EAPL-CFA: the oath of the Seimas Members and the formation of the present government may be illegal
‘It is possible, that the present government is formed illegally,’ said Valdemar Tomaševski, chairman of the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania – Christian Families Alliance (EAPL-CFA) and Member of the European Parliament during the press conference that was organised in the Seimas on 13th November. According to the politician, it is likely that 4 members from the new ruling majority swore unlawfully last Friday, because the Electoral Law to the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania and certain procedures for appealing against the election results in the Constitutional Court were violated. Moreover, the oath was taken by the President of the Constitutional Court Dainius Žalimas, who has no legitimacy and has been holding this office illegally since summer.
Criminal negligence of the Seimas Speaker?
Česlav Olševski, Member of the Seimas from EAPL-CFA, was critical about the decision of the Constitutional Court and about the failure to consider the parliament’s complaint regarding gross violations of the elections to the Seimas and the slanderous and unlawful information campaign directed against the party during the election period.
The Constitutional Court, covering itself with formalities, due to the failure of the Seimas to meet the statutory 72-hour (3-day) deadline for submitting an inquiry, decided to stay neutral when assessing a controversial situation that is unthinkable in a state of law.
Olševski underlined, that one of the most important people in Lithuania – Speaker of the Seimas Viktoras Pranckietis, who should be a guarantor of high standards of fair policy, did not perform his direct duties and violated the law by unilaterally deciding not to turn to the Constitutional Court in case of the EAPL-CGA complaint, in which the party questioned the election results.
‘Lithuania regained its independence 30 years ago. There is law and it is equal for everyone. And here we are – after 30 years of independence, the Speaker of the Seimas makes the decision himself and violates the law, although as one of the leaders of the state, he is obliged to ensure that the law is respected,’ said Olševski.
EAPL-CFA member also noted, that the party has submitted the complaint on time – just over 4 hours after the Central Electoral Commission officially announced the results of the parliamentary elections.
‘The Electoral Action of Poles turned to the President and the Seimas regarding the gross violations on 31st October at 20:19. These violations could have had an impact on the parliamentary elections results. The documents were sent by email. They were also sent by registered mail on the same day, at 21:36. The President received and read the letter, but the Speaker was unable to check his mailbox. It was his, as he himself said, day off,’ said Olševski.
According to the Art. 86 (6) of the Law on Elections to the Seimas: ‘Parties which have nominated candidates for Seimas member as well as candidates for Seimas member may appeal against the decisions of the Central Electoral Committee or against the refusal of the Central Electoral Commission to investigate complaints about the violations of the Law on Elections not later than within 24 hours after the announcement of the official final election results, to the Seimas or the President of the Republic. In such cases, the Seimas or President of the Republic shall, not later than within 48 hours, appeal to the Constitutional Court with the inquiry concerning the violation of the Law in Elections to the Seimas.’
‘EAPL-CFA did this quickly and on time. The letter was sent on 31th October at 20.19, just over 4 hours after the Central Electoral Commission officially announced the election results. However, the Speaker of the Seimas did not fulfill his duties and publicly provided misleading and false information,’ regretted Olševski.
Sabotage of the Seimas Speaker
According to Č. Olševski, the neglect of the Speaker should be considered as the sabotage of the EAPL-CFA complaint, which resulted in the party being deprived of its constitutional right to defence.
‘Another breach – the Speaker of the Seimas, instead of informing Members of the Seimas about the received complaint or complaints (because it is possible that there were more of them), instead of convening a Seimas meeting, decided that he was the Seimas and announced that he would not refer to the Constitutional Court. The party has asked a legitimate question and wanted to get an answer. However, someone decided to look for pretexts and ways to ignore this requirement enshrined in the law. What is one of the Lithuanian leaders afraid of?
And it was only on Tuesday, when all Seimas Members found out from the media that the Speaker of the Seimas decided himself what the whole Seimas should do. To add, after such a malicious delay we heard a lie that the party was allegedly late.
Dear Speaker of the Seimas, the inquiry was submitted on time. It was you who violated the law! Or maybe the word sabotage would be more appropriate here?’ the deputy publicly addressed the Head of the Seimas.
‘Is it how it should be in a parliamentary state?’
Olševski referred to the opinion of the constitutionalist, prof. Vytautas Sinkevičius, who stated that the Speaker of the Seimas did not have the right to individually decide not to turn to the Constitutional Court.
‘Finally, I would like to present the opinion of Vytautas Sinkevičius, professor of constitutional law, published on news portals. According to him, the Seimas Chairman Viktoras Pranckietis had no right to decide on his own not to appear before the Constitutional Court in the case of the EAPL-CFA complaint, in which the party challenged the election results of 2020.
According to the former judge of the Constitutional Court, the party’s complaint should be submitted to the entire Seimas for consideration. ‘I think that the speaker of the Seimas did not fulfil his obligations. The Seimas must consider this issue and decide whether or not to submit an application to the Constitutional Court. The chairman of the Seimas cannot say that the Seimas will not consider this issue,’ said Sinkevičius for BNS.
Therefore, Mr Pranckietis, do you have the right to violate the law and spread lies in the society? Shouldn’t we take into account your lies and omissions in the service of the state? Although it may be normal for you, let us remember what important events were cancelled last spring. The Board of the Seimas ‘took decisions’ at meetings that were not even held. Does the decision-making depend on only one person? Is it supposed to be this way in a parliamentary state?’ asked Česlav Olševski.
It is possible that four deputies took their oath illegally
Valdemar Tomaševski, Chairman of the EAPL-CFA, congratulated the deputies of the XIII legislature, who vowed last Friday on 13th November.
‘We express our best wishes to all the Members of the Seimas. Nevertheless, the proverbial spoonful of tar spoiled a barrel of honey. It is possible, that four members have sworn illegally today. We turned to the Constitutional Court for the redistribution of this number of seats,’ said Tomaševski during the press conference.
The politician referred to the decision of the Constitutional Court from 2012, when the court took away three members’ seats and awarded them to other selected candidates. ‘There is a case law and we have applied to the Constitutional Court to apply it. Unfortunately, the Constitutional Court did not even consider it and gave a formal reply that the Seimas did not submit the application within the required time limit,’ underlined Tomaševski.
EAPL-CFA leader has noted that the party has submitted the application to forward the complaint to the Constitutional Court on time. He regretted that the party’s application was sabotaged by the Speaker of the Seimas V. Pranckietis. ‘We had a case of sabotage in the Seimas. The Seimas, contrary to national regulations, did not start dealing with the application for 3 days. Meanwhile, the explanations of the Speaker of the Seimas and the board of the parliament were scandalous. Initially, he stated that he had a day off, although we know well that deputies do not even have annual leave, hence he was obliged to call an urgent meeting. Then, he refused to convene a meeting. It was not until 4th November that this question was put on the Seimas agenda,’ said Tomaševski and added, that there was still enough time to turn to the Constitutional Court.
‘Even then, it was possible to turn to the Constitutional Court, trying to prove that it was not too late. The application arrived to the Seimas via the mail on 3rd November, but the Speaker demonstratively stated that he would not be asking for this matter to be considered under extraordinary procedure. Meanwhile, for all citizens, not only lawyers, it is obvious that there is simply no other way to accept this inquiry within 48 hours,’ stressed the politician. He noted, that this way the Speaker of the Seimas has committed a gross violation of the Constitution and regulations, which may result in impeachment.
Tomaševski is convinced that even after the sabotage of V. Pranckietis, the Constitutional Court could make a decision in this matter, but it reacted to the problem simply formally.
‘It focused on some meaningless hours or something like that and didn’t even consider the complaint. This means that the Constitutional Court itself does not respect the Constitution,’ said Tomaševski and regretted that in this way a precedent, that could be harmful to citizens in the future, was created.
‘Every citizen can suffer because of this. If, for example, a person prepares a complaint to the court on time or wants to challenge any kind of a decision, and has all the necessary evidence that the documents have been submitted on time, yet the complaint does not reach court. Perhaps because of a disruption in a post office or sabotage – after all, everything can happen in life. This decision of the Constitutional Court to refuse to consider the complaint of EAPL-CFA was like opening a Pandora’s box. If, due to third parties or objective reasons, the complaint does not reach the court on time, the court may not consider it – even though the citizen has submitted the documents on time. The Constitutional Court created a very bad precedent,’ Tomaševski evaluated the situation.
‘Constitutional Court’s decision could have been arranged’
According to Tomaševski, this Constitutional Court decision could be arranged.
‘It turned out that the President of the Constitutional Court was talking to the Speaker of the Seimas before the deadline. The Speaker of the Seimas mentioned this during his conversation with deputies. Hence the question arose if the Speaker of the Seimas did not intentionally exercise the law, or maybe he consulted the President of the Constitutional Court? Has he been granted such a right or has he been offered something? Who can deny it? Apparently, the Constitutional Court did not want to consider the complaint of the parliamentary party and redistribute seats, but the violations during parliamentary elections were visible, blatant and had a decisive impact on the election results,’ underlined EAPL-CFA leader.
Tomaševski recalled, that EAPL-CFA needed only 0.2% to reach the 5% election threshold. Due to this extremely small difference, even minor violations, in his opinion, could have had a decisive impact on the election results. ‘Meanwhile, there were really gross violations of the regulations,’ assessed the politician.
He also stated that after the redistribution of four possibly illegal votes, it would be impossible to form a majority. ‘Hence the conclusion that the formation of the current government may be illegal,’ he said.
Even lawyers are intimidated
The politician said that he was surprised already at the stage of preparing the complaint.
‘We turned to several law companies. One of them openly stated – we do not want to participate in similar cases. Winning a lawlessness case pursued by people with access to television can only be obtained through access to television too. I was surprised by such an answer. Until now, I thought that we live in a state of law. Unfortunately, even lawyers are intimidated,’ continued Tomaševski and added that Lrytas has now launched a slanderous campaign against lawyers who helped the party in preparing the complaint.
Conference participants did not rule out that the present chaos and breaking the law were organized by the Constitutional Court President, who, according to the speakers, has no legitimacy, because his term of office expired six months ago. The conference organizers believe that the confusion and breaking the law during this year’s elections to the Seimas may be a continuation of the events from 2004.
‘I was a Member of the Seimas at that time and I was a witness to the impeachment of the President Rolandas Paksas. The Constitutional Court played the decisive role in the trial at that time. At the summit of the impeachment, the then head of the Constitutional Court, Egidijus Kūris, met with the impeachment initiator Gintaras Steponavičius in a cafe. Both would be removed from their posts with immediate effect in a democratic state and a state ruled by law. This is an unacceptable situation, however, eventually the removal of President R. Paksas as a result of impeachment took place with an advantage of one vote,’ recalled Tomaševski.
‘We love Lithuania more than some activists’
EAPL-CFA chairman regretted the opinion that the party or some of its individual representatives are considered as enemies of the state.
‘This is slander and a criminal act in some ways. EAPL-CFA did more for Lithuania than many of the newly formed parties. We love Lithuania more than individual activists who act dishonestly, brazenly break the law and thus compromise our country,’ underlined the chairman.
According to the party’s chairman, it is possible that the oaths taken on 13th November by Seimas Members may be illegal due to the fact that the Constitutional Court President, who was present during the ceremony, has no legitimacy and has illegally presided over the court since July.
‘Who can deny that he deliberately ignored our case, so that no more violations can be found and that finally there are fair elections in our country, which is what we are aiming for? People do not understand how it happened that the elections were won by those who were not supported by inhabitants, which was clearly indicated by all the polls. How could that have happened? Having in mind the cases of election rigging, the conclusion is that the elections may have been rigged,’ stated Tomaševski.
The speakers did not rule out sabotage and possible collusion between V. Pranckietis and the Constitutional Court President Dainius Žalimas, looking for a parallel with the conversation by G. Steponavičius and E. Kūris.
V. Pranckietis as a scapegoat?
Tomaševski asked individual members: ‘I am asking honest Seimas members to comment on the discussed topic. I appeal to their conscience. I would like to remind you that the power is not everything and do not let it blind you. The most important thing is that power is exercised in an honest manner and after fair elections. I think this is what everyone needs,’ said the leader of EAPL-CFA. ‘And the ruling majority, and those four deputies from the ruling majority who, possibly, sworn unlawfully because there was a breach of national law,’ he added.
The politician thinks that the parliament should clarify the situation with the Constitutional Court as soon as possible, because this court cannot be chaired by a person without a legitimacy. Tomaševski also proposed that the parliamentary commission should investigate whether the chairmen of the Seimas and the Constitutional Court cooperated. The chairman of EAPL-CFA does not exclude that V. Pranckietis has simply become a scapegoat.
‘Perhaps it is in D. Žalimas’s favour that V. Pranckietis brazenly breaks the law and becomes a scapegoat, that we talk only about V. Pranckietis, although it is obvious that the whole process is set by the Constitutional Court, that can take away seats from Seimas Members and appoint new ones without changing the law. Why was the Constitutional Court unable to accept the complaint? It could, but it simply needed such a scapegoat, so that we could forget the essence of the matter, and the chairman of the Constitutional Court, who cannot occupy this post since July, could stay in the shadow of all this scandalous issue,’ asked Tomaševski rhetorically.
EAPL-CFA asks for answers
We would like to remind, that EAPL-CFA turned to the Seimas on 26th October with a request to forward a complaint to the Constitutional Court, in which the party referred to gross violations of the Law on Elections to the Seimas. According to the existing regulations, the parliament is obliged to refer to the Constitutional Court. Unfortunately, the Speaker of the Seimas, V. Pranckietis, did not convene the Seimas regarding this matter on time.
EAPL-CFA asks for answers to the following questions and for appropriate decisions:
– Did the large-scale information campaign prepared for the elections to the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania, which took place on 11th October 2020, in the multi-member constituency, by Andrius Tapinas and Laisvės TV, violate the legal norms regulating the requirements for labelling advertising and political agitation, indicating the sources of their funding and clearly distinguishing them from other information disseminated during the election campaign ?
– Were the Art. 52 and Art. 53 of the Law on Elections to the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania, which prohibit publishing compromising materials within the time limits specified in the relevant legal norms without allowing a party and its candidates to express a retaliatory opinion, violated?
– Have democratic election procedures been violated in the single-member constituency of Panerių-Grigiškių, where numerous cases of violations during the counting of votes and during election campaigns have been detected; did the gross violations of the Law on Elections to the Seimas allowed the Central Electoral Commission in the Panerių-Grigiškių constituency to correctly identify the candidates who passed to the second round of elections in this single-member constituency?
– Did the large-scale information campaign conducted against EAPL-CFA, prepared by Andrius Tapinas and Laisvės TV, and the gross violations of the electoral law in the Panerių-Grigiškių constituency, have a significant impact on the elections to the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania?
Based on the ruling of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania ‘On the violations of the Law on Elections to the Seimas during the 2012 elections to the Seimas’ (case no. 15/2012 – 16/2012) we are requesting the annulment of the elections to the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania that took place on 11th October 2020 in the multi-member constituency and redistribution of the number of seats according to the lists of candidates.