Executive Branch Acts against the Legislature in Lithuania
As it appears, Lithuania expects major changes in the near future. Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius was on an official visit to the United States of America from the 20th to the 24th of February 2017. During the visit, he said that Lithuania seeks the permanent presence of United States troops in its territory.
"We have requested stationing of military forces in our country on a more permanent basis - not only rotational but also more permanent," the minister told BNS in the telephone interview from Washington D.C.
Linas Linkevicius' call for a permanent presence of United States troops on Lithuania territory can be regarded as a forthcoming constitutional change. The matter is that under Article 137 of the Lithuanian Constitution (http://konstitucija.lt/lt/konstitucija/137-straipsnis/) there may not be any weapons of mass destruction or foreign military bases on the territory of the Republic of Lithuania.
The dubious words of this Lithuanian high ranking official demonstrate only his personal point of view. It is also improbable that he asked for permanent foreign military presence in the country without coordination with the President and the Government.
But do they have the right to act against the Constitution? As it is well known, the government is only the executive branch and cannot violate the Constitution and decide for Lithuanian people. Moreover,, locals are not happy at all about foreign soldiers who often behave without any respect for citizens.
Such issues as foreign troop deployments on a permanent basis are at least an issue of a public discussion, and then any amendments to the Constitution have to be adopted by the Seimas. The third step is new law execution by the government and people.
Under another article of the Constitution (Article 25), citizens shall have the right to receive, according to the procedure established by law, any information concerning him that is held by state institutions. The Minister of Foreign affairs also violates Lithuanians' right of receiving information. It seems as if the decision had been made before Linkevičius announced the request in the US. Lithuanians learned about it only from media resources after the fact.
If Mr. Linkevičius was authorized by the government to seek the permanent presence of United States troops on the territory of Lithuania, then this means that national authorities do not respect the citizens of their country and feel themselves omnipotent.
It is clear that if such an agreement between the United States and Lithuania is signed, it will for sure cause a negative reaction from Moscow, and will lead to even greater confrontation. This issue is even more than questionable, because it might cause two basically different consequences. On one hand, it can be an indicator of NATO’s strong capability of defend its members, on the other - it could force Russia to further increase its military strength. This is a vicious cycle, a chain of events in which the Russian response to Lithuania will aggravate the existing threat of open confrontation.
Defense and security are obviously the main tasks of Lithuanian politics, but the law is the law, not empty words. To obey the law and respect the rights guaranteed by the Constitution are the main responsibilities of the Lithuanian legislative branch. I do not want Lithuania to go down in history as the country that provoked a war due to lack of political wisdom.