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Semi-Presidentialism in Europe$
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Robert Elgie

Print publication date: 1999

Print ISBN-13: 9780198293866

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0198293860.001.0001

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(p.150) 8 Lithuania
Semi-Presidentialism in Europe

Dainius Urbanavicius

Oxford University Press

The Republic of Lithuania is known as a semi‐presidential state, and while it has some basic similarities with other semi‐presidential states, this chapter looks at the main peculiarities of the regime and describes the status of presidential power. The first section explains the reasons why the citizens of Lithuania voted for a semi‐presidential regime, while those in the other two Baltic states (Latvia and Estonia), preferred to adopt a parliamentary form of government where the presidency has little constitutional power; some of the peculiarities of the Lithuanian political system are explained with particular reference to the historical background which had such an impact on the creation of the system. The second section defines the constitutional, or de jure, power of the Lithuanian presidency and clarifies its relationship with the de jure power of the Seimas, or parliament, and the government. The third section analyses the political ‘triangle’ of the president, parliament, and the government, and also presents the political realities of the last six years in Lithuania. The fourth section focuses on the personality of the president with an analysis of the period from 1993 to 1998, and the last section sets out the main conclusions of the chapter and provides a prognosis for the development of the future political system in the country.

Keywords:   constitution, government, Lithuania, parliament, parliamentary government, political systems, president, presidential power, Seimas, semi‐presidentialism

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