Executive power is exercised by the government, which is headed by the Prime Minister. Federal legislative power is vested in both the government and the unicameral Seimas (Lithuanian Parliament).
Judicial power is vested in judges appointed by the President of Lithuania and is independent of executive and legislature power.
The judiciary consists of the Constitutional Court, the Supreme Court, and the Court of Appeal as well as the separate administrative courts.
The Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania established these powers upon its approval on October 25, 1992.
Being a multi-party system, the government of Lithuania is not dominated by any single political party, rather it consists of numerous parties that must work with each other to form coalition governments.
Government in Lithuania is made up of three branches originally envisioned by enlightenment philosopher Baron de Montesquieu: executive, legislative, and judicial. Each branch is separate and is set up to do checks and balances on each other branch.
The executive branch of the Lithuanian government consists of a President, a Prime Minister, and the President's Council of Ministers. It is in charge of running the government.
The President of Lithuania is the head of state of the country, elected directly for a five-year term and can serve maximum of two terms consecutively.
The President, with the approval of the Seimas, is first responsible of appointing the Prime Minister. Upon the Prime Minister's nomination, the President also appoints, under the recommendation of the Prime Minister, the Council of Ministers (13 ministries), as well as a number of other top civil servants and the judges for all courts.
The President also serves as the commander-in-chief, oversees foreign and security policy, addresses political problems of foreign and domestic affairs, proclaims state of emergency, considers the laws adopted by the Seimas, and performs other duties specified in the Constitution.
President Valdas Adamkus has been the head-of-state since July 12, 2004, who followed interim President Artūras Paulauskas after former President Rolandas Paksas was impeached in April 2004 for leaking classified information.
Adamkus had previously served a term as Lithuanian President from 1998 to 2003, but lost to Paksas who also ran for President.
The Prime Minister of Lithuania is the head of government of the country, appointed by the President and approved by the Seimas.
The Prime Minister, within 15 days of being appointed, is responsible for choosing Ministers for the President to approve to each of the 13 Ministries.
In general, the Prime Minister is in charge of the affairs of the country, maintains homeland security, carries out laws and resolutions of the Seimas and decrees of the President, maintains diplomatic relations with foreign countries and international organizations, and performs other duties specified in the Constitution.
Council of Ministers
Similar to the cabinet of other nations, the Council of Ministers consists of 13 Ministers chosen by the Prime Minister and appointed by the President.
Each Minister is responsible for his or her own Ministry of the Lithuanian government and must give reports on his or her Ministry when directed to.
The different Lithuanian Ministries are listed below. When the Prime Minister resigns or dies, the position is to be filled as soon as possible and the new leader will appoint a new Government.
The parliament (Seimas) has 141 members that are elected for a 4-year term.
About half of the members are elected in single-member districts (71), and the other half (70) are elected in the nationwide vote using proportional representation by party lists.
A party must receive at least 5% of the national vote to be represented in the Seimas.
The judges of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania ("Lietuvos Respublikos Konstitucinis Teismas") for a single nine year term are appointed by the Seimas from the candidates presented by the President (three judges), Chairman of Seimas (three judges) and the chairman of the Supreme Court (three judges).
Since 1994, with modifications in 2000, Lithuania is subdivided into 10 counties (Lithuanian: plural - "apskritys", singular - "apskritis"), each named after their principal city (see: Counties of Lithuania).
Counties are then subdivided into 60 municipalities (Lithuanian: plural - "savivaldybės", singular - "savivaldybė"). Municipalities are further subdivided into over 500 elderships (Lithuanian: plural - "seniūnijos", singular - "seniūnija").
Counties are ruled by "apskrities viršininkas" (officially translated as "governor") who is appointed by the central government in Vilnius.
Their primary duty is to ensure that the municipalities obey the laws and constitution of Lithuania.
They do not have great powers vested in them. Municipality governments are elected in democratic elections of municipality councils held every 4 years.
Municipality mayors are elected by the municipality councils. Also, municipality councils appoint elders to be in charge of an eldership.