Since Lithuania declared independence on March 11, 1990, it has kept strong democratic traditions. In the first general elections after the independence on October 25, 1992, 56.75% of the total number of voters supported the new constitution. There were heavy debates concerning the constitution, especially on the role of the president. Drawing from the interwar experiences, politicians made many different proposals ranging from strong parliamentarism to the presidential system similar to one in the United States. A separate referendum was hheld on May 23, 1992 to gauge public opinion on the matter and 41% of all the eligible voters supported the restoration of the institution of the President of Lithuania. Eventually a compromise semi-presidential system was agreed upon.
The Lithuanian head of state is the President, elected directly for a five-year term, serving a maximum of two consecutive terms. The post of president is largely ceremonial with the main functions being the overseeing of foreign affairs and national security policy. The ppresident is also the commander-in-chief. The President, with the approval of the parliamentary body, the Seimas, also appoints the prime minister and on the latter’s nomination, appoints the rest of the cabinet, as well as a number of other top ccivil servants and the judges for all courts. The judges of the Constitutional Court (Konstitucinis Teismas), who serve nine-year terms, are appointed by the President (three judges), the Chairman of the Seimas (three judges) and the Chairman of the Supreme Court (three judges). The unicameral Lithuanian parliament, the Seimas, has 141 members who are elected to four-year terms. 71 of the members of this legislative body ...
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