Lithuanian parliamentary election, 1992
All 141 seats to the Seimas
71 seats were needed for a majority
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Parliamentary elections were held in Lithuania in two stages on 25 October and 15 November 1992. All 141 members of the Seimas, which replaced Supreme Council, were elected; 70 based on proportional party lists and 71 in single member constituencies. Where no candidate gained more than 50% of the vote on 25 October, a run-off was held on 15 November. The first round of the elections were held simultaneously with a referendum on the adoption of a new constitution.
The result was a victory for the Democratic Labour Party of Lithuania (LDDP), which won 73 seats. Analysts attributed the surprisingly decisive victory to support from farmers and the Russian and Polish minorities, as well as widespread dissatisfaction with the economic situation and the policies of the ruling Sąjūdis political movement, which only managed to win 30 seats. The new constitution was approved with 56.76% of registered voters in favor.
In the aftermath, the leader of the LDDP, Algirdas Brazauskas, was elected the Speaker of the Sixth Seimas and assumed the title of acting President of Lithuania. Bronislovas Lubys was appointed Prime Minister.
The elections were held under the terms of the new electoral law, adopted on 9 July 1992; on the same day, the election date was set for 25 October. The law provided for a mixed electoral system, with 70 MPs elected on proportional party lists and 71 MPs in single member constituencies. Run-off elections were to be held on 15 November in constituencies where no candidate received at least 50% of the votes cast.
The mixed electoral system was a compromise between the two main political powers, the Sąjūdis coalition, which preferred the majority rule, and the ex-communist LDDP, which proposed proportional representation. The latter was confident of the appeal its political stance had with the voters but lacked popular personalities, while Sąjūdis was concerned about its falling approval ratings but counted among its members many of the individuals that had led Lithuania to independence from the Soviet Union. The mixed system was also expected to strike a balance between MPs representing the interests of their constituencies and the interests of their parties.
To take any of the 70 seats allocated proportionally, the party needed to receive at least 4% of the popular vote. The threshold did not apply to electoral lists representing national minorities.
Suffrage was granted based on citizenship of the former Soviet Union (with exceptions) as opposed to being based solely on the citizenship law of the pre-war Lithuanian republic.
The main challenger to the ruling Sąjūdis nationalist movement, led by outgoing Chairman of the Supreme Council of Lithuania Vytautas Landsbergis, was the LDDP headed by Brazauskas. Sąjūdis – which had controlled the Supreme Council since February 1990 and spearheaded the move to independence – was criticized for the country's economic woes, while their opponents called for a slowdown in the pace of change to a free-market system and improved relations with Russia. In the run-up to the elections, Sąjūdis portrayed the opposing political groups as communist and reactionary, opposed to independence and democracy. The LDDP proclaimed their political principles, including the foreign policy aims of membership of the Council of Europe, association agreement with the European Community, agreements with the International Monetary Fund and neighborly relations with Poland. They also called for agreements with Russia in order to secure traditional sources for materials and trade.
Altogether 26 parties and political movements contested the elections, with 486 candidates contesting the single-seat constituencies. Opinion polls suggested that no political group would win a decisive majority and a coalition government seemed likely. Most participating parties ruled out joining a coalition government with the LDDP.
Polling procedures were witnessed by international observers. The LDDP won 73 seats, with analysts attributing their victory, among other things, to the party's support from farmers and the Russian and Polish minorities, as well as popular anger about the economic crisis, in particular the fuel shortages since Russia, the main supplier, had cut off imports. The results showed widespread desire for a different political direction and dissatisfaction with the confrontational approach to politics used by Sąjūdis. The elections were even more disappointing for centrist political groups, which only received around 15% of the vote, despite many prominent individuals in their ranks.
|First round||Second round|
|Democratic Labour Party of Lithuania||817,331||43.98||36||642,423||34.98||8||587,055||43.96||29||73|
|Social Democratic Party of Lithuania||112,410||6.05||5||166,277||9.05||0||51,487||3.86||3||8|
|Lithuanian Centre Movement||46,908||2.52||0||45,652||2.49||0||20,245||1.52||2||2|
|Association of Poles in Lithuania||39,772||2.14||2||35,191||1.92||1||7,304||0.55||1||4|
|Liberal Union of Lithuania||28,091||1.51||0||48,120||2.62||0||–||–||–||0|
|Lithuanian Liberty League||22,034||1.19||0||11,616||0.63||0||–||–||–||0|
|National Progress Movement||19,835||1.07||0||59,496||3.24||0||16,582||1.24||0||0|
|Socio-Political Movement for Social Justice||9,730||0.52||0||5,013||0.27||0||–||–||–||0|
|Lithuanian Liberty Union||7,760||0.42||0||5,752||0.31||0||–||–||–||0|
|Lithuanian Movement "Chernobyl"||4,827||0.26||0||–||–||–||–||–||–||0|
|Union of Lithuania's Patriots||1,904||0.10||0||582||0.03||0||–||–||–||0|
|Lithuanian Green Party||–||–||–||6,651||0.36||0||9,329||0.70||0||0|
|Lithuanian Consultative Assembly||–||–||–||5,175||0.28||0||–||–||–||0|
|Source: Nohlen & Stöver, European Election Database|
The decisive outcome of the elections surprised observers and even the LDDP themselves, who had expected to win 15–17 seats and did not have enough names on its electoral list. Sąjūdis reacted to their loss with disbelief and encouraged its supporters to join acts of civil disobedience.
In the first session of the newly elected Sixth Seimas, Brazauskas was elected the Speaker of the Seimas and assumed the title of acting President of Lithuania. Brazauskas would go on to be elected President on 14 February 1993 in the country's first presidential elections. On 1 December 1992, Bronislovas Lubys, an independent business manager and politician, supported by the LDDP, was appointed as the Prime Minister.
- Nohlen, D & Stöver, P (2010) Elections in Europe: A data handbook, p1201 ISBN 978-3-8329-5609-7
- Blažytė-Baužienė, Danutė; Tamošaitis, Mindaugas; Truska, Liudas (2009). Lietuvos Seimo Istorija. XX-XXI a. pradžia (in Lithuanian). Lithuania: Baltos Lankos. pp. 336–341. ISBN 978-9955-23-322-0.
- Elections held in 1992 Inter-Parliamentary Union
- Sakalas, Aloyzas (11 April 2011). "Kodėl Sąjūdis pralaimėjo 1992 m. rinkimus" [Why Sąjūdis lost the 1992 elections] (in Lithuanian). Delfi.lt. Retrieved 17 January 2016.