Lithuanian government under pressure to redraw constituencies before next elections

DELFI / Mindaugas Ažušilis

The head of the Central Electoral Commission, Zenonas Vaigauskas, said constituencies could be redrawn as early as by the end of 2015.

“The constituency boundaries are already redrawn, the project is ready and it only needs to be approved. We only need to make a final agreement. I think it will not be difficult to do, because the project has already been discussed. Not everyone is happy with it, because it changes the current constituencies cardinally,” said Mr. Vaigauskas.

Two bills have been prepared. One of them is includes minimal measures, prepared for the upcoming general elections in 2016, while the other would radically redraw voting districts and is planned for the parliamentary elections in 2020. Both proposals have received harsh criticism in parliament, but according to Mr. Vaigauskas, after the Constitutional Court ruling, the more radical project is the one that will have to be adopted.

Vaigauskas has noted that after the Constitutional Court ruling the voting districts will have to be adjusted more often in reaction to the change in numbers of voters in constituencies.

Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevičius has said there is still time to adopt the project before the next parliamentary elections in 2016.

Leader of the Liberal Movement party Eligijus Masiulis has said the changes should be made as soon as possible. He has commented that “cities should really have more single-seat constituencies”.

The leader of the opposition, conservative Andrius Kubilius doubts whether adjustments in constituencies could be effectively carried out for the next elections. Mr. Kubilius said that “not only strict bureaucratic procedures, but also stability and tradition play a very important role in democracy. The number of voters should not be the main factor.”

Leader of the ruling Labour Party Valentinas Mazuronis has said that the disproportion of voters should be corrected, although with one year left before the elections, doing so now would be a hasty move.

Speaker of the Parliament Loreta Graužinienė is organising a meeting to discuss the issue on Wednesday. She says she doubts if it would be possible to implement the Constitutional Court ruling before the start of the election campaign in April 2016.

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