Local Self-Government

Local Self-Government means the right and actual power of the institutions of a local government which is elected by the residents of an administrative unit of the territory of the Republic of Lithuania, to freely and independently on their own responsibility regulate and manage public affairs and meet the needs of local residents according to the Constitution and laws of the Republic of Lithuania.

The Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania ensures the right of self-government by the administrative units of the territory of the State, municipalities, and is implemented by the Municipal Councils.

The municipality shall be an administrative unit of the territory of the State, the community of residents whereof has the right to self-government guaranteed by the State and implemented by the Municipal Council elected by the community of residents of an administrative unit of the territory of the State, as well as by the executive and other municipal institutions and establishments composed by the Municipal Council and accountable to it.

The Republic of Lithuania Law on the Local Self-Government states the principles of local self-government, municipal institutions and their competences, functions, status of a member of municipal council, as well as economic and financial rules for municipalities.

The European Charter of Local Self-Government defines the local self-government in a different way – it means that all bodies of local governance are eligible and capable to administer and to manage most of public issues; they are fully responsible and meet the interests of local population.

The European Charter of Local Self-Government was ratified by the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania in May of 1999.

The Ministry of the Interior mainly contributed to the implementation of basic principles of the democracy in the local self-government. The Law on Local Self-Government was constantly being developed and the reform of territorial administration successively implemented by evaluating good practice of the countries of the Council of Europe and Lithuanian position and needs. 

According to the decision of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania of 24 December 2002, the organisation of local self-government institutions was changed in 2003. Since then the Law on Local Self-Government embeds the superiority of the Council, representative authority elected by the population, to the executive authority. After the amendment to the Law on Local Self-Government in 2003, the legal conditions were applied for the participation of the residents in managing local issues.

Since 2007 the Concept of Decentralisation of Local Municipalities was being implemented. The aim of this Concept is to increase the independent activity of Neighbourhoods and Heads of Neighbourhoods, thus ensuring closer communication between the local authority and the population as well as the implementation of subsidiary principle in local self-government.

In 2008 the amendment to the Law on Local Self-Government determined the strict grouping of the municipal functions according to the freedom of decision making and provided municipalities with more rights to independently manage their activities according to the Constitution and laws of the Republic of Lithuania.

The Ministry of the Interior was consequently implemented the reform of territorial administration. After the interview with local residents, the changes of municipal borders were initiated, as well as borders and names of populated localities. In 2005-2007 the interviews with local residents of Kaunas, Šiauliai, Švenčionys district municipalities were arranged concerning the establishment of the new municipalities.

Last updated: 16-07-2015