“Once the number of seats in the parliament is reduced, it will require fewer votes to pass further constitutional amendments or controversial laws. Thus, citizens will be represented in an even worse way,” they said in an open letter.
The public figures warn that amending the Constitution according to politicians’ whims poses a threat to Lithuania’s statehood, which is particularly dangerous in the current geopolitical situation.
“Frequent changes to the Constitution mean depreciation and devaluation of the state. This may destabilize Lithuania’s legal and political system, which ensures the protection of our civil rights and freedoms. Any reforming of the fundamental constitutional arrangements must be systematic, very well thought-out, discussed and properly reasoned,” the letter reads.
The letter is signed by Lithuania’s first post-independence leader Vytautas Landsbergis, historians Egidijus Aleksandravičius and Alfredas Bumblauskas, philosophers Vytautas Ališauskas and Alvydas Jokubaitis, poet Kornelijus Platelis, lawyers Vytautas Nekrošius and Vytautas Sinkevičius, economists Teodoras Medaiskis and Gitanas Nausėda, as well as prominent publicists and journalists.
The ruling Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Union (LFGU), the initiator of the amendment, cites the country’s declining population as the reason for slashing the number of seats in the parliament.
Lithuania currently has a population of 2.850 million, down from 3.7 million in 1992, when the Constitution was adopted.
Critics of the initiative say, however, that the decline in the population should not be the decisive argument as MPs also represent the interests of Lithuanian citizens living abroad.
A constitutional amendment must be debated and voted on twice by the Seimas, with an interval of at least three months between the votes, and requires a two-thirds majority, or 94 votes, to be adopted.