News2019.12.27 13:00

Lithuanian PM protects embattled minister to undermine president – opposition party leader

BNS 2019.12.27 13:00

By shielding the embattled transport minister, the Lithuanian PM is protecting himself and other ministers from any future no-confidence motion by the president, leader of the largest opposition party in the Seimas says.

"The key thing is to take the presidential no-confidence instrument away," said Gabrielius Landsbergis, leader of the opposition conservative Homeland Union – Lithuanian Christian Democrats. The "battle" could set a precedent for the future if the president will seek to intervene in domestic politics, he added.

Transport Minister Jaroslav Narkevič has lately come under fire for dismissing the board of the state-run postal company Lietuvos Paštas (Lithuanian Post), his spending during a recent trip to the UAE, and allocating road maintenance funds that included a 300,000-euro paving of a street leading to the PM's home.

Read more: Lithuanian PM's approval rating nosedives following road paving scandal

"Protecting Narkevič is like a vaccine for the future," Landsbergis told the Žinių Radijas radio on Friday, claiming that Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis wants to protect himself and other government members.

Nausėda has called for Narkevič's resignation numerous times, but the minister, representing the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania – Christian Families Alliance, has refused to step down and is backed by the leaders of other parties in the ruling coalition.

The prime minister said earlier he would make a decision in mid-January after meeting coalition leaders. The president said last week the meeting is the last deadline.

Speaking with, Nausėda also did not rule out the possibility that the Narkevič issue might spark the prime minister's resignation. The PM also hinted earlier that the situation surrounding the transport minister might lead to the government's resignation.

The Chief Official Ethics Commission is carrying out an investigation into both the actions of Narkevic and Skvernelis.

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