The E-Parliament in Lithuania: The Way Ahead from the Outset

The E-Parliament in Lithuania: The Way Ahead from the Outset

Rimantas Petrauskas (Mykolas Romeris University, Lithuania) and Neringa Vegyte Descarrega (European Information Office of the Seimas, Lithuania)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61350-329-4.ch012

Abstract

This chapter analyses the features of development of the e-Parliament in Lithuania. It describes a unique situation in the country where, since 1990, a representative legislative institution has been successfully developed from the outset together with information and communication technologies. Using documentary analysis, statistical information, and research from websites of members of the Parliament, it discusses the e-Parliament development model in the Parliament of Lithuania, its implementation, and results. It shows to what extent information technologies support the legislative process and help to build a relationship between democratic institutions and citizens in Lithuania. It describes future changes of the legislative process in Lithuania related to implementation of the information technologies. Conclusions are based on Lithuania’s experience in developing e-Parliament.
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Background

The birth of e-democracy and e-parliament proposed a new impulse to strengthen the democracy. ICT provide wide opportunities for the member of parliaments (MPs) both to access the innumerable knowledge networks and to connect with constituents. According to Daniel Brassard (2006),

In this way, citizens have better access to – and increased participation in – their legislatures, as democracy is brought closer to the people. Parliamentarians can enjoy greater freedom, and the legislative process can be enhanced. The technology also provides useful information for those reviewing legislation or working on parliamentary committees, and facilitates communication among parliamentarians and various stakeholders (p.12).

Consequently, enhanced citizens’ participation may lead to stronger trust in democracy. Recently, these and other issues related to the e-parliament emerged in the academic field. E-parliament research is carried out according to the following trends:

  • One case study, which defines the development of e-parliament in a particular country (e.g. study of Portugal, see Leston-Bandeira, 2007).

  • One case study, which explores perceptions, ICT knowledge, and ICT activities of MPs as well as personal MPs’ websites (e.g. research of the European Parliament, see Coleman & Nathanson, 2005).

  • Several or multiple comparative case studies, which compare models and trends of the ICT development in parliaments. See a comparative study of the US Senate and the European Parliament (Griffith, 2006) or survey in Latin America (Frick, 2005).

  • Global studies such as annual surveys and reports (e.g. Global Centre for ICT in Parliament & United Nations, 2010).

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