Local democracy and instruments of its functionality in local self-government in Lithuania: Case study of Alytus and Sirvintos municipalities

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Abstract

Developments in the modern world are posing a great number of fundamental challenges to the democratic
thought. The coalescence of the market and democracy on a national state level has stirred up tensions with
regard to modern democracy concepts and models. The impact that globalisation will have on further
democratic development leaves a number of open questions. Some argue that the solution lies in further
democratic globalisation, while others are inclined towards options of national state democracy
consolidation. This is especially important to Lithuania, a country that successfully freed itself from the
oppression of the Soviet empire two decades ago and is now engaged in voluntarily integration into Western
Europe.
The article points out that finding ways to strengthen public involvement in democratic processes on a
local self-government level is one of the key issues to be solved in the controversial process of the
democratic development. Compared to the active role that the citizens of Lithuania adopted in the first postindependence
years by participating in the public life (referendums, meetings, signature collection
campaigns, participation in central and local government elections, etc.), the tendencies observed in the
recent years are quite different. Activity levels are decreasing across all the possible forms of civic
participation, and, as civic participation in one of the main manifestations of democracy, i.e. elections,
weakens, the government legitimisation and the democracy and civil sentiment of the society itself are at
stake. It is therefore important to discuss how the employment of other forms of civic participation at local
self-government institutions could and must offset the state’s democratic deficit. The data of research on
local democracy conducted in Lithuania analysed in the article in order to define local democracy
instruments reveal some of the tendencies of the local democracy that can be discerned at Lithuanian
municipalities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)70-80
JournalInternational journal of arts and commerce
Volume3
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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Keywords

  • Democracy
  • Local democracy
  • Municipality

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