Party regulation against the backdrop of anti-party sentiment : the case of Lithuania

Mokslo publikacijos / Scientific publications
Document Type:
Knygos dalis / Part of the book
Anglų kalba / English
Party regulation against the backdrop of anti-party sentiment: the case of Lithuania
In the Book:
Reikšminiai žodžiai: Lietuvos partijų sistema; Partijų reglamentavimas; Partijų reglamentavimas Lietuvoje; Partinė sistema; Politinė partija; Politinės partijos; Politinės partijos Lietuvoje; Postkomunistinis; Reguliavimas; Rinkimai; Elections; Lithuania; Lithuanian party system; Party regulation; Party regulation in Lithuania; Party system; Political parties; Political parties in Lithuania; Political party; Post communist; Regulation.
Politinės partijos / Political parties; Postkomunistinis; Reguliavimas; Rinkimai ir balsavimas / Electoral procedure and voting.
Summary / Abstract:

ENWhile political parties in Western Europe tend to be regarded as central feature of representative democracy, in Lithuania they are often treated as "social evil". Widespread anti-party sentiment in the population seems to be one of the driving forces of somewhat contradictory trends of party regulation in Lithuania: on one hand, it strives for party system institutionalization by strengthening control of party finances and increasing barriers to newcomers; on the other hand, it opens the arena of political competition for non-partisan actors. The paucity of constitutional regulation of political parties in Lithuania opened up the possibilities for flexible interpretation of the constitutional provisions and increased the role of the Constitutional Court in party regulation. In the Lithuanian Constitution, political parties are equated with any other voluntary association. Furthermore, the Constitution envisages the existence of other types of political organizations, although the concept of "political organization" so far has not defined in the law. The appearance of this concept in the Constitution might be linked to the late development of the party system and predominance of "Sąjūdis" authority at the time the Constitution was drafted. This historical legacy, however, generated unexpected consequences forcing to change the electoral rules thus undermining the power of political parties. While the extent of party regulation in the constitution and party law in Lithuania are one of the lowest in Europe, the regulation of party funding is one of the most severe. As in many other countries, political parties in Lithuania mainly live from states subsidies, as private donations are strictly limited. The state subsidies were increasing since 2004, despite of pervasive distrust in political parties among population.They are justified not on the grounds of the worthiness of parties but because of their fallibility. The Lithuanian case provides evidence on the significant impact of party regulation (mainly party funding regulation) on the stabilisation of the party system. Against the backdrop of adverse social conditions (high political distrust and low party identification), the political establishment finally managed to entrench against newcomers. The vote share of brand-new parties decreased from 40% in 2004 to 8% in 2012 and the vote share of old parties in 2012 reached the highest level since 1992. It might be attributed to the joined effect of increasing state subsidies, limiting private donations and strengthening control of party finances. [Extract, p. 232-233]

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2021-01-04 19:30:19
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