The Seimas of Lithuania on Thursday gave its initial backing to a new constitutional amendment on running for parliament after impeachment after 73 lawmakers voted in favor, there were no votes against or abstentions.
Parliament OKs amendment on running for Seimas 10 years after impeachment
© DELFI / Josvydas Elinskas

The bill will now go to the parliamentary Committee on Legal Affairs for further consideration and will come back to the main hall during the fall session.

The proposed amendment to Article 74 of the Constitution, which would pave the way for a person impeached and removed from office to stand for election no sooner than ten years after impeachment, is being tabled in order to implement the judgment adopted by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in the case brought against Lithuania by ex-president Rolandas Paksas, who was ousted through impeachment in 2004.

The constitutional amendment was registered by 48 lawmakers representing both the ruling and opposition political groups, including Seimas Speaker Viktorija Cmilyte-Nielsen and Raimundas Lopata, a Liberal MP and chairman of the parliamentary Committee for the Future.

The ECHR ruled back in 2011 that the current lifetime ban for Paksas to stand as a candidate in general elections following removal from office through impeachment was disproportionate and ran counter to the European Convention on Human Rights.

With Lithuania failing to make constitutional changes to pave the way for Paksas to stand for election, the Council of Europe's Committee of Ministers, which supervises the execution of the ECHR's judgments, applied the so-called enhanced supervision procedure to Lithuania.

Paksas was ousted through impeachment in April 2004, after the Lithuanian Constitutional Court ruled that he had grossly violated the Constitution and his oath of office by granting Lithuanian citizenship to Yuri Borisov, the main financial supporter of his presidential election campaign.

The Constitutional Court later clarified that a person removed from office through impeachment cannot hold any office requiring a constitutional oath for life, and to change this provision, the country's Constitutional must be amended.

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