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20th anniversary of the work of the Seimas Ombudsmen‘s Office

16 April 2015

 MG 3995These days mark the 20th anniversary of the work of the Seimas (Parliamentary) Ombudsmen's Office. The Head of the Office Augustinas Normantas reveals the history of the institution and major problems of citizens to the internet portal Respublika.

„The establishment of the Seimas Ombudsmen‘s Office coincides with an adoption of the Constitution. It was then established that the Seimas Ombudsmen investigate complaints regarding abuse of office by and bureaucracy of officials of state and municipal institutions and agencies. Until that time it was a completely unknown institute. On 10 April 1995 the Seimas Ombudsmen’s Office started its work with 5 Seimas Ombudsmen and 5 Advisers,“ says the Head of the Office.

A.Normantas notes that the Seimas Ombudsmen's duty - to supervise whether officials serve the people in the way it is provided in the Constitution and in accordance with the law: "People are mainly applying to our institution regarding non-compliance with the Law on Public Administration and provided incomplete information. However, new problems that were non-existent 15 years ago are also emerging."

In an interview to the Lithuanian internet portal Respublika the Seimas Ombudsman A.Normantas noted that there is no reason to divide complaints to right ones, or curious ones: "A person with his problems is in place number 1 for us. Therefore, our primary task – is to solve his/her problems; complaints launched to the Seimas Ombudsmen – are merely a tool to make sure whether officials work properly. "

The Seimas Ombudsman also notes that when dealing with problems of the complainants, the competence and qualification of officials is very important: "Sometimes we see that there is a fear to make decisions. Sometimes officials prefer to do nothing rather that to take a wrong decision. This trend is particularly visible in the municipalities."

The Head of the Office does not agree with the statement that the state service is appealing for those who care more about a stable salary and a permanent position rather than helping people. In A. Normantas opinion in recent years a selection procedure to the civil service has been very strictly regulated. The Civil Service Department of the Republic of Lithuania is working really efficiently and has a well-developed selection system.

„We can assume that people having undergone such selection process to the civil service are motivated and have a clear view of their aims. Apparently, sometimes there is a fly in the ointment,“ notices A.Normantas.

On 11 January 1994, the Parliament of the Republic of Lithuania adopted the Law on the Seimas Ombudsmen, which entered into force on 24 March 1994. Current Head of the Office, former judge of the Constitutional Court, Augustinas Normantas for the first time was appointed to the post of the Seimas Ombudsman on 23 June 2005.

On 21 January 2010 the number of the Seimas Ombudsmen was reduced from 5 to 2 and on 10 June 2010- upon the resolution of the Seimas, Augustinas Normantas was appointed to the position of the Seimas Ombudsman for the second term. Another Seimas Ombudsman, a former Minister of Health, Raimondas Sukys was elected to the post and joined A.Normantas on 23 April 2013. Few days later A.Normantas was appointed to the position of the Head of the Office.

© The Seimas Ombudsmen's Office of the Republic of Lithuania

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