Lithuanian Nationalist Union
|Lithuanian Nationalist Union
Lietuvių tautininkų sąjunga
|Membership||1,453 (as of August 2012)|
The Lithuanian Nationalist Union (Lithuanian: Lietuvių tautininkų sąjunga, LTS), also known as the Nationalists (Tautininkai), is a nationalist, right-wing political party in Lithuania, founded in 1924 when the Party of National Progress merged with the Lithuanian Farmers' Association. It was the ruling party of Lithuania from the 1926 Lithuanian coup d'état in December 1926 to the Soviet occupation in June 1940. The party was re-established when Lithuania declared independence in 1990.
The party did not enjoy popular support and in the May 1926 parliamentary elections managed to win only 3 seats out of 85. However, its leaders Antanas Smetona and Augustinas Voldemaras were popular and influential public figures. The party was conservative and nationalistic; it stressed the need for a strong army and a strong leader.
During the December 1926 coup the military deposed the democratically elected government and invited Smetona to become the new President of Lithuania and Voldemaras the new Prime Minister. The Nationalists and the Lithuanian Christian Democrats formed a new government. However, the relationship between the two parties soon became tense as Christian Democrats regarded the coup as a temporary measure and wished to hold new elections to the Seimas. In April 1927 Smetona dissolved the Seimas and in May Christian Democrats resigned from the government. The Nationalists remained the only party in power for another thirteen years.
Voldemaras established Iron Wolf (Geležinis Vilkas) as the paramilitary wing of the Nationalists. Political opponents were incarcerated. The new constitution of 1928 established a presidential dictatorship. In 1929, Smetona removed his party colleague Voldemaras from the office of prime minister and ruled autocratically until Lithuania was conquered by the Soviet Union in 1940.
The Nationalist Union had initial sympathies and contacts with the Mussolini regime. However, Nationalist Union governments expressed disapproval of German racism and national-socialism as early as 1932, and staged Europe's first trial of Nazi criminals (in 1937).
After the party was re-established in 1990, it played a diminishing role in Lithuanian politics. In the elections of the Seimas of 1992 the Lithuanian National Union won 4 places; in 1996 - 3 places, and since 2000 it has no representatives. The number of representatives in the regional municipalities is also diminishing: the party won 49 mandates in 1995, 23 in 1997, 13 in 2000, 14 in 2002 and 3 in 2007 elections.
On 11 March 2008 Lithuanian Nationalist Union merged in to Homeland Union, but in 2011 they announced their withdrawal from it. The party declared its political resurrection in a General Assembly on 17 December 2011.
- Lietuvos Respublikos politinių partijų sąrašas. Informacija atnaujinta 2012-08-02
- Berend, Iván T. (1998), Decades of Crisis: Central and Eastern Europe Before World War II, University of California Press, p. 134
- Roger Griffin. The Nature of Fascism. New York, New York, USA: St. Martin's Press, 1991. Pp. 121. The Lithuanian Nationalist Union was a member present at the 1934 Montreux Fascist conference.
- Matas Krygeris. Atsiminimai. Kaunas, Lithuania, 1994.
- (Lithuanian) Lithuanian Nationalist Union official website