The Development of Legal Regulations in Lithuanian Party System in 1905–1919

Kristina Ivanauskaitė


The article discusses the formation of the first political organizations and creation of the first political parties in Lithuania. It focuses on the illegal social movements, political organizations and their legalization processes. The author examines the main feature of regulation of political parties at the beginning of the 20th century, the way and legal procedures of establishing political parties, the formations of political parties, their genesis, development and legal regulation.
The article begins with the review of the socio-political processes that took place during the 19th century. It discusses political resurgence, the role of newspapers (“Aušra,” “Varpas,” “Apžvalga,” “Šviesa,” “Ūkininkas,” “Tėvynės Sargas,” “Lietuvos balsas,” “Naujoji gadynė” etc.) and organizations (e.g. “Lietuvos mylėtojų”) in the recovery of independence. Furthermore, the author analyzes the first legal regulation in political parties of the different periods of Lithuania in 1919–1905. It compares the period of the occupation of the Russian Empire and the period of early independence of the Republic of Lithuania. The article discusses the reforms of Russian government, including granting the freedoms of speech and assembly and the legalization of political parties. It takes notes of comparison the existing legal regulation of these different periods of the statehood of Lithuania.
It should be noted that the political aspect of the party system in Lithuania has received a lot of attention but the historical—legal aspect has been examined quite superficially of the clerisy of Lithuania. Separate authors highlight one or another historical period of Lithuania’s statehood. Most relevant to the subject of the research were studies conducted by E. Šileikis (“Politinių partijų instucionalizavimas”, 1997), where he analyzed the development of the political parties from the ancient Greece to the present day. Moreover, he presents the historical development of regulation of political parties in Lithuania, and outlines more extensively the significance of modern political parties. The second important research was made by professor M. Romeris. His study of Lithuanian national rebirth and the emergence of political movements is called “Lietuva”. It describes the transformations of the first Lithuanian political parties. In addition, the development of political party system, political organizations in Lithuania are examined in light of democratization after occupation of the Russian Empire.
The article considers the development of the regulation of the party system and studies the practical problems of legal and factual mismatch trials. In order to carry out a comprehensive scientific study the article reviews the existing de jure legal framework and the consequent de facto reality.
In conclusion, the research proves not only that there were some differences between the existing legal framework and de facto reality in the period of the occupation of the Russian Empire. Also, the article defines the requirements to the general principal of regulation of political parties and determines correspondence of existing legal regulation to basic democratic standards.


association; political party; party system; legal regulation; legal regulation of assembly

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"Societal studies" ISSN online 2029-2244 / ISSN print 2029-2236