Democracy in Lithuania

1. What do you think of EU?
2. What is your democracy education like in your school?
3. How old do you have to be to vote?
4. Do a man and a woman make the same money for doing the same job?

A bit of information about democracy in Lithuania:

Classical liberals believe that liberty is man’s highest political end, and that religious faith, a free-market economy, and limited government are central to this goal.

1) Democracy – is nation’s power. Citizens take part in elections and elect representatives to our Seym.
2) Democracy is authority rising from society’s majority.
3) Democracy is an idea of State nation sovereignty.
4) Democracy is free democratic election.
5) Democracy is free enterprise’s business and private property.
6) Democracy is cultural and conscience freedom: you can choose religion, be interested in modern art, music, etc.
7) Democracy is non – governmental organizations activity. The whole support!
8) Democracy is nations minority’s questions solving in State.
9) Democracy is oppositions in parliament.
10) Democracy is multi – parties system.

The polity in our country is democracy. As in all democratic countries, sovereignty belongs to the whole nation.
And it is governed not directly. The citizens of Lithuania elect the parliament (it is called seimas) every 4th year. It consists of 141 members. Its main functions are:
1. To debate and pass resolution concerning corrections of the constitution
2. To legislate
3. To pass resolutions concerning referendum
4. To set the date of the president elections
5. To see to the work of the government
6. To appoint judges of the Constitutional Court…
7. To affirm the budget…
And so on…

An important role falls on the Outs which function is to estimate and to criticize the policy of the government and to present its proposals (It is also the feature of the democracy).
Seimas consists of representatives of various parties who nominated their candidacy in district elections. Every citizen has the right to vote for the well-liked candidates.

The government is in charge of the Executive Branch. It is formed by the Prime Minister and other ministers. Its functions are:
1. To concern about national affairs
2. To prepare the draft budget
3. To present the bills
4. To be in charge of the foreign policy

Lithuanian citizens, basing on the universal suffrage, elect the president. He is elected for 5 years and can be re-elected only once. Now our president is Valdas Adamkus, he spent half of his life in the USA.

All TV channels, newspapers, magazines in Lithuania are independent despite the fact they often criticize the power.
There was no trying of derogating from our free speech declared in the constitution.
(On the contrary to Russia or Byelorussia, where the content of programmes are strictly controlled). It can’t even be talks about such restrictions or something like that in our country. -here you can read quite different thoughts.

1. My point about EU is very positive. I think that Lithuania needs to be incorporated into such organisation as well as into the NATO. But, as any other thing our membership has another bad side. Lithuania will have to reform and adapt its agriculture, energetics, competitive ability will grow, some companies will bankrupt, though it is partially positive, while the country needs shake-up and renovation. Isolated countries in nowadays world are non-democratic and shabby Actually I am against the closing of Ignalina’s nuclear power station. But I think there are many positive aspects of membership: economical, judicial and political security, rise of economics and production, financial support, borderless travels and work.
Anyway there was a public referendum and 55% are for membership in EU, 15% against. Booklets and advertisements educate the society, including students.

2. Students passing to my school can directly feel what the democracy is. Since the establishment a democratic ambience is being created and every single student can feel himself as a member of a small democratic community. The rights of all members of community are claimed in Statute, which is based on the democratic laws in Lithuania and is arranged for the school community. While every student is habituated to life in democratic country so we live as in a small country. Every year general direct and free election to the self-government is being held in Lyceum. All students can run for Senators place and for President (except first-year students). Everyone has suffrage. During secret voting 12 Senators and a President represent the students, protect their rights and solves the problems in school. The highest government is Council, which consists of parents, teachers, Senators, President and School Director. The Council deals with prime topics. All students can complain and write suggestions to the Senate. Another institution that creates democracy in Lyceum is the newspaper. It is free and independent and a student can express his opinion on any topic. The newspaper is not censored.
Excluding these 2 institutions the school is very democratic. Every student respects rights and opinion of another, are tolerated and, what is most important I think, that student can arrange or participate in any concerts, shows or art-exhibits.

3. You must be 18 years old.

4. Officially men and women are equal in Lithuania – it is declared legally: on 25 May 1999 the Seimas (Parliament) of the Republic of Lithuania instituted the Office of the Equal Opportunities Ombudsman and passed the Regulations of the Office of the Equal Opportunities Ombudsman. Also there was a publicity compaign on equality of men and women. So that means that such institution was necessary. Anyway, I do not have figures on how many transgressions there were, but sometimes it is said that some preference is given to men when accepting to job.