Lithuanian parliament moves to amend Constitution to allow Paksas to run for office

Rolandas Paksas
DELFI / Kiril Čachovskij

Under the draft amendment registered at the Seimas secretariat: “Persons who have committed a gross violation of the Constitution or breach of oath and who have been removed from office and lost their mandate by way of parliamentary impeachment cannot become members of the Seimas for 10 years after the removal or loss of mandate.”

The current version of the Constitution suggests that any citizen of Lithuania eligible to run for parliament can also be a candidate for president.

Among those who supported the amendment are representatives of all political groups, except for the opposition conservatives.

Authors of the amendment maintain their aim is to implement the ruling of the European Court of Human Rights in connection to Paksas’ rights.

Paksas cannot run for president and Seimas since he was removed from president in 2004. The Constitutional Court has said that a person removed from post by way of impeachment cannot hold a post involving a Constitutional oath for the rest of his life. To change the provision, Lithuania would have to amend the Constitution.

Three years ago, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that the current life-long ban for Paksas from running for office is disproportional.

The parliament had started to consider Constitutional amendments on running for office after impeachment, however, the final vote is yet to take place. The current parliament is short of votes to revise the country’s constitution on the matter. Changing the Constitution would require votes of at least 94 of Lithuania’s 141 MPs.

In April 2004, Paksas was removed from the President’s Office by way of impeachment. The Constitutional Court found him guilty of violating his oath of office and the Constitution by granting the Lithuanian citizenship to his sponsor Yuriy Borisov. In May of that year, the parliament adopted a change to the election law, stipulating a life-long ban for persons who have violated a Constitutional oath from any position that requires taking such oath.

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