On February 16, 1918, the Council of Lithuania proclaimed Lithuanian independence in Vilnius. Later renamed into the State Council of Lithuania, at the end of 1918, it started to organize the administration of independent Lithuania. Those were turbulent times for the young state of Lithuania. When the Bolsheviks occupied Vilnius, in January of 1919 the Government and ministries were moved to Kaunas. It was in the provisional capital that the State Council established the President's institution on April 4, 1919, and elected Antanas Smetona the first President of Lithuania. On September 1, 1919, President Smetona and his office moved to a building specially designated as the Presidential Palace, currently the Historical Presidential Palace in Kaunas.
On 15 May 1920, the Constituent Seimas declared Lithuania a democratic Republic. On 10 June 1920, the Provisional Constitution was declared, providing for the election of the President of the Republic by the Seimas. Chairman of the Seimas Aleksandras Stulginskis served as acting President until the election of the President.
On 1 August 1922, the Constitution was adopted and election of the 1st Seimas was announced. The same year, on 13 November, the 1st Seimas elected Aleksandras Stulginskis President of the Republic of Lithuania.
After the election of the 2nd Seimas in 1923, Aleksandras Stulginskis was re-elected the head of state.
On 7 June 1926, the 3rd Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania elected Kazys Grinius President of Lithuania. The leftist majority of the 3rd Seimas of Peasant Populists and Social Democrats, and the government which they had formed were implementing liberal reforms. They abolished censorship, proposed to cut priests' salaries and adopted the Law on Amnesty, while the envisaged downsizing of the armed forces would have affected interests of many military officers. The dissatisfaction of the latter was used by the Nationalists and the Christian parties. Supported by the military, they forced Kazys Grinius to resign on 17 December 1926. Shortly afterwards, on 19 December, Antanas Smetona was elected President of the Republic of Lithuania a second time.
Authoritarian rule got established in Lithuania .Relying on the Nationalist Union which had given him the title of the Leader of the Nation, Antanas Smetona remained in power for 14 years.
In 1940, following the Soviet occupation of Lithuania, the office of the President was abolished.
After the restoration of Independent of Lithuania, a Constitutional Referendum was held together with the first round of elections to the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania on 25 October 1992. The Constitution was adopted, which reinstated the office of the President as the Head of State.
With the Democratic Labour Party winning the Seimas election, its leader Algirdas Mykolas Brazauskas was elected Chairman of the Seimas and, on the same day, under Article 89 of the Constitution, became acting President of the Republic of Lithuania for the period until the Presidential election.
25 January 1993 saw the start of the first presidential election campaign in the history of Lithuania, which ran until 14 February. The turnout on this voting day amounted to 2.019.015, out of which 1.212.075, or 60.03 per cent, cast their votes for Algirdas Brazauskas.
At the end of his five-year term, Algirdas Brazauskas announced he would not run for the second term of office. In the general elections on 5 February 1998, Valdas Adamkus was elected the fifth President of the Republic. He assumed the office on 26 February 1998. President Valdas Adamkus raised the idea of rapid modernisation of Lithuania and consistently promoted its implementation.
In 2002, Valdas Adamkus ran for the second term of office, losing in the second round of election to Rolandas Paksas, who was inaugurated as President of the Republic on 26 February 2003.
In 2004, the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania removed impeached Rolandas Paksas from the post of President for breach of oath. Chairman of the Seimas Artūras Paulauskas became acting President until election of a new president.
On 27 June 2004, citizens of Lithuania elected Valdas Adamkus President of the Republic of Lithuania for a five-year term a second time.
Presidents of the Republic of Lithuania
04.04.1919-19.06.1920 Antanas Smetona
21.12.1922-07.06.1926 Aleksandras Stulginskis
07.06.1926-19.12.1926 Kazys Grinius
19.12.1926-15.06.1940 Antanas Smetona
16.02.1949-26.11.1954 Jonas Žemaitis. On March 12, 2009, the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania acknowledged Jonas Žemaitis as the Head of the State of Lithuania that fought against Soviet occupation and he was officially named as the President of the Republic (Declaration of the Seimas on the Acknowledgement of Jonas Žemaitis as the Head of State, Žin., 2009-03-19, No. 30-1166).
25.02.1993-25.02.1998 Algirdas Mykolas Brazauskas
26.02.1998-25.02.2003 Valdas Adamkus
26.02.2003-06.04.2004 Rolandas Paksas
06.04.2004-12.07.2004 Artūras Paulauskas (acting President)
12.07.2004-12.07.2009 Valdas Adamkus
13.07.2009- Dalia Grybauskaitė
Last updated 2015.01.05 12:28