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Ceturtdiena 12.12.2019 | Name days: Otīlija, Iveta

Week in Lithuania: Nausėda, a new President, inaugurated, Skvernelis stays as PM, mayor handcuffed

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Last week, Kaunas marked 75th anniversary of ghetto liquidation, Nausėda presented his team, MPs initiated simpler MP mandate revocation procedures.

Gitanas Nausėda inaugurated as Lithuania’s new president

 Before swearing-in ceremony on Friday, July 12, Nausėda visited the monument to the nation’s patriarch Jonas Basanavičius in the morning. Nausėda was sworn in during a solemn parliament sitting and then observed a military line-up in the Independence Square outside the Seimas and a parade on Gediminas Avenue from the Seimas to the Cathedral Square. In the afternoon, a ceremony of the handover of the Presidential Palace took place, and then the government returned its power to the new president. A concert took place in Simonas Daukantas Square outside the Presidential Palace in the evening, and an inaugural reception was held in the courtyard of the President Palace.

Kaunas marked 75th anniversary of ghetto liquidation

Lithuania’s second-largest city of Kaunas on Thursday, July 11, launched events to mark the 75th anniversary of the liquidation of the Jewish ghetto, with film viewings, excursions, concerts and commemoration of the Holocaust victims planned from Thursday through Sunday. The ghetto in the Vilijampolė area was operated during the German occupation of Lithuania in 1941-1944, and it was liquidated in July, 1944 as the front was approaching.

Skvernelis announces decision to stay as MP

Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis on Tuesday, July 9, announced his decision to stay in the position. He said he would continue working, adding, however, that the government needs to be effective and non-populist and carry out the work defined in its program. He announced his decision to stay following his meeting with President-elect Gitanas Nausėda.

MPs calls for blacklisting of Russian Duma member

Members of the Lithuanian Seimas Delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe have proposed to blacklist Nikolay Ryzhak, a member of the Russian Duma, and ban him from coming to Lithuania. The MPs stated that during an Assembly session, Ryzhak, being a member of the Russian delegation, recognized and justified in his official statement the mass deportations of residents of Lithuania and other Baltic states by the Soviet Union after the war.

Lithuania voices protest to Russia

 Lithuanian diplomats expressed their protest to a representative of the Russian Embassy on Thursday, July 11, over Russia’s decision to mark the takeover of Vilnius and Kaunas during WWII with artillery salutes this Saturday and on August 1. Lithuania’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs stressed that the Soviet occupation did not bring freedom for Lithuania after Nazi Germany was pushed out.

Outgoing president thanks government for common work

 Lithuania’s outgoing President Dalia Grybauskaitė on Wednesday, July 10, thanked the government led by Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis for common work and contribution to the country’s development. This government’s key tasks have been the overhaul of state enterprises, making their management more transparent, as well as ensuring defence funding, according to a statement issued by the presidential press service.

Government backs legalisation of hemp products

The Lithuanian government on Wednesday, July 10, backed the amendments under consideration by the country’s parliament, the Seimas, to allow the use of the whole hemp plant by lifting the existing restriction to grow it only for fibre, seeds and gardening.

Lithuania’s president-elect presents members of his team

President-elect Gitanas Nausėda on Wednesday, July 10, introduced his team, announcing that Algė Budrytė, who led his presidential election campaign headquarters, will be in charge of his chancellery. And Ieva Ručinskaitė will be in charge of the president’s cabinet. Simonas Krėpšta, director of the central Bank of Lithuania’s Financial Stability Department will lead the economic and social policy group. Povilas Mačiulis, a former vice mayor of Kaunas, will be in charge of the internal policy group. Asta Skaisgirytė-Liauškienė will lead the foreign policy group. Former Energy Minister Jaroslav Neverovič will head the environment and infrastructure group, and Jūrate Šovienė, a deputy chairman of the country’s Competition Council, will chair the legal group.

Bakas to step down as chair of Seimas’ CNSD

Vytautas Bakas, an influential MP, will step down as chairman of the Lithuanian parliament’s Committee on National Security and Defence after leaving the Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Union’s political group in the Lithuanian Seimas. Bakas announced his decision to leave the LFGU group yesterday, saying that the party has changed on one of the key priorities declared during the Seimas election campaign, fighting corruption.

Over 40 MPs propose narrowing down legal immunity

Speaker of the Lithuanian Seimas, Viktoras Pranckietis, and over 40 lawmakers have proposed this week to narrow down the legal immunity of MPs, judges, prime minister and ministers. They have drafted constitutional amendments stating that a member of the Seimas, judge, minister and prime minister could be prosecuted without the Seimas or presidential consent, if they are suspected of having committed a less serious or serious crime.

European political parties can operate in Lithuania

The Seimas of Lithuania on Tuesday, July 9, legalised the registration of European political parties in the country as member states are required by EU law to introduce such rules. The amendments on the registration of European political parties with the Register of Legal Persons as of October were backed by 86 Lithuanian lawmakers, with no objections and four abstentions.

Kupiškis District mayor busted

Lithuania’s Special Investigation Service (SIS) on Tuesday, July 9, detained Dainius Bardauskas, mayor of the country’s northeastern district of Kupiškis, representing the Homeland Union – Lithuanian Christian Democrats. The SIS is carrying out a pre-trial investigation into alleged abuse of official position and influence peddling at Kupiškis District Municipality, and searched have been carried out at several locations today.

Opposition leader favours early election

Early general election is probably the only solution to the existing political circus, Lithuania’s liberal opposition leader Viktorija Čmilytė-Nielsen said this week. In her words, despite Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis’ decision to stay in the position, the newly-formed ruling coalition seems to be necessary to satisfy party interests, not to ensure smooth government work.

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