Constitutional order. – According to the constitution of May 15, 1928, the Lithuanian state is an independent republic. The art. 4 establishes that its territory is “made up of all those lands whose borders are described by the international treaties stipulated up to now by the state”; this provision aims to disregard the decision of the conference of ambassadors of March 15, 1923, which attributed Vilna to Poland. In fact, art. 5 states that Vilna is the capital of Lithuania, but that the capital can be temporarily moved elsewhere under special law.
The powers of the state are exercised: 1) by the parliament (seimas) elected by universal, equal, direct and secret suffrage according to the proportional system. He is elected for 5 years, makes laws and declares war; 2) by the government, made up of the president of the republic and the council of ministers. The president of the republic is elected for 7 years by special representatives of the nation from among the citizens who have reached the age of 40; promulgates the laws, but has the right to return them to the seimas for a second examination, after which he must in any case promulgate them if they have been approved with a majority of at least ⅔ of all the members of the assembly; appoints and dismisses ministers and the state controller; has the right to dissolve the seimas ; 3) by the courts.
The right of autonomy is guaranteed to cities and rural municipalities within the limits set by law. Citizens, belonging to national minorities which make up a significant part of citizenship, have the right, within the limits set by law, to direct the interests of their national culture (popular education, charity, mutuality) on an autonomous basis.
Complete freedom is recognized to all existing confessional institutions, which also possess juridical personality. On the initiative of the government or of 50,000 voters, a referendum can be granted over a law approved or rejected by the seimas. Proposals for amendments to the constitution must be approved by seimas with a majority not less than the 3 / 5 of all the members of it, but on the decisions seimas may be asked for the referendum by the President or by 50,000 voters. For Lithuania democracy and rights, please check intershippingrates.com.
Religion. – The great majority of the population is Catholic. In 1926 the hierarchy was reorganized, establishing the ecclesiastical province of Kaunas, with suffragans Kaišedorys, Panevėžys, Telšiai, Vilkaviškis; and the prelature nullius of Klaipėda (Memel), in whose territory, however, the majority are Protestants (Lutherans). The Lithuanian Evangelical Church is organized into two synods, one Lithuanian, the other German. There is a Greek Orthodox archbishop. According to the 1923 census there were: Catholics, 1,739,393; Hebrews, 155,125; Lutherans, 66,578; Greek Orthodox, 55,074; others, 12,801.
Army. – The war budget amounted, in 1930, to litas 46,500,000, equal to Italian lire 89,740,000 and 16.8% of the general budget. Supreme Commander of the army is the President of the Republic, who delegates his authority in peacetime to the Minister of National Defense, in time of war to a commanding general in chief.
The army consists of the line army and auxiliary forces. The line army includes: large units (3 divisions, each of 2 or 3 infantry regiments, 1 field artillery regiment, a telegraph company, services); cavalry (1 brigade of 2 regiments); non-undivided artillery (1 heavy field group, ianti-aircraft section); technical troops (sappers, bridge workers, liaison troops, railway workers); assault tanks; armored car guns; 2 armored trains; aeronautics (6 squadrons; 1 training squadron, services). The auxiliary forces (society of snipers) have, in peace, the task of physical and premilitary education of the youth; in war, the same tasks as the line army. They include: “combat” units (constituted, since peacetime, on mixed detachments of the various weapons) and “rear” units.
In the line army, military service is mandatory from the 21st to the 50th year. Stopped: 18 months. At the end of the stop, the soldiers are enrolled in the 1st reserve (up to 28 years), then in the 2nd reserve (up to 35 years); they are subsequently transferred to the 1st territorial reserve (up to 40 years) and to the 2nd territorial reserve (up to 50 years). In the auxiliary forces, the military are part of the fighting units up to the 45th year; they are later ascribed to the rear units.
Finances. – Budgets and public debt. – The financial system of Lithuania includes the finances of the state, the finances of the Klaipeda (Memel) territory, which enjoys an autonomous regime, and the municipal ones, although partly autonomous. The main asset of the budget revenue of the state are indirect taxes (customs duties and especially that alone they give 1 / 5of the total income), the product of state-owned enterprises, state property income and direct taxes. The most important expenses are those disbursed for transport and communication routes and for national defense, agriculture and public education. About two thirds of the revenue of the Klaipėda territory comes from direct and indirect taxes (including the annual contribution of the central government set at 6.7% of the total revenue from monopolies, excise and customs duties); and of particular importance are the expenses for public education, for worship and for public assistance. Property taxes are in turn the most important income chapter of municipal budgets.
The progress which has progressively occurred in the revenue and expenditure of the Lithuanian state (in millions of litas) is remarkable:
The budget of the Klaipėda area is around 18 million and the municipal budgets around 23-25. As of December 31, 1932, the external public debt (with the United States and England) amounted to 147.9 million litas and the internal debt was only 0.8 million (on the other hand, the state granted credits to individuals and organizations for about 100 million in favor of the development of agriculture and forests).
Money and credit. – From 1 October 1922 Lithuania had its own monetary unit, the litas (equal to 0.150.462 grams of fine gold) which replaced the German marks and other coins (ostrubel, ostmark, auksinias) put into circulation by the Germanic authorities during the occupation. The current monetary system is therefore on a gold basis and the circulation consists of bank notes having legal tender and convertible upon request, at the choice of the Bank of Lithuania, in minted gold or in rods or in appreciated foreign currencies. The privilege of the issue, with the obligation to keep a gold reserve of at least ⅓ of the circulation (in reality this limit has always been exceeded and the reserves have often exceeded 80% of the circulation), was reserved for the Bank for 20 years. of Lithuania, which entered into operation in October 1922 and organized as a joint stock company. As of December 31, 1932, the notes in circulation amounted to 96 million litas and the reserve to 49 in gold and 16 in foreign currencies.
The main banks, after the issuing institution, are the Land Bank which subsidizes agriculture with long-term mortgage loans and a group of 5 private joint-stock banks which exercise short-term credit, mainly in favor of trade.
Public education. – The state, immediately after his resurrection, provided with an unparalleled impetus to the spread of culture. On February 16, 1922, a university was founded in Kaunas, which now has 7 faculties (theology and philosophy, evangelical theology, humanities, law, mathematics and science, medicine, technology); Two and a half years later the Dotnava Agricultural High School was born. Secondary education is given in 51 high schools. There are also some secondary schools of 4 classes, 25 professional schools and 12 normal schools. Primary education is given in 350 state schools, 2141 municipal schools and 97 private schools.