2020.11.18 11:23

Lithuania's would-be PM presents cabinet candidates, BNS2020.11.18 11:23

Lithuania's would-be prime minister Ingrida Šimonytė has announced the list of candidates she would like to see in her cabinet.

Representing the conservative Homeland Union-Lithuanian Crhistian Democrats (TS-LKD) party, Šimonytė presented the list to President Gitanas Nausėda on Wednesday.

Following general elections last month, the country's new government will take office once the president nominates Šimonytė and the parliament approves her cabinet and the government programme.

Nausėda plans to make the nomination on Thursday. He will then hold meetings with the ministerial candidates.

The presented list covers 13 out of 14 ministries, as the candidate for the minister of agriculture has yet to be negotiated, Šimonytė said.

Eight candidates represent the conservatives, while their liberal coalition partners, the Freedom Party and the Liberal Movement, got three and two posts, respectively.

Six of the 13 candidates are women.

Environment Ministry: Simonas Gentvilas (Liberal Movement)

Energy Ministry: Dainius Kreivys (TS-LKD conservatives)

Economy and Innovation Ministry: Aušrinė Armonaitė (Freedom Party)

Finance Ministry: Gintarė Skaistė (TS-LKD conservatives)

Defence Ministry: Arvydas Anušauskas (TS-LKD conservatives)

Culture Ministry: Simonas Kairys (Liberal Movement)

Social Security and Labour Ministry: Monika Navickienė (TS-LKD conservatives)

Communications Ministry: Kasparas Adomaitis (Freedom Party)

Health Ministry: Arūnas Dulkys (TS-LKD conservatives)

Education, Science and Sports Ministry: Jurgita Šiugždinienė (TS-LKD conservatives)

Justice Ministry: Evelina Dobrovolska (Freedom Party)

Foreign Ministry: Gabrielius Landsbergis (TS-LKD conservatives)

Interior Ministry: Agnė Bilotaitė (TS-LKD conservatives)

Agriculture Ministry: TBD

Despite previous suggestions that he would not seek a ministerial position, conservative leader Gabrielius Landsbergis is tipped to head the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Meanwhile Aušrinė Armonaitė, the leader of the Freedom Party, is being proposed for economy minister, while Arūnas Dulkys, the country's former auditor general, may be the next health minister.

Šimonytė stressed on Wednesday that there was no final agreement with the president on the candidates yet.

“Since I have no official status yet that would let me form a government, all I can do is give the names of the people who, in my opinion, would be suitable for those positions,” she told reporters. “We will know whether those names will be submitted only after the president's authorisation to form a government.”

She also expressed her trust in Dulkys who would head the Health Ministry during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

“My choice comes in response to the situation we have now, and also systemic problems within the healthcare system. I believe Dulkys has accumulated good experience as auditor general and has a good understanding of systemic problems,” Šimonytė said.

Asked about Simonas Gentvilas, the candidate for environment minister, she said she had heard both support and doubts about him from the environmental protection community.

“I have received a number of inquiries from communities related to environmental protection, and those that voice support for Gentvilas, and also those that contain certain things against this candidate,” Šimonytė said.

She also expressed her confidence in Gintarė Skaistė whom she would like to see as finance minister.

"I believe Skaistė, who has a doctor's degree in economics, definitely has sufficient understanding of finances to lead the Finance Ministry. She was a member of the parliamentary Committee on Social Affairs and the parliamentary Committee on Budget and Finance, […] I have no doubt whatsoever in Gintarė's competence and responsibility,” Šimonytė said.

She also said that Landsbergis' connections could benefit Lithuania's foreign policy.

“My proposal has a number of motives. We have many people who could vie for the position of foreign minister. […] Landsbergis is the leader of one of the parties within the family of the European People's Party. I believe it’s a very important factor that could further enrich our foreign policy,” Šimonytė said.