Development of the Local Government in Lithuania from 1990 to 2010

Algirdas Astrauskas

Abstract


The article reveals important aspects of current situation of local government and its development over 20 years (from 1990 to 2010): development and changes of the administrative division over past 20 years, the importance and place of the local government in the system of public government, as well as nature of relations between local government and state authorities over past 10 years. The article also deals with local government legal regulation and its changes over past 20 years and reveals the definition of local self-government and its basic changes.
From 2000 there are functioning just 60 municipalities (lower administrative unit of the territory of the State with the guaranteed right to self-government) in Lithuania and in the 2/3 of them lives from 10 to 50 thousands of citizens. This situation is estimated positively in terms of financial capacity but it reduces the capacity of local democracy as well. Despite all the efforts, the reform of administrative division is not completed and the aims of the first and the second stages of the reform are not reached.
The article propose that over past 20 years of the state independence, Lithuania managed to transform the centralized system of state government to decentralized and deconcentrated system of public government. Public government consists of state government and local government – the sub-system of public administration, which is functioning independently and not directly subordinated to state government.
Lithuania as continental legal system country, has created local government legislation in accordance with necessary requirements: Lithuania has constitutional basics of local government, the right to self-government is guaranteed by the Constitution, The European Charter of Local Government was signed in 1996 and ratified in 1999 without reservations, all basic provisions of local government are regulated in the Law on Local Government.
Despite all those achievements the system of local government in Lithuania contains some weaknesses: the reform of administrative division and autonomy of local authorities is not completed, the system of local government is single-stage that refers to low degree of political decentralization in Lithuania, as well as competition of basic definitions (for example - municipality) in various legal acts

Keywords


administrative-territorial unit; municipality; local authority; local government; legal regulation of local government

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