J. Žilys: Despite the constitutional requirement to approve a new government as a whole, the political reality calls for a different solution

Pranešk apie klaidą

While the ruling coalition struggled to impress the President with their ministerial candidates, a proposition was raised, suggesting an approval of an incomplete government (missing one or several members). According to the former chairman of the Constitutional Court Juozas Žilys, the Lithuanian Constitution requires an approval of a full Cabinet of ministers, but the politicians have ignored this requirement in the past.

As Mr. Žilys explained to delfi.lt (reported by Saulius Černiauskas on 6 December), the Constitution contains a single clear imperative regarding the duration of a new government’s formation process: a new Ministerial Cabinet has to be approved in the period of 15 days after the approval of a Prime Minister.

“The only requirement outlined in the Constitution defines the time period allowed for the formation of a new government. The Constitution does not specify how the process should be conducted or what political debate should take place prior to the Presidential approval. There are no provisions regulating the communication between the President and the appointed Prime Minister; this is to be defined by the political process, political relationships and dialogues, which take place during the government formation”, commented the former chairman of the Constitutional Court.

Nevertheless, J. Žilys stressed that the Constitution requires approving the Cabinet of ministers as a whole: “another imperative is that the PM presents the President with a full list of ministers. Can there be an approval of an incomplete government? The Constitution suggests that the Cabinet of ministers is confirmed as a whole”.

Mr. Žilys also noted that such a practice (approving an incomplete government) would not be a novelty to the Lithuanian political scene.

„There have been some cases in the constitutional practice when an incomplete ministerial list was approved. Is this a normal practice? We can only look for an answer by way of logical reasoning. Most of those who set out to interpret this constitutional norm, state that it is possible. However, the constitution does not provide any specific information on how to proceed under such circumstances. An interpretation of the constitutional law suggests that a new government can be approved if the number of ministers in it is sufficient for the decision-making process; i.e. the appointed government can be a legitimate decision-making body”.

On Friday, The President approved the Cabinet in its incomplete composition.

Translated by Ieva Indriūnaitė

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