Movement for constitutional reform gains momentum

  • 2010-04-20
  • Oskars Magone

The social liberals are heading the initiative to give the president the power to call early elections.

VILNIUS - A movement that would give the president the ability to directly dissolve parliament is gaining momentum in Lithuania, having nwo secured two-thirds of the signatures needed to force a referendum.

The referendum would be on a bill giving the president the ability to dissolve Seimas (Lithuanian parliament) and call early elections as long as there is popular support for the move.

The Baltic News Service reported that some 200,000 of the necessary 300,000 signatures have been gathered so far. The deadline to deliver the signatures to the Central Electoral Commission is April 26.

The initiative is being spearheaded by the Social Democratic Party also known as New Union. The party suffered a major setback during the previous elections in 2008, when its representation was slashed from 11 parliamentarians to just one. The party was consequentially pushed into the opposition, losing the environment ministry portfolio.

Early elections may currently onyl be called if parliament rejects the government program twice consecutively, or if the government itself decides to call early elections after losing the support of lawmakers.