bnn.lv Latviski   bnn-news.com English   bnn-news.ru По-русски
Friday 16.11.2018 | Name days: Glorija, Banga
LithuaniaLithuania

Defiant impeached former Lithuanian President launches campaign to restore litas

FaceBook
Twitter
Draugiem
print
(+1 rating, 1 votes)

Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RU

Impeached former Lithuanian president Rolandas Paksas

Linas Jegelevičius for the BNN

The defiant impeached former Lithuanian president Rolandas Paksas is not giving up. After a new attempt to lift his lifetime ban to run for the top post in 2019 failed, the now member of the European Parliament and the leader of a new nationalist movement, «I am calling the Nation» seems undaunted and this week has launched campaign aimed at scrapping the euro and restoring the litas, the Lithuanian currency that circulated in the country until the end of 2014.

Denying Paksas’ right to vie for an oath-mandating election, Lithuania severely violates the Strasbourg-based court’s 2011 ruling that stated that the lifetime ban was disproportionate and ran counter to the European Convention on Human Rights.

Intimidated by Paksas, pilot by profession, Lithuania faces sanctions from the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers, which monitors the execution of the Strasbourg court’s judgments. The committee has already placed Lithuania under the so-called «enhanced supervision procedure».

A fresh attempt to lift a lifetime ban Paksas to run in elections fell through last week after 78 members of the Seimas backed a constitutional amendment allowing an impeached person to participated in elections, 16 votes short of the necessary 94 for the amendment to pass. Fifteen lawmakers, mostly from the opposition Conservatives fraction, voted against the amendment and four abstained.

«It is unjust to Paksas and it is odd that, with Lithuania claiming it is a law state and abides by law, here you have a case where a ruling of the European Court has been evaded for seven years now. That does not reflect well on Lithuania’s commitment on rule of law,» Kęstutis Girnius, associate professor of the Institute of International Relations and Political Sciences at Vilnius University, told BNN.

«Paksas, before and after the impeachment, has somehow generated an exceptional amount of hate towards him and it is has always reflected on Lithuanian Parliament’s inconsistent way in dealing with the European Court ruling,» he added.

«The decision not allow him to run for the presidency does not surprise me, however. It was expected,» Girnius emphasised.

A constitutional amendment must be voted twice by the Seimas with an interval of at least three months between the votes, and requires a two-thirds majority, or 94 votes, to be passed.

With Gabrielius Landsbergis, the leader of the Conservatives, known officially as Homeland Union- Lithuanian Christian Democrats, vehemently opposing allowing Paksas to run in an election requiring oath (only EP elections fall out of the requirement), Paksas’ chances to enter the 2019 presidential race are near to nil, experts say.

A couple of years ago, the Parliament tried to pass constitutional amendments that would have pave way for Paksas to run in elections, but failed to garner enough votes.

The latest amendment, submitted by the ruling Farmers and Greens and the Party of Justice and Order that was headed by Paksas for many years would have allowed an impeached person to be elected president or a member of Parliament 10 years after his or her removal from office.

The amendment was tabled to comply with the Strasbourg-based court’s 2011 ruling.

To remind, Paksas was ousted by impeachment in April 2004 after the Lithuanian Constitutional Court ruled that he had grossly violated the Constitution and his oath of office by granting Lithuanian citizenship to Yuri Borisov, the main financial supporter of his presidential election campaign.

To believe the leaked documentation recently, Paksas, if elected, had committed to provide Russia-related Borisov services valued of three million US dollars.

The Constitutional Court has ruled that a person removed from office through impeachment can never again hold a public office that requires an oath and that the Constitution needs to be amended to lift the ban.

With the ban intact, Lithuania risks of being fined by the Council of Europe which serves as the watchdog in implementing the Court’s rulings in the European Union’s member states.

According to Donatas Murauskas, head of the Ministry of Justice’s Division of Representation at the European Court of Human Rights, Europe’s Committee of Ministers will discuss this issue on December 4-6 and may adopt a resolution, stating that Lithuania fails to meet its international obligation by not implementing the European Court of Human Rights’ ruling on paving the way for Paksas to stand as a candidate in elections.

«The implementation of the Paksas case will be publicly discussed during this sitting. And it’s very likely that a Committee of Ministers resolution against Lithuania will be proposed for the first time,» Murauskas said last week.

«It would constitute an international sanction, a political document meaning that Lithuania does not meet part of its international commitments arising from its Council of Europe membership. It would have a strong affect on Lithuania’s reputation,» the lawyer said.

In early October, Paksas announced that he’s starting «a new phase» in his life and was establishing a new movement of «healthy patriotic forces», known as «I am Calling the Nation!», after leaving earlier the Order and Justice party he co-founded.

Paksas says it has already been registered and it will soon start establishing regional representations and offices.

«We will nominate to the European Parliament people who are in favour of… a state with its language, traditions, customs, currency, territory. And also those people who want and see the opportunity, so they will be backed and supported, be it one election or another, education or spreading of information, so that it doesn’t broadcast one opinion,» Paksas said.

Paksas founded the Liberal Democratic Party with allies in 2002 and later renamed it the Order and Justice Party.

This week, «I am Calling the Nation” kicked off its first visible campaign by erecting on highway Vilnius- Klaipeda and in the largest Lithuanian cities big billboards with Paksas’ photo and the clearly seen question-inscription: «Do you support restoration of litas?»

Litas was the Lithuanian national currency until the end of 2014. With the euro adopted from January 1, 2015, prices of groceries and goods have doubled and tripled in Lithuania.

Asked by media what message he is conveying with the campaign, Paksas was blunt as always: «The inscription on the billboards tells it all and we shall wait and see what other strivings will come along.»

The posters will hang until November 26 and the campaign will cost Paksas 17,000 euros.

According to Tomas Janeliūnas, a political analyst, Paksas still cherishes hopes of coming back to the Lithuanian political arena, however the analyst questioned if Paksas himself «imagines» how he would practically be able to implement the intent to revive the defunct national currency.

«Although he expressed his intent to run for a seat in the European Parliament in 2019, I doubt whether he under the flag of the new movement can climb over the 7-8 percent threshold to the European Parliament,» the analyst said.

According to Girnius, Paksas‘ calls to abandon the euro and exit the European Union and NATO is «a helpless effort» to differentiate himself from all the other politicians.

«He’s been out of active domestic politics for the last ten years or so. Bringing up such ideas he is appealing to his former electorate base that existed between 10 and 15 years ago. Then, remember, many people were dissatisfied with the situation and wanted a certain amount of change. But the suggestions he’s making are so radical that even his more loyal followers will not pick up on them,» Girnius emphasised to BNN.

«Those outlandish ideas of leaving NATO, European Union and the euro just won’t fly high. I think Paksas is a spent political force. The Parliament could have solved Paksas problem forever letting him run. He would have collected 5 or 6 percent of votes and would have shown that he belongs to the past,» he added.


Leave a reply

Latvian ministry plans to form Media Ethics Council and develop Latvian Media Ethics Code

Culture Ministry has proposed forming Media Ethics Council. The majority of institutions of the media industry have started working on a self-regulatory council and development of a Single Latvian Media Ethics Code, as reported by the ministry’s public relations office manager Lita Kokale.

Harmony picks representatives in Saeima’s committees

Nikolajs Kabanovs and Jānis Tutins may become Harmony’s representatives in Saeima’s Foreign Affairs Committee, whereas Valērijs Agešins may become the party’s representative in the National Security Committee.

Lithuania’s corruption buster: firms donating to hospitals stand better chance in tenders

The majority of the winners of the tenders organised by major Lithuanian hospitals have expressed their gratitude to the health providers by making donations to them in the form of financial support.

Employment level in Latvia reached 65.3% in Q3 2018

920.1 thousand people or 65.3 % of Latvia population aged 15–74 were employed in Q3 2018. Over the year, employment rate grew by 1.7 percentage points and number of employed persons by 17.2 thousand.

Unemployment level in Latvia was 7% in Q3 2018

In Q3 2018 Latvian unemployment rate constituted 7.0 %. Compared to the previous quarter, unemployment rate fell by 0.7 percentage points, while over the year by 1.5 percentage points.

AS PKL Flote enforces EUR 1.35 million from Riga Freeport authority in court

The Department of Civil Cases of the Supreme Court has ruled that the verdict of Riga Regional Court – one that penalized Riga Freeport authority for breach of Competition Law against PKL Flote – was correct. Now Riga Freeport has ten days, starting with 13 November, to pay the company EUR 1.35 million to cover damages caused by this violation, BNN was told by PKL Flote board chairman Sergejs Odincovs.

British government loses two more members; EU sets date for Brexit summit

In the UK government, Brexit minister Dominic Raab and Northern Ireland's junior minister have resigned in disagreement with the country's draft withdrawal agreement with the EU, already passed by the government.

Saeima deputy: data protection regulation will not protect «KGB associates»

Documents detailing KGB workers’ names, nationality, work place, participation in the Communist party are not covered by the Personal Data Protection Regulation, stresses Saeima deputy Ritvars Jansons from the National Alliance ‘All for Latvia’ – ‘For Fatherland and Freedom/LNNK’.

EP: Moldova and Georgia should continue initiated reforms

Members of the European Parliament welcome the reforms Georgia has commenced. At the same time, Moldova was criticized for its worsened state of democracy and rule of law, as reported by EP press-secretary in Latvia Signe Znotiņa-Znota.

Germany economy shrinks for first time in three years

Germany economy has contracted by 0.2% in the third quarter of 2018, a first such result in the largest economy of the European Union in over three years.

Latvian president gives parties holiday break to continue talks

Latvian President Raimonds Vējonis calls off nomination of NCP candidate Jānis Bordāns to for government. Talks regarding the next prime minister candidate will continue after the state holiday.

Ireland satisfied with Brexit draft deal in every priority

The government of Ireland has stated that draft withdrawal agreement between Irish neighbour, the UK, and the European Union, Dublin had achieved a satisfying result in all its priorities, also regarding the border on the island of Ireland.

Bordāns: NCP will not support Pabriks’ government because KPV LV will not support it either

If the President of Latvia decides to nominate Attīstībai/Par! member Artis Pabriks, KPV LV will not work in this government. New Conservative Party would take the same position, according to what politicians told Tieša runa programme of LTV.

British government supports draft Brexit deal

British Prime Minister Theresa May received the support of her government on the draft Brexit agreement the UK has reached with the European Union, which would see the UK remain in the EU customs union until the end of 2020.

Progressive: government formation talks – old schemes and disrespect towards voters

Political party Progressive is sad to see government formation talks fall apart. According to the party, the arguments used by other political forces to explain the reasons are misleading for society.

Jurmala City Council deputy asks State Audit to check six sport event procurements

Jurmala City Council Rolands Parasigs-Parasiņš from the National Alliance ‘All for Latvia’ – ‘For Fatherland and Freedom/LNNK’ has asked the State Audit to evaluate several of the municipality’s procurements associated with the organization of sports events in Jurmala.

Warsaw: Kremlin's «imperial policy» endangers Poland, Lithuania and Ukraine

The Speaker of the upper house of the Polish parliament, has stated that Russia's «imperial policy» endangers Poland, Lithuania and Ukraine.

KPV LV leader: after recent developments, all parties should get therapy

After events that took place Wednesday, 14 November, all political parties should get therapy, says KPV LV prime minister candidate Aldis Gobzems.

Number of guests hosted in Latvian tourist accommodation establishments up 6.5%

1.03 million visitors stayed at Latvian tourist accommodation establishments in Q3 2018, which is 6.5 % more than in Q3 2017. Compared to corresponding period of the previous year, the number of nights spent by visitors has increased by 5.3 %, reaching 1.95 million.

Road traffic to be restricted for the duration of Staro Riga light festival

Road traffic on streets of Riga will be restricted from 20:00 p.m. 14 November until 09:00 a.m. 20 November. Restrictions will apply to Zirgu Street, from Meistaru Street to Dome Square. Two-way road traffic will be organized at Dome Square, as reported by Riga City Council.

Cease-fire holding between Palestine-Israel after worst fighting since 2014

In the turbulent Middle East, after the worst Israeli-Palestinian violence since the 2014 war a fragile ceasefire between Israel and Palestinian factions was in force in Gaza on Wednesday.

EP’s approved EUR 17.7 million to be invested in melioration infrastructure restoration

Allocation of support finances of EUR 17.7 million has been approved by the European Parliament for Latvia to cover losses from floods of summer and autumn 2017. This funding will be used to restore important infrastructure, such as water redirection system and damaged culverts, Agriculture Ministry reports.

Three parties exit talks with NCP; Bordāns’ chances of becoming prime minister plummet

According to the latest information, three political parties – Attīstībai/Par!, National Alliance ‘All for Latvia’ – ‘For Fatherland and Freedom/LNNK’ and New Unity – have decided to exit government formation talks headed by the New Conservative Party.

G20 industrial countries guided by fossil fuel industry, not science

Action against climate change is not meeting government commitments in 19 out of the 20 world’s 20 largest, as researchers found governments were paying more attention to the fossil fuel industry than to scientific advice.

Latvian prime minister candidate still believes it is possible to agree on government work plan

In spite of certain parties’ rejection of New Conservative Party’s proposed action plan for the new government, prime minister candidate Jānis Bordāns still sees some cooperation potential for political parties, adding that the plan can be corrected.