Lithuania’s fraudulent presidential elections cannot be appealed, democratic court rules

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Lithuania’s fraudulent presidential elections cannot be appealed, democratic court rules

On 6 June 2024, at 14.00, a press conference will be held at the Seimas by Dr. Zigmas Vaišvila, a signatory of the Lithuanian Independence Act, on „The complaint to the Supreme Administrative Court of Lithuania on the election of the President of the Republic” (A proxy for the right to contest elections)

Gediminas Ustinavičius, representative of the Observers’ Guild, participates in the press conference.

Thanks to the painstaking efforts of several hundred observers and several complaints about the election of the President of the Republic, not only has the electoral props of the elections in Lithuania been exposed, but also the props of the right to appeal the election results.

The Electoral Code, which has been dubbed constitutional, gives observers not only the right to receive all information (except personal data), but also the right to appeal against the actions and decisions of the election commissions. In accordance with a certain procedure, the district commissions deal with complaints against district commissions, the CEC deals with complaints against district commissions. The decisions of the PECs are taken to court (in individual cases, e.g. on ballot papers, i.e. also on election results, within a few days to the Supreme Administrative Court of Lithuania (SACL), the only instance, which has to examine the complaint within 3 days).

The first complaint filed by Zigmas Vaišvila is against the decision of the CEC of 19 May 2024 on the announcement of the results of the first round of the presidential election and the announcement of the second round. By its ruling of 24-05-2024, the Supreme Administrative Court refused to issue a decision on the grounds that the chain of appeals of the election commissions of all instances had not yet been passed, and that the CEC could not have failed to comply with the Electoral Code’s requirement to announce the second round of the elections, which must take place 2 weeks after the first round.

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We have reached the second round, and on 01-06-2024. The final results of these elections have been certified by the CEC. By the way, the Electoral Code prohibits complaints against the electoral commissions after the final results have been certified. Dead-line fairness determination? There is a right to appeal, short deadlines for appeals. But what if the CEC does not deal with complaints and the electoral train is running?

Can the CEC do this?

Therefore, a complaint of Z. Vaišvila was filed with the Supreme Administrative Court on June 3, 2024 against the decision of the CEC of 1 June 2024 on the final results of the election of the President of the Republic. The Court refused to accept it by its decision of 5 June 2024-06-05. The Supreme Administrative Court confirmed that the right of access to a court for judicial protection is a fundamental right of the individual, but stated that the complaint did not meet the requirements of Article 185(2) of the Electoral Code, according to which the complaint is to be examined by this single instance court within a shortened time limit.

Why? Because this legal provision states that the LACJ, as a single instance court, shall hear appeals against the ballot papers (and thus against the results of the elections) within the shortened time limits. The complaint was lodged against the systematic irregular access of ballot papers to polling stations and against unstamped ballot papers at polling stations on polling day. And such ballot papers cannot be used for voting.

Moreover, we have submitted to the court all the acts of ballot papers of the first round of the presidential elections in Vilnius city (corrected, without dates, without signatures, acts of handing over the ballot papers on the day of the elections, that the law forbids to do so, etc.), which confirm that only 8 out of the 157 polling stations in the largest electoral district can be considered as legal elections! If the court thought (and it did not say so) that the complaints of Mr Vaišvila in the Vilnius City constituency should be examined, then the court was presented with evidence of Mr Vaišvila’s unresolved complaints about the unlawful entry of ballot papers in 32 constituencies in Vilnius City.

However, the court remained silent about this and decided in its ruling of 2024-06-05 not to say anything about the observers’ right to appeal against the decisions of the VRC. But the court did say something about the right of the President of the Republic and the Seimas to appeal to the Constitutional Court on the elections of the President of the Republic and the Seimas… Well, Zigmas Vaišvila is not the President of the Republic yet, he appealed to the court as an election observer.

Therefore, it would be not only interesting but also important to know why the observer’s complaint was not accepted for examination? To know how the court assesses the observer’s rights to appeal against decisions of the election commissions, or against improper acts or omissions of the CEC.

It seems that the Court (the President of the Chamber and the Rapporteur, the Vice President of the Supreme Administrative Court, Ernestas Spruogis, and the other members of the Chamber, Judges Arūnas Dirvonas and Iveta Pelienė) is simply afraid of the responsibility of a possible future decision in such a case. If such a complaint is admitted, it is difficult to imagine how such a complaint could be dismissed, since the evidence is clearly in one direction: the CEC deliberately failed to transport the required number of ballot papers to the polling stations; it handed them over in the form of handwritten corrected acts, acts without signatures and/or without dates; transporting additional ballot papers to polling stations on polling day when the law prohibits this; storing large quantities of ballot papers unstamped on polling day in polling stations when the law prohibits this; did not provide information to observers; did not seal ballot boxes; did not record in the counting protocols details of the seal numbers of the bags in which the ballot papers to be counted and cancelled were placed; and did not place ballot papers in bags at all abroad, but only ‘responsibly stored’ them in open boxes in embassies, which are not structural units of the CEC and have nothing to do with the CEC’s activities!

Humanly speaking, it was difficult for the court, because the appealed decision of the VRK announced that on 7 June 2024 at 10.00 a.m. in the March 11th Hall of the Seimas, a new certificate of the President of the Republic would be handed to Gitans Nausėda. To a person who has been compromised for five years by the DSS. And this is already a public „secret”. How can you spoil such a „public celebration”! And it should be, because it is a blatant desecration of the 11th of March and the aspirations and values of the Sąjūdis.

The court therefore decided, „in a spirit of Solomon”, not to hear this complaint. Although before that, in a ruling of 24-05-2024, another panel of judges of the Supreme Administrative Court stated that observers who have passed through the stages of appeals of the election commissions have the right to appeal to the Supreme Administrative Court against the decision of the CEC on the final results of the elections.

So we are left without a court’s opinion on the CEC’s arbitrariness – on the illegal entry of ballot papers into polling stations, on the illegal failure to seal ballot papers, on the failure to provide information to observers, on the failure to investigate complaints…

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SPECIAL THANKS TO THE LARGE NUMBER OF VOTERS WHO TOOK PART IN THE FIRST ROUND OF THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS – YOUR LARGE NUMBER WAS INSTRUMENTAL IN UNCOVERING THE MANIPULATION OF THE VRC. BECAUSE OF YOUR LARGE NUMBERS, THE VDC WAS FORCED TO COVER UP FOR NOT TAKING ALL THE REQUIRED BALLOT PAPERS TO THE POLLING STATIONS! And we, the observers, made good use of this and, thanks to our great efforts, collected very important evidence.

How will we greet the parliamentary elections? Will we continue to allow the CEC to be so autocratic? In that case, the ‘results’ of the forthcoming parliamentary elections are almost certain now.

If we want genuine but not fraudulent results, it is essential to ensure that we have at least two observers in each polling station, so that they know what they have to do, that we have a legal team working quickly, because the ‘results’ must be appealed within 24 hours of the counting of the votes, that we follow up on the complaints and appeal against the intermediate rulings, that we have all the necessary information,…

Dear Presidential candidates, parliamentary and non-senatorial opposition, if we don’t get together and form a team of at least 4,000 observers, don’t play the opposition anymore.

This information is for the consideration of all Lithuanian citizens – voters. We are angry with the government, but we are afraid to make up our minds and say to those who have taken over the country – ENOUGH!

We, the observers of the Observers’ Guild and the Lithuanian Public Council, who have gathered up to several hundred of us, have not only disrupted the scenario of the elections and the referendum, but have also gathered irrefutable evidence of deliberately organised manipulation of the Presidential elections and the referendum. What if there had been more of us?

We, the observers, are ready to share the information we have gathered with all people of good will who are involved. We invite other observers to provide us with information. Because it is necessary to prepare a comprehensive and constructive appeal to the public prosecutor’s office to open a pre-trial investigation.

So the question for the opposition (or „opposition”) is – WHAT DO WE DO?

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