|Abstract: ||Šio darbo tikslas ištirti ar Tauta, tiesiogiai įgyvendindama suverenią galią, gali spręsti dėl visų jos gyvenimo klausimų. Siekiant atsakyti į šį klausimą, svarbu ištirti: kokia yra LR Konstitucijos reikšmė Tautai tiesiogiai įgyvendinant suverenitetą, kokios yra numatytos sąlygos Tautai įgyvendinti suverenitetą, kaip tai sąlygoja Lietuvos įstatyminės nuostatos, ar egzistuoja tam tikros spragos ir pan.
Iškelta problema nagrinėjama dviejose dalyse. Pirmoje darbo dalyje tiriami Konstitucijoje įtvirtinti ir iš Konstitucijos kylantys teisinės valstybės ir Konstitucijos viršenybės principai ir valstybės kaip bendrojo visuomenės gėrio pamatas. Šių principų ir pamato reikšmingumą pabrėžė LR Konstitucinis Teismas, tad jų ištyrimas padės nustatyti iš Konstitucijos kylančius reikalavimus Tautai tiesiogiai įgyvendinant suverenią galią. Antroje darbo dalyje tiriamas Lietuvos Respublikos teisinis reglamentavimas, Konstitucinio Teismo, LR Seimo ir Vyriausiosios Rinkimų Komisijos reikšmė Tautai tiesiogiai įgyvendinant suverenitetą, siekiant nustatyti kokius ribojimus nustato LR Konstitucinio Teismo Konstitucijos aiškinimai bei Lietuvos įstatyminė bazė ir nustatyti ar taip nėra sudaromos neproporcingai sunkios sąlygos Tautai įgyvendinti suverenitetą referendumo būdu ir ar yra užtikrinamos pakankamos priemonės Tautai apginti Konstitucijoje įtvirtintą suverenią galią.
Tyrimo eigoje buvo nustatyta, kad:
• Tautos suverenitetą saisto iš Konstitucijos kylantis teisinės valstybės, Konstitucijos viršenybės principai bei valstybės kaip bendrojo gėrio pamatas, kuriuos pati Tauta įtvirtino priimdama 1992 m. Konstituciją.
• Vyriausiąją rinkimų komisiją saisto imperatyvas priimti sprendimą neišduoti parašų rinkimo lapų, o LR Seimą priimti nutarimą neskelbti referendumo, jei nustatoma, jog referendumu siūlomas sprendimas prieštarauja iš Konstitucijos kylantiems principams. Referendumo iniciatyvinė grupė turi teisę apskųsti VRK priimtą sprendimą, tačiau ne Seimo nutarimą. Taip pat, nustatyta, kad Seimas nėra tinkama aiškinti Konstitucijos taip, kad tai nulemtų tolimesnį Valstybės ir Tautos gyvenimą. Dėl šių priežasčių Tautos suverenitetas yra varžomas ir ribojamas.
• Tam tikram balsavimo teisę turinčių piliečių skaičiui turi būti suteikta galimybė skųsti LR Seimo priimtą nutarimą neskelbti referendumo ir patį referendumo būdu siūlomo sprendimo atitiktį Konstitucijai. Tinkamiausia institucija šioms procedūroms atlikti būtų LR Konstitucinis Teismas.|
The aim of the paper is to research whether a Nation, by exercising its sovereign power, can make all decisions concerning its life. In order to answer this question, it is important to investigate what is the significance the Lithuanian constitution has in the Nation directly exercising its sovereignty, whether or not the ability to exercise this power is limited by various principles or values, the Lithuanian legislation, certain legal gaps, etc.
The problem raised is analysed in two parts. The first part explores the principles of the rule of law and the constitutional primacy that stem from the constitution and the values of the state as a common good. The significance of these principles and values has been stressed by the Constitutional Court of Lithuania. The principle of the rule of law states, that upon endeavouring to pass a certain legal act or a constitutional provision, it is necessary to abide by the formal, material and functional legal requirements: the lex retro non agit principle, human rights and the criteria for fairness, as well as adjust to the changing values and views within the society. The values of the state as a common good declare that the sovereignty of the Nation is only limited as much as universally accepted (constitutionally approved) values, such as the liberty and independence of the state, democracy, native language, national self-awareness, fairness, human right principles, etc., are violated. The principle of constitutional primacy states that when changing the constitution, as well as passing other legislation, the constitution should be followed. In order to determine whether or not a proposed change to the constitution or other legislation is contrary to the constitution, three interpretation models can be used: the standards of minimal effect, disproportional violation and fundamental rejection. The first standard is the strictest and cannot be applied in practice, as it would make any amendment to the constitution that even minimally violates its provisions, impossible. This, in turn, would limit the power of the Nation’s sovereignty while simultaneously violating a provision established in the constitution of the Republic of Lithuania – the right to have the initiative in announcing a referendum. The second standard has to be applied only when there is conflict between two different constitutional norms and it is necessary to choose one of them. The third one is most suitable for practical use, as it is the most lenient and only protects the fundamental constitutional rights. For this reason, it is the one that best matches the needs of the Nation, as well as the state, that change over time. This allows harmonizing the values set in the constitution with the existing views of the Nation and the needs of the state. It has been concluded that a Nation’s sovereignty is limited only to the extent that these requirements are not followed and depending on the standard of interpretation of the constitution that is applied.
The second part of the paper looks into the legislation of the Republic of Lithuania. The significance of the Constitutional Court, the Parliament of the Republic of Lithuania (Seimas), and the Central Electoral Commission, in directly exercising sovereignty. According to the constitution of the Republic of Lithuania, the sovereignty belongs to the Nation and the Nation can exercise its sovereignty either directly, or through democratically elected representatives. The Nation exercises its sovereignty directly via means of a referendum that can be announced after collecting 300 000 signatures of citizens that have the right to vote or following an initiative from the Parliament. No one can limit, restrict or appropriate the sovereignty of the Nation, however a decree from the Constitutional Court, a decision by the Central Electoral Commission and an order by the Supreme Administrative Court of Lithuania, demonstrates that the powers of the Nation to solve certain issues via means of a referendum are limited. Hence, it is important to examine the rulings of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania and the legal regulation related to organizing a referendum, and determine if the conditions the Nation has to match in order to exercise its sovereignty via means of a referendum are not disproportionally demanding, and whether or not adequate measures, aimed at defending the rights to sovereignty set in the constitution, are ensured.
It has been concluded, that upon a specific group of citizens that have the right to vote initiating a referendum, the Central Electoral Commission and the Parliament is bound by the imperative to check how the proposed decision matches with the constitution. Having found any disagreements with the provisions set in the constitution, the Central Electoral Commission is compelled to pass a decision not to issue signature collection sheets to the steering group of the referendum and the Parliament is bound to pass a decree not to announce the initiated referendum. The steering group only has the right to challenge the decision made by the Central Electoral Commission, but not the decree of the Parliament. It was also found that the Parliament does not have sufficient competence to interpret the constitution in such a way that it affects future life of the State and the Nation. The most suitable institution to examine a decree to not announce a referendum, passed by the Parliament of the Republic of Lithuania, as well as the compatibility of the decision proposed by a referendum with the constitution, would be the Constitutional Court of Lithuania. Currently, an exclusive right to address the Constitutional Court is held by no less than one fifth of the members of the Parliament, the President, and the courts. It has been concluded, that this right should also be given to the steering group of the referendum or a certain number of citizens that have the right to vote. In addition, the system for organizing referendums within the Swiss Confederation was analysed, where a decision proposed by way of a referendum is decided upon by the entire Nation. In an endeavour to pass a certain decision, more than half of all the citizens that have the right to vote and more than half of the administrative units – cantons – must voice their opinion.
The conducted research allowed to come to a conclusion, that the direct exercising of the Nation’s sovereignty is bound by the values and principles that stem from the constitution. Notwithstanding, when the standard of fundamental rejection is applied to interpret the constitution, the Nation’s sovereignty is only bound to the extent that the decisions and projects it proposes do not violate the fundamental norms of the constitution. Nevertheless, having in mind the legal regulation the rulings of the Constitutional Court, and the practice and examples of foreign courts, the Nation’s right to sovereignty is limited by the Parliament’s given right to evaluate the compatibility of the decision proposed by a referendum with the constitution, and the inability to challenge a decree passed by the Parliament in the Constitutional Court. Several solutions are proposed as recommendations:
a. To oblige the Parliament to establish a group of legal experts, whose conclusion about the compatibility of the decision proposed by a referendum with the constitution would create an imperative to pass a relevant degree to also provide the steering group of a referendum or a certain group of citizens that have the right to vote, with the right to address the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania, in order to challenge the decree on the compatibility of the decision proposed by a referendum with the values stemming from the constitution, passed by the Parliament;
b. To oblige the Parliament to address the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania on the compatibility of every decision proposed by a referendum with the constitution;
c. Gradually, having in mind the country’s capabilities, implement the model for organizing referendums applied in Switzerland, with the Constitutional Court having the prerogative to recognise the compatibility of the decision made by means of a referendum to the constitution.