According to the Constitution approved by referendum on 25 October 1992, Lithuania is a parliamentary republic. The head of state, who appoints the prime minister and, on the recommendation of the latter, the council of ministers, is elected every 5 years by the parliament (Seimas), whose 141 members are elected every 4 years by universal suffrage. The judicial system includes a Supreme Court and a Court of Appeal whose judges are appointed by the Parliament. Administratively, the country is divided into 10 counties and 60 municipalities. Military service is compulsory for all adult male citizens (alternatively one year of civilian service is provided). The defense system consists of an army, navy, air force and a border police. Lithuania’s education system reflects the transformations that took place during the education reform (1991-2000). According to andyeducation, education is compulsory from 6 to 16 years of age and the public school allows free access to all levels of education. Illiteracy affects 0.3% of the population.
Lithuania had a very rich folk literature, handed down orally for centuries, consisting of songs (dainà), funeral songs (raudos), legends and narratives of the aedi (pãsakos). The oldest written texts, of a religious nature, are from the sixteenth century: the translation of Luther ‘s catechism (printed in Könisberg in 1547) and some sacred hymns, including the Te Deum (1549), by the pastor Martynas Mažvidas or Mosvit (ca. 1500-63), and a baptismal formula of 1559. In the seventeenth century the first grammars appeared, including that of the Jesuit K. Sirvydas (1579-1631), author of a Lithuanian-Latin-Polish dictionary (1629), while from the eighteenth century it is the first poem on a profane subject: the idyll in hexameters The seasons by K. Donelaitis (1714-80). After him a cultural movement emerged aimed at opposing the process of polonization. The authors were the poets D. Poška (1757-1830), S. Stanevicius (1799-1848), A. Strazdas (1763-1833), M. Valančius (1802-75), A. Baranauskas (1835-1902), author of the patriotic poem The Grove of Anykščiai (1859), S. Daukantas (1794-1864), the greatest representative of romanticism. After Tsar Alexander II ‘s prohibition (1864) on printing in Latin characters, literary activity in Lithuania came to a halt. However, from 1883 to 1886 J. Basanavicius (1851-1927) published in Tilsit the first literary and cultural magazine, Aušra (Aurora), of patriotic and religious orientation, which exerted a great influence on the national rebirth. The poet and playwright J. Maciulis known as Maironis (1862-1932), the novelist V. Pietaris (1850-1902), the narrator M. Peckauskaite (1878-1930) collaborated. The magazine Varpas contributed to the spread of positivism and realism (1889-1905; The bell), founded in Ragnit (Prussia) by the playwright and narrator V. Kundirka (1858-99), translator of Schiller, Byron and the Polish poet Adam Mickiewicz whose influence on Lithuanian poetry was very notable. The turn of the century includes original figures such as the poets P. Vaicatis (1876-1901) and A. Jakštas (1860-1938). After the annexation of Lithuania to the USSR (1940), Lithuanian literature is channeled almost entirely into the canons of socialist realism, to which he will remain faithful for over fifty years, until the newfound independence (1991) followed in the short term by the collapse of the Soviet regime and, with it, of the ideology that had formed its foundation. However, as early as the 1970s and 1980s, important works had appeared, in which the schematism of the characters typical of socialist realism began to be avoided. Especially in the narrative new themes and subjects are presented, the psychological novel and the philosophical novel are affirmed. Among the most significant authors were the narrators Ju. Baltusis (1909-91), M. Sluckis (b.1928), A. Pocius (b.1930), I. Mikelinskas (b.1922), J. Avyzius (b.1922), A. Venclova, while for the dramaturgy remember Ju. Marcinkevicius (b.1930), among the poets E. Mezelaitis (b.1919), A. Maldonis (b.1929), V. Simkus (b.1936), Ju. Vaicjunaite (b.1937). Lithuanian intellectual emigration had the American continent as a privileged destination: in the literature produced in the United States stands out A. Skema (1911-61), who with the novel Balta drobule (The White Shroud, 1958) evokes the era of the Stalinist purges. In poetry we mention B. Brazdzionis (b. 1907) and A. Nyka-Niliunas (b. 1919). Since 1977 the poet and essayist T. Venclova (b. 1937) has also lived and worked in the United States as a voluntary exile, perhaps the most interesting intellectual on the current scene. At the end of the 1980s, new themes began to emerge in Lithuanian fiction, accompanying the growing protest for national independence. Then, with the newfound independence (1991), a literature spreads that deals with the great theme of Lithuanian deportations (R. Gavelis and E. Ignatavicius) and moreover, works by authors who emigrated abroad are often published for the first time at home.