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Lithuanian President calls on Parliament to amend Constitution regarding impeached politicians

Dalia Grybauskaitė
AFP/„Scanpix“ nuotr. / Dalia Grybauskaitė
Šaltinis: BNS

On Wednesday, the Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė signed amendments adopted by the parliament, lifting a life-long ban for impeached politicians to run for parliament. The president, however, called on lawmakers to also amend the Constitution.

The head of state believes the parliament should do that during the current parliamentary session.

The president has reminded that according to the Constitutional Court's decision of 10 January 2011, aimed at implementing the European Court of Human Rights' ruling, constitutional amendments have to be adopted.

The ECHR ruled last year that banning people removed from public office by impeachment to run for parliament indefinitely is a violation of the European Convention on Human Rights.

The president said the Lithuanian parliament had inadmissibly procrastinated the solution of this problem. But the belatedly adopted amendments were not enough, and it was only the first step towards removing human rights violations, the president said.

The government had proposed amending the Constitution to solve this problem, but the parliamentary Committee on Legal Affairs later said it was not necessary, and the parliament adopted the amendments to the Law on Elections to the Seimas on 22 March, allowing impeached individuals to run for parliament after four years.

The amendments opened the way for Rolandas Paksas, Lithuania's ex-president who was impeached and removed from office in 2004, to run for parliament. Paksas lost his presidential post after the Constitutional Court ruled that he had breached his oath and violated the Constitution by granting Lithuanian citizenship to a Russian businessman, Yuri Borisov, in exchange for his financial support during the presidential campaign. Paksas was also accused of tipping Borisov off that Lithuanian law enforcement institutions were carrying out an investigation into his activities.

Until then, the Law on Elections to the Seimas stipulated that a person who was removed from office by impeachment by the parliament or whose mandate was revoked by the parliament is banned from running for parliament indefinitely.

The law is being amended after the European Court of Human Rights ruled in January that Lithuania's decision to ban impeached officials from running for parliament indefinitely was disproportionate a measure.

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