Court asks for constitutional ruling in Lithuania’s Labour Party state grant case

Lithuania's Labour Party
D.Lauručio nuotr.

The Administrative Court asked for the Constitutional Court’s clarification on the constitutionality of the existing law that does not provide for cases when a new political party is established (reorganized) on the basis of an existing one and continues receiving financial aid from the state budget.

The case was brought by the opposition Homeland Union party over state funding received by the Labour Party in the second half of 2013 when the party was given 1,771,000 litas (over EUR 0.5 million). The Homeland Union claims that the Labour Party had no right to receive state funding because it is a new party established after the old Labour Party merged with the Labourist Party. Since state funding for political parties depends on their performance in past elections – and the new party did not, strictly speaking, take part in any – it does not qualify for state funding.

Moreover, before the merger, the old Labour Party had been charged with accounting fraud. These charges were dropped on the basis that the party ceased to exist.

Vilnius Regional Court upheld the Homeland Union’s view and said the new Labour Party had received state funding unlawfully. The Labour Party later appealed to the Supreme Administrative Court.

Without the final court ruling, the Labour Party has so far received state grants twice – in April and October – and was paid 1.7 million litas each time.

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