Fourth Seimas 1936 - 1940 


Elected on 10 June 1936

41 representatives were elected

Konstantinas ŠAKENIS, Chairman of the Fourth Seimas (1936- 1940)


The Fourth Seimas was elected only on June 10, 1936. The Fourth Seimas differed from the earlier Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania not only in that it was the smallest parliament (the number of representatives was reduced to 41) but also in its electoral procedure. The elections to the Fourth Seimas were not direct: councils of districts or towns had the right to propose candidates only. And the number of candidates corresponded to the number of mandates in the district. After the council of the district selected the candidates, they were put to vote. Thus, the organised political powers could not compete for seats in the parliament.

President Antanas Smetona summoned the Fourth Seimas on 1 September 1936, and stated that the its main task would be to prepare a new constitution. Adopted on February 11, 1938, the Constitution emphasised the continuity of the autoritarian regime: Parliament had the exclusive right only to amend the Constitution and its own statutes. Issuing legislation, approving the budget and ratifying international treaties were all now in the hands of the President instead of the parliament. During the time of the Fourth Seimas, to avoid armed conflict, Lithuania was compelled to renew diplomatic relations with Poland, and to give up the Klaipėda Territory to Nazi Germany .

The Fourth Seimas survived until June 27, 1940, when the pro-Soviet Government signed the dissolution act, citing the Constitution of 1938, and implemented a scenario for the annexation of Lithuania to the Soviet Union foreseen in the then secret Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact (signed in Moscow on 23 August 1939). The basic tool for legitimising the annexation of Lithuania legally was the so-called People's Parliament, chosen in elections without alternative candidates. This People's Parliament, usurping the right of sovereignty to decide the fate of the state, violated the still valid provisions of the Constitution on the limited competence of Parliament.

The annexation of Lithuania by the Soviet Union was finalised on August 25, 1940, when the People's Parliament declared itself the provisional Supreme Soviet of Lithuania.

© Office of the Seimas