The ex­ec­u­tive branch acts against the leg­is­la­ture in Lithua­nia

The Baltic Times - - BALTIC NEWS -

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.

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