1.2 History of the constitutional system

Lithuanian lawyers state that the history of the State of Lithuania may be divided into the two important stages of development. Today the State of Lithuania is in its second important stage of development. The first consisted of a historic Lithuania. The Kingdom in 1250-1263, and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania in 1263-1795. The Great Duchy of Lithuania drew up the union with Poland (Pospolite) and began to live a common politic life. The Constitution of Pospolite adopted in the year 1791 was the first presumptive law which was valid both in Lithuania and Poland. In the end of the 18th century the Great Duchy of Lithuania was occupied by Russian Empire and Prussia, its ally. The history of Lithuania as an independent state was intermitted.


The second stage commenced on February 16, 1918, with the proclamation of the Act of Independence and restoration of statehood. The nation's will was expressed through its representatives at the Seimas (Parliament) when a republic was chosen as government form of the State. Both stages of the development have been interrupted by the occupation by neighbouring countries. In the end of the 18th century the Grand Duchy of Lithuania was occupied by the Russian Empire and Prussia, its ally. The second annihilation of the Lithuanian statehood started after the outbreak of the World War II when in 1939 Germany occupied Klaipėda region and on June 16, 1940, when the Soviet Union annexed and occupied the whole country. Soon afterwards the German assault on the Soviet Union, Lithuania revolted against the occupant and regained its statehood for a short period (on July 23, 1941); however, the statehood was immediately destroyed after the German Nazi troops entered the country (on July 17, 1941). The Soviet Union, having gained the victory over Germany, continued the occupation of Lithuania since 1944. Lithuania managed to put an end to that occupation only after 50 years - by the Act of March 11, 1990 proclaiming the restoration of its statehood and simultaneously creating legal and practical pre-conditions for the collapse of the Soviet Union. Having restored the independence of Lithuania, the Interim Basic Law was adopted in 1990. The aforementioned law was replaced by the Constitution in 1992, which is in force up to now.