Local government of Šeduva rural district in 1918–1940

Jonas Sireika

It was at the end of 1918, when the first local governments were created in Lithuania under the encouragement of Lithuanian State Council and the first Government of Lithuania. The local government in Šeduva valsčius (a rural district) was also established as the Parish Committee of Šeduva with Lithuanian peasants being its members. The Parish Committee began its activity during a very complicated time after the WWI, and it tried to solve some actual problems of local inhabitants. But soon the activity of the Parish Committee was interrupted by Bolsheviks. In summer of 1919, when the Red Army was expelled from Lithuania and the German Army retreated, the Parish Committee of Šeduva renewed its activity and was reorganised into the Šeduva Valsčius Committee. In the beginning of 1920, according to the Law of the Local Governments of the 10th October 1919, the governing institutions, i.e. the Council and the Board had been democratically formed in this rural district, and the head of the Board (viršaitis) had been elected.

In 1920 Šeduva Town, the centre of the rural district, got the self-rule status and separated from the district. The Šeduva Valsčius became really rural district, and the population reduced greatly in number, followed by a decline in the incomes of the district government.

Surrounding villages, estates and individual farms composed the area of the district without the Šeduva Town and it changed a little with time

The government of the ŠeduvaValsčius carried on its functions according to the laws on the local governments of the 10th October 1919 and the 7th October 1929. The Šeduva Valsčius government dealt with education, health protection, road maintenance and other issues attributed to the district government. Carrying on these functions was a big obstacle for the local government due to shortage of funds.

The local government in Šeduva Valsčius, as in other rural districts as well, was elected democratically during the period of parliamentary governance in 1920–1926. The situation worsened under the authoritarian rule of Antanas Smetona, because various limitations of the electoral law were introduced. Many inhabitants of Šeduva Valsčius, citizens of Lithuania, could not participate in the election of the local government council, as they were excepted from the self-rule.

Dozens of inhabitants of Šeduva Valsčius participated in the process of the self-rule, thus, acquiring experience necessary to rule the district. Long-lived head of Šeduva Valsčius Petras Butkus distinguished himself from all other members of the self-governance in the district by his cleverness, energy, and activity. Mr. Butkus should be considered the most famous member of the self-rule not only in the Šeduva Valsčius but also in the Panevėžys County, which Šeduva Valsčius belonged to.