County governor (Lithuania)
A county governor (Lithuanian: singular – apskrities viršininkas, plural – apskrities viršininkai) is the leader of a county, the first-level administrative unit of Lithuania. County governors are chosen by the Prime Minister and confirmed by the central government rather than elected by the people. In general, county governors are chosen from the members of those political parties that win the elections to the Seimas. Usually, the county governor seats of the main counties, such as Vilnius County, are more valued by the political elite than those of the smaller ones.
County governors have three main goals, as outlined in the Law of County Governing:
- to implement national policy regarding regional development, social welfare, education, culture, health care, territorial planning, heritage protection, land use and protection, ecology and other matters; to implement national and interregional programmes.
- to coordinate activities of structural divisions of governmental institutions that are present in the county; to coordinate the activities of municipalities; to implement regional programmes.
- to prepare plans for regional development.
To accomplish their goals and tasks, county governors form and lead their administration. A county governor's administration is the legal entity that represents the county in all matters. However, counties do not have that much power vested in them. Municipalities play far more important role in the political life. Municipality councils are elected in direct election every four years.