete draft law to the Seimas or by written wording of a new substantial idea concerning legislation. Upon the submission of the law project by the proper subject, the duty of the Seimas—the institution of legislation—is to initiate the consideration of the submitted draft law or the idea of the law project. Then the second stage of the process of legislation, usually defined by regulations of the Seimas (Statutes), starts. In this stage, remarks, proposals, amendments and supplements on the draft law submitted by the members of the Seimas are relevant elements of the stage of consideration, however, they cannot be interpreted as legislative initiative because it has already been realised. Suggestions, amendments and supplements are practically submitted up to the moment of law enactment. The order of their submission and consideration is regulated by regulation norms of the consideration of draft laws. It is peculiar that the order differs in essence from the realisation of the right of legislative initiative. The right of legislative initiative is also different from the submission of amendments and supplements to the draft under consideration in its purpose and, after all, they are different parts of the stages of the process of legislation.

On the basis of the above-mentioned reasoning, the Constitutional Court concludes that the Law “On a Partial Amendment and Supplement to the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Elections of the Seimas” of 16 March 1993, was enacted in compliance with the norms established in Article 68 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania.

  1. On the compliance of the Law “On a Partial Amendment and Supplement to the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Elections to the Seimas” of 16 March 1993 with Article 29 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania.

The petitioner states that the amendment of Article 11 of the Law on Elections to the Seimas and the renunciation of the principle of equal representation of all political parties and public political movements participating in an election in all electoral commissions, established in this law, violated the principle of the equality of all persons before law specified in Article 29 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania.

The aforesaid Article 29 is in Chapter II of the Constitution under the title “The Human Being and the State”, therefore, in this case, the notion “a person” can only be a synonym of “a human being”. This chapter of the Constitution, Article 29 in particular, is about human and civil rights, freedoms and duties, thus, there is no juridical ground for a more extensive interpretation of the notion “a person”.

The variety of legal status is peculiar to collective legal persons (organisations and institutions), therefore, on the basis of typology of legal persons, groups of persons with the same special legal capacity may be discerned, and only these groups are comparable among themselves.

On the basis of the above-mentioned reasoning, the Constitutional Court concludes that the Law “On a Partial Amendment and Supplement to the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Elections to the Seimas” of 16 March 1993 is in compliance with Article 29 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania.

Conforming to Article 102 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania as well as Articles 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:

The Republic of Lithuania’s Law “On a Partial Amendment and Supplement to the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Elections to the Seimas” of 16 March 1993 does not contradict 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:

Algirdas Gailiūnas                           Kęstutis Lapinskas                           Zigmas Levickis

Vladas Pavilonis                              Pranas Vytautas Rasimavičius         Stasys Stačiokas

Teodora Staugaitienė                       Stasys Šedbaras                               Juozas Žilys