Lithuanian MPs start debate on Constitutional Court petition over Istanbul Convention

  • 2023-07-04
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS – The Seimas on Tuesday started debating a proposal by Cmilyte-Nielsen, speaker of the Lithuanian parliament, to ask for the Constitutional Court's opinion on whether the Istanbul Convention is in line with the country's fundamental law. 

The respective draft resolution passed the first reading in the parliament with 55 votes in favor, two against and four abstentions. 

However, the parliament's spring session is closing on Tuesday, meaning that it will hold its final vote on the resolution in the fall session.

Cmilyte-Nielsen described the Constitutional Court as "an impartial arbiter that can assess and answer at least some of the fears or arguments that opponents of the Convention have".  

Under the draft resolution, the Constitutional Court would be asked whether the Istanbul Convention's norms on social gender, gender-based violence against women and the inclusion of information on non-stereotypical gender roles into the official education curriculum, among other things, are in line with the Lithuanian Constitution.

The draft resolution has also been signed by Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte, Eugenijus Gentvilas, head of the Liberal Movement political group in the Seimas, Vytautas Mitalas, head of the Freedom Party group, Orinta Leipute, head of the Lithuanian Social Democratic Party group, and Radvile Morkunaite-Mikuleniene, head of the Homeland Union- Lithuanian Christian Democrats group.

Lithuania signed the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence back on June 7, 2013, but the Seimas has not yet ratified it.

The process has been stalled as politicians disagree on some of the document's provisions.

Experts from the Council of Europe say Lithuania could benefit from recommendations on curbing domestic violence. The Catholic Church and some politicians, however, argue that the Convention may require Lithuania to change its concept of gender and introduce unacceptable attitudes towards homosexuality.