The executive branch acts against the legislature in Lithuania
As it appears, Lithuania expects major changes in the near future. Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius was on an official visit to the United States from February 2024, 2017. During the visit, he said that Lithuania seeks the permanent presence of United States troops in its territory.
“We have requested stationing of military forces in our country on a more permanent basis - not only rotational but also more permanent,” the minister told BNS in a telephone interview from Washington D.C.
Linas Linkevicius’ call for the permanent presence of United States troops in Lithuanian territory can be regarded as forthcoming constitutional changes. The matter is under Articles 137 of the Lithuanian Constitution (http:// konstitucija.lt/lt/ konstitucija/137-straipsnis/): there may not be any weapons of mass destruction and foreign military bases in the territory of the Republic of Lithuania.
The unlikely words of the Lithuanian highranking official demonstrate only his personal point of view. It is also improbable, that he asked for permanent foreign military presence in the country without coordination with the President and the Government.
But do they have the right to act against the Constitution? As it is well-known, the Government is only the executive branch, and may not violate the Constitution and decide for the Lithuanian people. Moreso, locals are not happy at all about the presence of foreign soldiers, who often behave without any respect to citizens.
Such issues, as foreign troops’ deployment on a permanent basis, is at least an issue for public discussion and then the amendments to the Constitution should be adopted by Seimas. The third step is new law execution by the Government and people.
Under another article of the Constitution (Article 25), the citizen shall have the right to receive, according to the procedure established by law, any information concerning him that is held by State institutions. The Minister of Foreign affairs also violated the Lithuanians’ right of receiving information. It seems as if the decision had been made before Linkevičius announced the request in the US. Lithuanians learnt about it only from media resources ex post facto.
If Mr. Linkevičius was authorized by the Government to seek the permanent presence of United States troops in the territory of Lithuania, it means that national authorities do not respect the citizens of their country and omnipotent.
It is clear that if such an agreement between the United States and Lithuania is signed, it will for sure cause a negative reaction from Moscow, and will lead to even greater confrontation. This issue is even more than questionable, because it may cause two basically different consequences. On one hand, it can be the indicator of NATO’S strong capability to defend its members, on the other - it can force Russia to further increase its military strength. It is the so-called vicious cycle. A chain of events in which the Russian response to Lithuania can aggravate the existing threat feel of open confrontation.
Defence and security are obviously the main tasks of Lithuanian politics, but law is law, not empty words. Obeying the law, and respecting the rights guaranteed by the Constitution, are the main responsibilities of the Lithuanian Legislative Branch. I do not want Lithuania to go down in history as the country that provoked a war, due to lack of political wisdom.
Adomas Abromaitis is a Lithuanian-born political scientist living in the United Kingdom. A former teacher, he mostly writes about his home country in specialised publications.