Forms of government and party systems in Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia: 30 years of independence

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Author: Iliya Shablinsky

DOI: 10.21128/1812-7126-2021-5-138-156

Keywords: Baltic States; electoral system; Estonia; form of government; Latvia; Lithuania; parliamentary republic; semi-presidential republic


This article focuses on the peculiarities of government forms in Baltic states that were once part of the USSR: Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. The constitutional and legal bases of relations between presidents and their parliaments and governments are considered in detail, and the author makes a comparative analysis of institutions operating in these states. This article also examines the grounds for the resignation of governments, their heads, and individual ministers, as well as discussing the features of the party and electoral systems of these Baltic States. These systems’ functions face several problems, and forms of government like semi-presidential and parliamentary republics are shown to lack effectiveness across the Baltic States. It is important to note the instability of these governments, which changed every two and a half years on average, although this did not affect the countries’ economies. The presidents of these republics performed political mediation effectively and ensured a constant dialogue with political forces. Since national governments were formed on a non-coalition basis in all three States, an extensive practice of inter-party agreements and alliances began. This created a new type of political culture, where prejudice towards the Russian communities of the states in Latvia and Estonia was prevalent, and this issue is addressed in the article.

About the author: Ilya Shablinsky – Doctor of Science in Law, Professor of Constitutional and Administrative Law, Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russia.

Citation: Shablinsky I. (2021) Formy pravleniya i partiynye sistemy v Latvii, Litve i Estonii: 30 let nezavisimosti [Forms of government and party systems in Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia: 30 years of independence]. Sravnitel'noe konstitutsionnoe obozrenie, vol. 30, no. 5, pp. 138–156. (In Russian).


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