THE CONSTITUTIONAL COURT OF                                    
                  THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA                                     
                                                                                
                                                                                
                          DECISION                                              
                                                                                
                                                                                
 On the compliance of Article 25 of Chapter 5 of  Part II of                    
 the Statute of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania with                    
       the  Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania                           
                                                                                
                 26  November 1993, Vilnius                                     
                                                                                
      The Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania,                    
composed  from  the  Justices of  the  Constitutional  Court                    
Algirdas  Gailiūnas,  Kęstutis Lapinskas,  Zigmas  Levickis,                    
Vladas   Pavilonis,  Pranas  Vytautas  Rasimavičius,  Stasys                    
Stačiokas, Teodora Staugaitienė, Stasys Šedbaras and  Juozas                    
Žilys,                                                                          
     the secretary of the hearing - Rolanda Stimbirytė,                         
      the petitioner - Andrius Kubilius,  representative  of                    
the group of  the members of the Seimas,                                        
      the  party concerned -  Juozas Bernatonis, the  Seimas                    
representative, deputy Chairman of the Seimas,                                  
      pursuant  to part 1 of Article 102 of the Constitution                    
of  the Republic of Lithuania and part 1 of Article 1 of Law                    
on  the Constitutional Court,  in its public hearing  of  25                    
November  1993 conducted the investigation  of Case  No  10,                    
subsequent  to  the petition submitted to the  Court  by   a                    
group of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania members  to                    
investigate  the conformity of Article 25 of  Chapter  5  of                    
Part  II  of  the Statute of the Seimas of the  Republic  of                    
Lithuania  with part 4 of Article 59 of the Constitution  of                    
the Republic of Lithuania.                                                      
                                                                                
     The Constitutional Court                                                   
                         established:                                           
                                                                                
      The Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania on 20 May 1993                    
adopted  Part  II  of   the statute of  the  Seimas  of  the                    
Republic  of  Lithuania called the Structure of  the  Seimas                    
(Parliamentary Record No 17, 28 May 1993, Act No 1-158).  It                    
is set forth in the first and the second parts of Article 25                    
of Chapter 5 "Parliamentary Groups" that: "Political parties                    
and  organizations and their coalitions whose  members  have                    
been elected to the Seimas from the same list of candidates,                    
and  the  members of the same parties and organizations  who                    
have been elected to the Seimas in one - candidate electoral                    
areas,  shall  form  one  factions.  Factions  may  not   be                    
established  on  the  basis of individual,  professional  or                    
internal  interests. A member of the Seimas may be a  member                    
of only one faction.                                                            
       Political   parties   and   political   organizations                    
represented by the Seimas members who were elected not  from                    
the  list  of  candidates may from a faction of  the  Seimas                    
members  who have been elected in one - candidate  electoral                    
areas,  provided such a  faction includes  at  least  one  -                    
fifteenth of all the members of the Seimas".                                    
     It is specified in the second part of Article 26 of the                    
same chapter that: "A faction must be registered within  one                    
week  provided it has submitted the decision of a  party  or                    
political organization to establish a faction or a political                    
declaration  signed by all members of such a faction  which,                    
besides the statute of the political group, must include the                    
commitment  to  act in compliance with the Constitution  and                    
laws of the Republic of Lithuania, seek the strengthening of                    
Lithuania's   independence,  and  defend   its   territorial                    
integrity".                                                                     
      The  petitioner  -  a group of the  Seimas  members  -                    
request  the Constitutional Court to recognize that  Article                    
25  of  Chapter 5 of Part II of the Statute contradicts  the                    
fourth  part  of  Article  59 of  the  Constitution  of  the                    
Republic  of  Lithuania which establishes that,  in  office,                    
Seimas members shall act in accordance with the Constitution                    
of the Republic of Lithuania, the interests of the state, as                    
well as their own consciences, and may not be restricted  by                    
any mandates.                                                                   
      The petitioner bases his request on the fact that  the                    
provisions set forth in Articles 25 and 26 of the Statute of                    
the  Seimas  that  establish  the  procedure  order  of  the                    
formation of factions, and commission all members of such  a                    
faction to sign a political declaration in which, along with                    
other   commitments,  would  be  a  commitment  to  act   in                    
compliance  with  the statute of the political  group,  make                    
Seimas members to comply with specific mandates. At the same                    
time,  Article 34 of the Law of the Republic of Lithuania on                    
Elections  to  the  Seimas provided for the  possibility  to                    
several  political parties or public political movements  to                    
join  lists  of candidates nominated by them but  not  their                    
programmes.                                                                     
      The petitioner's representative explained in the court                    
hearing  that the Constitution of the Republic of  Lithuania                    
shall  not recognize the imperative principle of the mandate                    
of  a Seimas member and establishes the democratic principle                    
-  i.e.  unrestricted   mandate of a  Seimas  member,  which                    
means, that a member of the Seimas is representative of  the                    
People and not of a party, ethnic community or social layer.                    
The petitioner's representative has also maintained that all                    
Seimas members are equal, irrespectively of the fact whether                    
they   are   elected  in  one-candidate  or  multi-candidate                    
electoral   area.   The  procedure  of   forming   factions,                    
established  in  Article 25 of the Statute  of  the  Seimas,                    
gives  the right of forming factions to parties or political                    
organizations, but not to members of the Seimas, as well  as                    
provides  for various possibilities for Seimas members,  who                    
have  been  elected in multi - candidate or one -  candidate                    
electoral  areas, to join into a faction. In the opinion  of                    
the  petitioner's  representative the  basis  for  political                    
grouping  in  the  Seimas  must be equal.  The  petitioner's                    
representative  has also explained that the  requirement  of                    
Article  26  for  the  Seimas members to  sign  a  political                    
declaration  as  well as the right of the  Seimas  Board  to                    
register  a political group or not, which is established  in                    
the  same  Article, is in direct connection with Article  25                    
These  provisions also violate the freedom of Seimas members                    
to  join into factions and to exercise the rights enumerated                    
in the Statute of the Seimas.                                                   
      During the preliminary investigation and in the  court                    
hearing, the representative of the party concerned explained                    
that, in his opinion, Articles 25 and 26 of Chapter of  Part                    
II  of  the  Statute  of the Seimas did not  contradict  the                    
Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and submitted  the                    
following arguments:                                                            
      1.  Upon  the enforcement of the Constitution  of  the                    
Republic of Lithuania, which does not provide for imperative                    
principle of the mandate of a Seimas member, and taking into                    
consideration   a  new  mixed  system  of  elections,    the                    
procedure of forming factions which had been established  in                    
the  Statute  of  the Supreme Council, was  amended  in  the                    
adopted Statute of the Seimas. The norms of Articles 25  and                    
26  of  Part  II of the Statute of the Seimas establish  the                    
nature  of  a  faction as a structural unit of  the  Seimas,                    
procedure  of  its formation, however, it does not  regulate                    
the right of the Seimas members to participate in factions.                     
      2. The petitioner in the request to the Constitutional                    
Court interprets the provisions of Articles 25 and 26 of the                    
Statute  of the Seimas leaving out of account the fact  that                    
the  Statute  of the Seimas is an integral act of  law.  The                    
submitted interpretation of said articles contradicts  other                    
norms  of the Statute of the Seimas. The rights and freedoms                    
of  a  Seimas  member are defined in the first part  of  the                    
Statute  of  the Seimas which determines the status  of  the                    
Seimas  member.  A constitutional norm specifying  that  "in                    
office,  Seimas  members shall act in  accordance  with  the                    
Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania, the interests  of                    
the  Sate, as well as their own consciences, and may not  be                    
restricted  by  any mandates" is established in  the  second                    
part of Article 3 of the Statute of the Seimas. This part of                    
the  Statute  of  the Seimas is already adopted  and  valid,                    
thus,  it  is obvious that Seimas members join into factions                    
in  the  procedure prescribed by Articles 25  and 26 of  the                    
Statute  of  the Seimas at their own free will  and  without                    
being restricted by any mandates.                                               
      3.  A provision specifying that "political parties and                    
organizations  shall  form factions of  Seimas  members  for                    
expressing   their  respective  political  views   and   for                    
implementing  their political programmes and goals"  is  set                    
forth in the first part of Article  92 of the Statute of the                    
Seimas.  This norm is an evident reflection of the political                    
nature    and   subject   (political  party   or   political                    
organization)  of factions, initiating their formation.  The                    
Statute of the Seimas does not provide for the necessity for                    
a  Seimas member to be in a faction. In accordance with  the                    
first  part  of Article 25 of Statute of the Seimas,  Seimas                    
members  may  form factions, but this is not  an  obligatory                    
requirement.  Seimas members may choose  factions  at  their                    
free will, without being restricted by any mandates which is                    
confirmed by the application of the norms of the Statute  of                    
the Seimas in practice.                                                         
      4.  Article 76 of the Constitution of the Republic  of                    
Lithuania  gives  the  Seimas the  right  to  determine  the                    
structure  of  the  Seimas,  freely  choose  and  adopt  any                    
procedure  of  forming  factions  in  compliance  with   the                    
Constitution.  The Seimas, by adopting one  way  of  forming                    
factions   from   all  possible  ones,  has  exercised   its                    
constitutional right.                                                           
      5. In the request of a group of the Seimas members, to                    
the  Constitutional Court, an argument that,  in  accordance                    
with Article 26 of the Statute of the Seimas, all members of                    
a  faction must sign a political declaration, which, besides                    
other   commitment, must include the commitment  to  act  in                    
compliance with the statute of the faction, does not fit  to                    
reality.  Article 26 of the Statute of the Seimas  does  not                    
hold  such  a commitment. The provision concerning political                    
declaration was transferred from the Statute of the  Supreme                    
Council  and  appended  by  the requirement  to  submit  the                    
decision  of a party or political organization in  order  to                    
establish  a faction. As, in accordance with Article  92  of                    
the   Statute   of   the  Seimas,  political   parties   and                    
organizations  shall  form  factions  of  the   Seimas   for                    
expressing   their  respective  political  views   and   for                    
implementing  their  political  programmes  and   goals,   a                    
political  declaration should reflect  if  political  views,                    
programmes and goals are in compliance with the Constitution                    
of  the Republic of Lithuania. Such a requirement may not be                    
interpreted  as  the  restriction of the  rights  of  Seimas                    
members.                                                                        
                                                                                
     The Constitutional Court                                                   
                         holds that:                                            
      It is established in the fourth part of Article 59  of                    
the  Constitution that, in office, Seimas members shall  act                    
in  accordance  with the Constitution of   the  Republic  of                    
Lithuania, the interests of the State, as well as their  own                    
consciences,  and  may not be restricted  by  any  mandates.                    
Thus,  the Constitution establishes an unrestricted  mandate                    
of   a  Seimas member and does not recognize any  imperative                    
mandate. The essence of an unrestricted mandate lies in  the                    
freedom of a People's representative to implement the rights                    
and duties vested in him without restricting this freedom by                    
any   mandates,  political  requirements  of   parties   and                    
organizations  that nominated them, and without  recognizing                    
the right to revoke a Seimas member.                                            
      Every  member of parliament represents all the People,                    
all members of parliament are representatives of the people.                    
While differentiating the rights of Seimas members in such a                    
way,  in fact, unequal possibilities for their participation                    
in   Seimas   activities  are  determined  and   substantial                    
principle  of  representative  institution  -  equality   of                    
members of parliament - is violated, therefore, there are no                    
possibilities  to represent the whole People in  the  Seimas                    
and to express the People's interests.                                          
      The principles of equality of members of parliament as                    
well  as  unrestricted mandate must  also  be  kept  in  the                    
formation  of  internal structures of the Parliament.  As  a                    
rule,  structures  of two types are formed  in  parliaments:                    
committees  (or commissions) and factions (or  parliamentary                    
groups).  The former structures are formed on the  basis  of                    
specialization principle of parliamentary activities,  which                    
ensures   due  professional   preparation  of   issues   and                    
parliamentary  hearing on these issues.  Structures  of  the                    
second  group  help  to realize political  orientations  and                    
goals of members of parliament (not necessarily on the basis                    
of  their party - membership) as well as to ensure organized                    
relation of parliamentary groups with political parties  and                    
organizations represented in the parliament.                                    
      In  determining internal structure of  the  parliament                    
universal principles of its formation must be chosen,  which                    
would ensure equal and real possibilities for all members of                    
parliament   to   participate  in  the  formed   structures.                    
Otherwise,  not   all members of the Seimas would  have  the                    
possibility to exercise supplementary rights, set forth  for                    
structures,  and  this  would  mean  the  violation  of  the                    
principle   of  equality  of  all  members  of   parliament.                    
Factions  are  sub-units  of the Structure  of  the  Seimas,                    
therefore,  the  establishment of  the  procedure  of  their                    
formation, their rights and duties is the prerogative of the                    
parliament,  determined by its self  dependence  within  the                    
limits  of  the  Constitution. Though  factions  are  mostly                    
formed  on  the  basis  of  party - membership,  their  most                    
essential   destination is to ensure working -  capacity  of                    
the  parliament as well as its normal functioning. Therefore                    
, the statement of the first part of Article 25 of Chapter 5                    
of  Part  II of the Statute of the Seimas "political parties                    
and  organizations and their coalitions ... shall form  ....                    
faction"  must be interpreted  as groundless (wordings  with                    
similar  content  can be found in the second  part  of  this                    
article as well as in Articles 9, 92, 26, of the Statute  of                    
the Seimas. Parliamentary factions are formed by members  of                    
parliament on the basis of the procedure of their  formation                    
prescribed  by the parliament (most frequently in accordance                    
with  views  and  political goals),  but  not  by  political                    
parties,  political  organizations or  their  coalitions  as                    
prescribed by the first part of Article 25 of the Statute of                    
the  Seimas.  Though  factions are in  close  relation  with                    
political parties, it does not mean, however, that a faction                    
is a political party in the Seimas, and, in turn, that every                    
party  having its representatives in the Seimas is a faction                    
at  the  same  time.  Such a conclusion  must  be  drawn  in                    
accordance  with  the  principle  of  unrestricted   mandate                    
established in the Constitution.                                                
      Rights  and  duties  of  Seimas  members  may  not  be                    
associated  with  laws  on  election.  Firstly,  these   are                    
different subject matters of legal regulation (in the  first                    
case  -  elections,  in the second one - activities  of  the                    
parliament)  -  secondly, the subject matter  of  regulation                    
calls forth different criteria, on the basis of which rights                    
and   duties   of   participants  of  legal  relations   are                    
determined.                                                                     
      In  determining  the  procedure of  the  formation  of                    
factions, the total number of deputies, the nature of rights                    
and  duties  of  factions established in  the  Statute,  the                    
necessity  to  guarantee  equal  possibilities  for  all  to                    
express  views  and political goals, the  principle  of  the                    
minority's  defence, minimal requirements for protection  of                    
parliamentary    opposition,   should    be    taken    into                    
consideration.   Furthermore,  in  cases  of   forming   the                    
governing body of the parliament, when committees are set up                    
and  their  heads are appointed, means are distributed,  and                    
other  parliamentary functions are realized, the cases  when                    
minor  political  groups find themselves in better  position                    
than major ones, should be prevented. However, when applying                    
the said criteria, the principle of unrestricted mandate  of                    
a  parliament member may not be violated. A decision of  the                    
parliament,  in  accordance  with  which  deputy  rights  to                    
participate  in  parliamentary process  are  differentiated,                    
violates the rights of a deputy as  People's representative.                    
      The  procedure  of forming factions is established  in                    
Article  25  of Chapter 5 of Part II of the Statute  of  the                    
Seimas.  In  accordance  with  the  rules  of  formation  of                    
factions, set forth in this Article, Seimas members  are  in                    
essence divided into the following three groups:                                
       1)   members  of  political  parties  and   political                    
organizations  as  well as their coalitions  who  have  been                    
elected to the Seimas from the same list of candidates;                         
      2)  members of the said parties and organizations  who                    
have been elected to the Seimas in one - candidate electoral                    
areas;                                                                          
       3)   members  of  political  parties  and   political                    
organizations who have been elected to the Seimas  not  from                    
the  list  of  candidates but in one -  candidate  electoral                    
areas.                                                                          
      In conformity with aforesaid Article of the Statute of                    
the  Seimas, Seimas members from different groups  shall  be                    
joined  into factions following different principles. Seimas                    
members  from the first group are joined into factions  from                    
the  same list of candidates. Seimas members from the second                    
group  may join only into the faction of the Seimas  members                    
of  the  first group. Seimas member of the third  group  may                    
form  a  faction  following  the  party  and  organizational                    
principle, i.e. in the event when such a group comprises not                    
less than one - fifteenth of Seimas members.                                    
      On  the  basis  of  principles  of  forming  factions,                    
established in the above mentioned Article of the Statute of                    
the Seimas, the conclusion must be drawn that Seimas members                    
may  form factions under different unequal conditions,  i.e.                    
they  are  not  given  the right to act in  accordance  with                    
uniform  criteria. Thus, the principle of  equality  of  all                    
Seimas   members   as  well  as  the  principle   of   equal                    
representation  is  violated.  Hence,  the  requirement  for                    
members  of  a faction to sign a political declaration,  set                    
forth in Article 26 of the Statute of the Seimas. Under  the                    
said  procedure of forming factions, Seimas members  do  not                    
have equal rights in choosing whether to sign one or another                    
political declaration. Finally, the very requirement to sign                    
a  political  declaration, is not  in  conformity  with  the                    
principle  of  unrestricted  mandate.  Such  a  requirement,                    
especially its part dealing with the commitment "to  act  in                    
compliance with the Constitution and laws of the Republic of                    
Lithuania,    seek   the   strengthening   of    Lithuania's                    
independence,  and  defend its territorial  integrity",  has                    
lost legal relevance it possessed after the establishment of                    
an  oath  for  Seimas  members in the  Constitution  of  the                    
Republic of Lithuania and the Law "On the Procedure  of  the                    
Enforcement   of  the  Constitution  of  the   Republic   of                    
Lithuania".                                                                     
      The  freedom of members of parliament ensured  by  the                    
principle  of unrestricted mandate, which is established  in                    
Article 59 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania,                    
is   in   essence  restricted  by  the  procedure   of   the                    
registration  of factions, set forth in Article  26  of  the                    
Statute  of  the  Seimas, providing  for  the  necessity  of                    
special   decisions  of  political  parties  and   political                    
organizations  in  this  procedure,   as  well  as  indirect                    
legislative procedure of registration, carried  out  by  the                    
Seimas Board.                                                                   
      The  equality  of Seimas members in the  formation  of                    
factions in accordance with views and political goals  is  a                    
relevant  element of the implementation of the principle  of                    
unrestricted  mandate.  As  a  faction  (i.e.   members   of                    
parliament  are registered in it) has more possibilities  to                    
participate  in  the  activities of the  parliament  than  a                    
Seimas  member  not adhering to any faction, there  must  be                    
ensured  the  possibility for all Seimas members  to  freely                    
choose  and  form  factions. Seeking  to  ensure  working  -                    
capacity  and  efficiency  of  Seimas  activities,   it   is                    
essential  to  determine a minimum number of  members  of  a                    
faction.                                                                        
      The rights and possibilities of Seimas members who  do                    
not  register themselves into factions, equal with those  of                    
other Seimas members and allowing to implement the rights of                    
People's  representative, may be ensured by recognizing  the                    
fact  that they are members of a mixed faction (group),  and                    
maintaining  that  such a faction (group) has  equal  rights                    
with other factions.                                                            
       On   the  basis  of  the  aforesaid  arguments,   the                    
Constitutional   Court  draws  the  conclusion,   that   the                    
procedure of forming factions, established in Article 25 and                    
26  of  Chapter 5 of Part II of the Statute of  the  Seimas,                    
does  not  provide for the criteria and possibilities  equal                    
for  all Seimas members to form factions in accordance  with                    
views   and   political  goals,  therefore,  this  procedure                    
contradicts the fourth part of Article 59 of Constitution of                    
the Republic of Lithuania.                                                      
      Conforming to Article 102 of the Constitution  of  the                    
Republic of Lithuania as well as Articles 53, 54, 55 and  56                    
of   the   Law   of  the  Republic  of  Lithuania   on   the                    
Constitutional  Court,  the  Constitutional  Court  of   the                    
Republic    of    Lithuania   has   taken   the    following                    
decision:                                                                       
      to  recognize that Articles 25 and 26 of Chapter 5  of                    
Part  II  of  the  Statute  of  the  Republic  of  Lithuania                    
contradict the fourth part of Article 59 of the Republic  of                    
Lithuania.                                                                      
                                                                                
      This  Constitutional Court decision is final  and  not                    
subject to appeal.                                                              
      The  decision is promulgated on behalf of the Republic                    
of Lithuania.                                                                   
                                                                                
     Justices of the Constitutional Court:                                      
                                                                                
Algirdas Gailiūnas                Kęstutis Lapinskas                            
                                                                                
Zigmas Levickis                   Vladas Pavilonis                              
                                                                                
Pranas Vytautas Rasimavičius      Stasys Stačiokas                              
                                                                                
Teodora Staugaitienė              Stasys Šedbaras                               
                                                                                
Juozas Žilys