Prerequisites for Reforming Subnational Governance in Lithuania from the Perspectives of Politico-Administrative Dichotomy and Administrative Values

Mantas Bileišis, Jonas Petukauskas

Abstract


During the period since 1990 political discussions on issues concerning the organization of regional government and local self-rule have not been subsiding neither in Lithuanian parliament nor the broader public sphere. The object of these discussions has not only been the optimization of administration at the subnational level, but also dealt with issues connected to ethnographic identities of Lithuanian regions, constitutional regulation and the extent of the right to local self-rule. This article tries to take a broader look at the subject by trying to make sense of it through the application of the concept of politico-administrative dichotomy and its connection to administrative values prevalent among MPs. A semi-structured interview with the members of the parliamentary committee tasked with addressing issues of subnational governance has shown that the parliament despite its near omnipotence to regulate is reluctant to do so without the involvement of local communities which in turn lack resources to make an impact. We have discovered that there little or no a priori conceptualization about the division of functions between the administrative and executive branches of local self-rule and government at subnational level among MPs. Despite the political rhetoric surrounding local self-rule reforms and regional reform we have discovered that there is little political will to action, especially with regard to regionalization. Regional reform is understood as a drain on political capital whatever the outcome. On the main local self-rule question: direct election of mayors, there is broad agreement about the need for such reform, however no consensus even within political parties as to what powers should be given to mayors. Finally, on the subject of involving community in self governance all respondents agreed about its centrality to good governance on the local level. However, among the representatives of the ruling coalition this was countered by rhetoric more akin to New Public Management philosophy, while only one opposition force saw a role for parliament at regulating the involvement on NGOs and local community.

Keywords


Politico-administrative dichotomy; administrative values; subnational governance; local self-rule

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"Public Policy and Administration" ISSN online 2029-2872 / ISSN print 1648-2603