Lithuanian conservatives’ leader says he backs direct mayoral elections

  • 2021-04-19
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS – Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis, the chairman of the ruling Homeland Union–Lithuanian Christian Democrats, said on Monday that he backs direct mayoral elections, but a constitutional amendment will require support from parliamentarians from across the political spectrum. 

"I support the direct mayoral elections, as do my party and my colleagues," Landsbergis told reporters. 

"The situation must be dealt with by the Seimas and, first of all, through a clear consensus of the parties. The Seimas has a task group that analyzes electoral system issues. I think it's well suited to deal with this issue," he said.

The conservative Homeland Union's leader expects a broad consensus to be achieved in the Seimas before the issue comes up for a vote.   

"The majority of votes that we have isn't enough to pass such an amendment. This means that there must be a broad consensus among the political parties. I hope we’ll find it," he said.

The Constitution Court ruled earlier on Monday that mayors cannot be elected by direct popular vote unless the Constitution is amended. 

The court looked into the constitutionality of direct electoral elections at the request of 46 members of the previous parliament, mostly MPs of the Homeland Union. However, several liberal MPs and members of the Labor Party and the former Order and Justice Party signed the petition, too.

The MPs asked the court whether direct mayoral elections could have been introduced without amending the Constitution. 

A motion to change or supplement the Constitution may be tabled to the Seimas by a group of at least one-fourth of all MPs or by at least 300,000 voters.

A constitutional amendment must be voted on twice by the Seimas, with an interval of at least three months between the votes, and requires a two-thirds majority, or 94 votes, to be adopted.