bnn.lv Latviski   bnn-news.com English   bnn-news.ru По-русски
Sunday 19.01.2020 | Name days: Alnis, Andulis

Ousted Lithuanian president Rolandas Paksas inches closer to Seimas

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

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

Lithuania’s former President Rolandas Paksas

Linas Jegelevičius for the BNN

Hardly any other Lithuanian politician is so much loathed as the country’s former president Rolandas Paksas. Ousted for perjury and obstruction of justice in 2004, he was slapped with a life-time ban to run for a constitutional oath-requiring office in Lithuania, yet he retained eligibility for the European Parliament elections.

Lithuanian legislature takes on Paksas issue fifth time

Having seen leniency from Strasbourg’s European Court of Human Rights in 2011, which ruled that such severe punishment is not in line with EU human rights, his multiple attempts to clear the domestic election ban have been futile, but he faces a lot better chances to do it now after 93 Lithuanian MPs voted this week in favor of a constitutional amendment opening the way for the impeached president to run in general elections.

In order to have the Constitutional amendment passed, Paksas requires a two-thirds majority, or 94 votes, in the second vote that has to take pace in the Seimas no later than three months from the first voting.

Of 100 parliamentarians, only two voted against the so-called Paksas amendment, five abstained and 93 voted in favour of the amendment. There are 141 parliamentarians in Lithuanian legislature, Seimas.

«The constitutional amendment is aimed at implementing the European Court of Human Rights’ 2011 judgement in the Paksas versus Lithuania case,» Viktoras Pranckietis, the speaker of the Seimas, was clear introducing the legislation before the parliament.

A shift in Conservatives’ position

Lithuanian legislature’s vote on Paksas this week was fifth over the course of the last eight years. In a major shift that can turn out to be crucial, Seimas’ MPs from the Homeland Union and Lithuanian Christian fraction, known colloquially as Conservatives, have largely voted for the Paksas amendment.

This is how the 74th provision of the Constitution has become known owing to Paksas’ former party Order and Justice multiple attempts to pave way for its leader to national elections.

If enacted, it would allow successfully impeached politicians participate in Seimas elections again after 10 years since their removal, yet it will still bar them, and Paksas, too, from participating in presidential elections.

With the nod to the Constitutional amendment from the Conservatives, analysts predict that Paksas’ bid seems promising now – Paksas will need to garner 94 votes in the second vote on the parliamentary floor.

 «We (Conservatives) support the amendments of the 74th provision of the Constitution, which, if implemented, would allow such politicians to participate in general elections, but we are against paving way that way for them to presidential elections,» Gabrielius Landsbergis, the Conservatives leader, emphasised.

He however criticised Paksas’ former fellow party members (Paksas is founder of the Order and Justice Party (TT), but stepped down as its chairman a couple of years ago – L. J.) for destruction in previous similar votes.

«As a rule, before, with such constitutional amendments submitted, they would swiftly add proposals to allow impeached legislators to participate in presidential elections, too.  Should they do it again, the TT fraction would lose support not only for the part regarding participation in general elections, but for the whole legislative project,» Landsbergis accentuated. «Frankly, I do not rule out that such a provocation has been intended again,» he added.

Analyst: Paksas remains Lithuania’s most hated politician

«With the Conservatives’ support, the likelihood of having the amendment adopted is higher than ever before. But I do not think that Paksas will be very happy to finally be able to run for a Seimas seat, but be still cordoned off from a presidential race. The whole story about Paksas seems weird to me – because of his past, the ideology he promulgates and other things he is now a misfit even among the ranks of his former party. He is definitely Lithuania’s most hated politician. And furthermore: he is man of the past with very slim chances in Lithuanian politics,» Vytautas Dumbliauskas, associate professor of Mykolas Romeris University in Vilnius, told bluntly the Baltic News Network, BNN.

Not a heavyweight, but can still stir some ripples

Tomas Janeliūnas, professor of the Institute of International Relations and Political Science at Vilnius University, is not very «convinced» yet that Paksas will garner necessary support for his cause in the second vote on the Constitutional change, but agreed that Lithuania «must» solve the Paksas issue «once and for all.»

«All the politically parties, including the Conservatives, understand well that delaying the question indefinitely does not any good to Lithuania internationally. Paksas is just not a kind of person, a politician who could threaten the establishment,» Janeliūnas told BNN.

Concurring with analyst Dumbliauskas, he also called Paksas «a man of the past», but hastened to add that Paksas is still capable of «stirring some ripples» if he seeks a Seimas seat on a nationalist party platform.

«But the problem here for him is that, in a year from now, there will be many such nationalist sentiment-driven new political formations seeking Seimas seats. Those existing now do not seem to be speaking in unity and the rise of new ones will just pour gas one the fire. I really doubt if Paksas could act as their single leader. It is just not possible,» the analyst underscored.

Approached by BNN, Paksas sounded defiant and refused to speak about his political future.

 «I am too an experienced politician to say anything about it. I just can reiterate that I am regretting as I have been regretting for the last eight years that the Strasbourg court decision has not been respected until now,» he said.

Speaking to Lithuanian media, he lamented this week that the Seimas is not bound to «fully» restore his constitutional rights.

«Unless I am allowed to participate in all elections, including presidential elections, the Lithuanian Constitution will continue crying with big tears,» he was quoted as saying.

Lithuania chastised over Paksas

The Strasbourg-based court ruled back in 2011 that the lifetime ban a person removed from office through impeachment to stand as a candidate in elections was disproportionate and ran counter to the European Convention on Human Rights.

With Lithuania failing to make constitutional changes to pave the way for Paksas to stand for election, the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers, which supervises the execution of the ECHR’s judgments, has applied the so-called enhanced supervision procedure to Lithuania.

Paksas was ousted through 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.


Leave a reply

Week in Lithuania: police on hunt of a child’s kidnapper, 2020 conscription list announced, Belarus seeks Lithuania’s help

In Lithuania, the top news stories last week were the police hunt of a child’s kidnapper, the announcement of the 2020 conscription list and Belarus seeking Lithuania’s help court.

BNN summary of the week: Lay-offs at LDz. KNAB wrapped around ZZS’ finger. Ķuzis steps down

The last week demonstrated that not everything that glitters is gold. Although previously Latvian Railway proudly reported growing freights and revenue, the statement released in the middle of the week suggests the company is not in the best state – the company plans to lay off 1 500 workers by the end of the year.

FKTK lists exceptions in which banks are allowed to service Aivars Lembergs

Latvian Finance and Capital Market Commission has listed cases in which Latvia’s finance market participants will be allowed to service Aivars Lembergs, who is subjected to US OFAC sanctions and accused of serious crimes, and three organizations associated with him – Ventspils Development Agency, Business Development Association and Latvian Transit Business Association.

Appropriate jobs promised for laid-off LDz workers

Latvian State Employment Agency promises to find appropriate jobs for laid-off Latvian Railway workers. If need be, those people will be provided the opportunity for re-qualification, raise their qualification or train for a new profession, as confirmed by the agency’s representative Signe Bierande.

Bordāns selects potential candidates to lead the Supreme Court and Prosecutor General’s office

I can see people who could take the reins over the Office of the Prosecutor General and the Supreme Court and change their work standards, Latvian Justice Minister Jānis Bordāns told TV3 programme 900 seconds when asked about any potential candidates to lead those institutions.

Ukrainian Prime Minister ready quit after leaked voice recording

Ukrainian head of government Oleksiy Honcharuk has offered to resign following the circulation of an audio recording, where criticism of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and his knowledge in economy is voiced.

Inflation in Latvia reportedly higher than Europe’s and Eurozone’s in December

In December 2019 inflation in Latvia was higher than the average in the European Union and Eurozone, according to information published by Eurostat on Friday, 17 January.

Estonian population growth continues in 2019 due to immigration

Estonia has registered in 2019 population growth for the fifth consecutive year and it can be explained with immigration not with natural growth, according to preliminary data released by Statistics Estonia.

BNN investigation | Raunas street property: quiet assistant with a «secret wallet» for Lembergs

There are suspicions that Aivars Lembergs, subjected to international sanctions, has sold real estate located on Raunas Street 27 in Riga to his sister «on paper only». This may have been done to avoid confiscation of properties in the event of a guilty verdict or a possible arrest over the real estate property. However, it is possible Lembergs maintains full control over this real estate property and, most likely, the property is used to fatten his wallet on a regular basis.

Audit: majority of Latvian housing stock has degraded to a state of a slum

Since the denationalization effective access to housing security in Latvia does not exist and most of the housing stock has degraded up to a state of a slum, as concluded by the Latvian State Audit.

Prime minister affirms possibility of carrying oil supplies for Belarus through Latvia

During his meeting with Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko on Thursday, 16 January, Latvian Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš affirmed that oil supplies for Belarus may be possible using Latvia’s ports.

Rain in Australia provides relief to continuing fight against bushfires

In eastern Australia, which has been suffering in prolonged and disastrous bushfires, heavy rain has been falling for the past 24 hours.

Weather to remain warm in Latvia at week’s end

At the end of the week the sky in Latvia will become clear and the sun will shine. No precipitation is expected. However, a low atmospheric pressure area will approach the country from the west during weekends, as reported by Latvian Environment, Geology and Meteorology Centre.

GKR helps overthrow Riga’s vice-mayors and put an end to ruling coalition

Riga City Council vice-chairperson Anna Vladova and deputy Druvis Kleins lost their respective posts at an extraordinary meeting on Thursday, 16 January. This happened because multiple deputies from Honour to Serve Riga voted together with the opposition in favour of dismissing them.

Latvian Railway plans to lay off 1 500 employees

Latvian Railway plans to terminate labour relations with approximately 1 500 employees before the end of 2020, as reported by the company’s representative Ella Pētermane.

Russian State Duma approves Putin’s new Prime Minister

The Russian State Duma has approved on Thursday, January 16, the candidacy of the country’s next Prime Minister appointed by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Ventspils opposition invites Pūce to act to prevent US sanctions from spreading to city council

Environment Protection and Regional Development Ministry and especially Juris Pūce have to act to resolve the current state of Ventsils City Council. It should be dismissed, as the municipal government does not have moral, ethical or legal foundation to continue managing and implementing the criminal management’s policy, according to Ventspils City Council opposition deputies.

Trade unions urge Latvian government to resolve transit businesses’ blocked bank accounts problem

Multiple trade unions associated with the transit industry have turned to Latvia’s highest ranking officials with a request to resolve the situation with bank accounts of multiple transit companies having been blocked because of US sanctions against Aivars Lembergs. If the government does not act, trade unions promise to organize massive protests.

Anris Leimanis picked as RB Rail council chairman

Anris Leimanis, independent council member from Latvian shareholder, has been picked as Rail Baltica joint Baltic company AS RB Rail council chairman. Ahti Kuningas and Karolis Sankovskis will serve as vice-chairmen, as confirmed by the company.

CSP: number of residents at risk of poverty declines in Latvia

In 2018 a total of 434 thousand persons or 22.9 % of the population of Latvia were at risk of poverty – 0.4 percentage points less than in 2017.

Latvian Saeima to ask Denmark to not extradite Kristīne Misāne to South African Republic

On Thursday, 16 January, Latvian Saeima made the decision to protect the rights of Latvian citizen Kristīnes Misāne, asking the Danish parliament and Danish law enforcers to support their Latvian colleagues and find a solution to avoid extraditing her to the South African Republic, as reported by Saeima’s press-service.

Smiltēns: Riga City Council’s situation can be described – divide, redistribute and plunder

«The situation in at Riga City Council can be described with three words – divide, redistribute, plunder,» said leader of Latvian Association of Regions Edvards Smiltēns in an interview to LTV programme Rīta panorama on Thursday, 16 January.

One single vote left the Lithuanian election system intact

The understanding that Lithuania’s election system needs changes is nearly overwhelming, but the ruling Farmers and Greens’ attempt to lower the Parliament election threshold in parties’ multi-member constituency from current 5 per cent to 3 per cent suffered a setback this week.

Estonian power grid executive detained over bribery suspicion

The Estonian Internal Security Service has detained a board member of the Elektrilevi power grid operator over suspicion of taking a bribe.

Demographer: Latvia has the lowest birth rate level observed the past decade

Birth rates continued to decline in Latvia in 2019. The lowest level of the past decade was reached in the country last year, says demographer Ilmārs Mežs.


Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!