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Ex-president of Lithuania's Constitutional Court suggests punishing non-voters

Juozas Žilys
BFL/Tomo Lukšio nuotr. / Juozas Žilys
Šaltinis: BNS
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Former President of Lithuania's Constitutional Court, Juozas Žilys, says Lithuania should introduce compulsory voting in Seimas elections, and social services or benefits to non-voters should be restricted.

The lawyer, who presided over the Constitutional Court in 1993-1999, said on Wednesday that the Lithuanian society has weak morals, and a minority can decide the fate of the whole country.

"As regards compulsory voting, certain elements of compulsory voting should be present in the form of restrictions on certain social services and payments. As now there's a risk that a minority of the population can determine our fate for us, let alone the fact that drunk people show disrespect for others. Our society's political morals are very weak and they need to be changed as soon as possible," Žilys told a conference at Vilnius University's Faculty of Law on Wednesday.

Meanwhile Egidijus Kūris, president of the Constitutional Court of 2002-2008, said the compulsory voting idea might be considered but, he warned, its implementation would be difficult.

"The obligation to take part in elections might be considered but I am skeptical about the introduction of a public obligation as we have no institutional opportunities to control all non-voters. If 10 percent of eligible voters – around 200,000 people – did not come to vote, then none of our institutions would have human resources to apply some kind of sanctions to all of those people," Kūris said.

Compulsory voting is currently in place in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, and Luxembourg.

BNS
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