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On the Seimas Resolution on the Formation of the Central Electoral Commission

Case No. 14/93

THE CONSTITUTIONAL COURT OF
THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA

R U L I N G

On the compliance of the Resolution of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania “On the Formation of the Central Electoral Commission” of 25 March 1993 with the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania

7 July 1994, Vilnius

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

The court reporter—Rolanda Stimbirytė

Seimas member Andrius Kubilius, acting as the representative of a group of members of the Seimas, the petitioner

Seimas Deputy Speaker Juozas Bernatonis, 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 the Law on the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania, in its public court hearing, on 5 July 1994, considered case No. 14/93 subsequent to the petition submitted to the Court by a group of the Seimas members requesting an investigation into whether the Resolution of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania “On the Formation of the Central Electoral Commission” of 25 March 1993 is in compliance with the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania.

The Constitutional Court

has established:

On 25 March 1993, the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania passed the Resolution “On the Formation of the Central Electoral Commission” (Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 1993, No. 11-269). The Seimas in Item 3 of said resolution specified that the newly formed Central Electoral Commission had to carry out the activities and resolve the issues left by the previous Central Electoral Commission.

A group of members of the Seimas, the petitioner, requests an investigation into whether the Seimas Resolution “On the Formation of the Central Electoral Commission” is in conformity with Item 13 of Article 67 of the Constitution.

In the request the petitioner has specified that Item 13 of Article 67 of the Constitution establishes that the Seimas is entitled to the right only to form the Central Electoral Commission and change its composition. Article 5 of the Constitution runs that “the scope of powers of the State shall be defined by the Constitution”, which means that the Seimas has no power to commission the Central Electoral Commission in any way.

In the Court hearing the petitioner’s representative emphasised that the Seimas under Item 3 of the impugned resolution had obligated the Central Electoral Commission to meet the requirements set forth in the Law on Elections to the Seimas. After the Central Electoral Commission had complied with such a requirement, the powers of three members of the Seimas were unlawfully terminated. However, the Law on Elections to the Seimas did not entitle the Commission to the right to terminate the powers of the Seimas members. The Central Electoral Commission, while terminating the powers of the three members of the Seimas, relied on the imperative item of the impugned resolution of the Seimas, but the said item is in conflict with the Constitution.

In the opinion of the representative of the party concerned, the Seimas, while adopting the impugned resolution, implemented the provision of Item 13 of Article 67 of the Constitution that the Seimas had the right to form the Central Electoral Commission and change its composition. Taking into consideration that new principles of the formation of the Central Electoral Commission have been set forth in the Law “On a Partial Amendment and Supplement to the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Elections to the Seimas”, the Seimas by Item 1 of said resolution terminated the activities of the Central Electoral Commission then operating, because its composition did not conform to the provisions of the Law on Elections to the Seimas. The Seimas under Item 2 of said resolution formed a new Central Electoral Commission, conforming to the principles prescribed by the Law on Elections to the Seimas. The Seimas by Item 3 of said resolution did not obligate the Central Electoral Commission in any specific way, but only defined the continuity of the newly formed Central Electoral Commission with its predecessor, emphasising its duty to carry out the work and resolve the issues left by the former Central Electoral Commission.

On the basis of the above-mentioned arguments, the representative of the party concerned requests the Constitutional Court to recognise that the Seimas Resolution “On the Formation of the Central Electoral Commission” of 25 March 1993 is in conformity with the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania.

The Constitutional Court

holds that:

The Seimas’ prerogative to enact laws is established in Item 2 of Article 67 of the Constitution. The third paragraph of Article 55 of the Constitution prescribes: “The electoral procedure shall be established by law”. This means that the Seimas determines, by means of laws, the electoral procedure and the powers of institutions organising and conducting elections. Item 13 of Article 67 also entitles the Seimas to the right to form the Central Electoral Commission and change its composition. This provision also means that the prerogative of the Seimas to change the composition of the Central Electoral Commission is not defined by any criteria, although it is limited by appropriate provisions of the Law on Elections to the Seimas adopted by the Seimas itself (the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 30 June 1994).

An election to the Seimas was conducted prior to the enforcement of the Constitution, conforming to the Law on Elections to the Seimas passed by the Supreme Council on 9 July 1992. The election was organised and conducted by the Central Electoral Commission in accordance with said Law.

After the election, on 16 March 1993, the Seimas adopted the Law “On a Partial Amendment and Supplement to the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Elections to the Seimas”, under which the principles of the formation of the Central Electoral Commission have been amended. By way of implementing the Law on Elections to the Seimas, on 25 March 1993 the Seimas passed the Resolution “On the Formation of the Central Electoral Commission”, under Item 1 of which it terminated the activities of the Central Electoral Commission formed by the Supreme Council, and under Item 2 of which it formed a new Central Electoral Commission. Thus, the Seimas implemented its constitutional prerogative to form the Central Electoral Commission and change its composition. This does not contradict Item 13 of Article 67 of the Constitution.

The newly formed Central Electoral Commission must perform the functions established for the Central Electoral Commission in the Law on Elections to the Seimas, including the work left by the former Central Electoral Commission.

The legal analysis of the text of Item 3 of the impugned resolution of the Seimas allows one to maintain that it does not contain any newly established legal norms, any new obligations or tasks with regard to the Central Electoral Commission; it is only emphasised in said resolution that the duty of the newly formed Central Electoral Commission is to meet the requirements set forth in the Law on Elections to the Seimas. Such a provision of Item 3 of the impugned resolution may not be interpreted as exceeding of Seimas’ competence or violation of the right, vested in the Seimas according to Item 13 of Article 67 of the Constitution, to form the Central Electoral Commission and change its composition.

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:

To recognise that the Seimas Resolution “On the Formation of the Central Electoral Commission” of 25 March 1993 is consistent with 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