2020.01.13 16:30

Former president Grybauskaitė weighs in on transport minister controversy: ‘tragicomic’

BNS2020.01.13 16:30

Lithuania's former president, Dalia Grybauskaitė, says Transport Minister Jaroslav Narkevič, who has attracted criticism and calls to resign, should have not been appointed minister in the first place.

“The situation is very bad. I believe such a minister should have not been appointed in the first place. The whole battle now seems tragicomic,” she told journalists at the parliament on Monday.

Current President Gitanas Nausėda, who appointed Narkevič in August last year, has said he does not have confidence in the minister and has called for his resignation.

Narkevič has attracted criticism for sacking the management board of the state postal company Lietuvos Paštas (Lithuanian Post), for his behavior during a recent visit to the UAE and for directing funds to pave streets in his own constituency and leading to the prime minister's house.

Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis says the ruling coalition will make a decision about the minister on Tuesday.

Asked by journalists whether the president lacks powers to force Narkevič out, Grybauskaitė said it was a matter of using the powers given by the Constitution.

“The president is capable of everything. Constitutionally, we are a mixed semi-parliamentary state with the president's powers very clearly defined constitutionally, and everything depends on the president and how he uses those powers,” Grybauskaitė said.

‘Political decency’

While resolving the issue of Transport Minister Jaroslav Narkevic, Lithuania's ruling parties will demonstrate their political decency, Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda says.

“All has been said, all the necessary information has been handed over. People just have to decide whether they are on the side of morality and political decency, or they are moulding something," Nausėda told journalists at the parliament where he attended a solemn sitting commemorating the January 13, 1991, Soviet aggression in Lithuania.

Meanwhile Ramūnas Karbauskis, the leader of the ruling Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Union, reiterated to BNS on Monday that he saw no reason to dismiss the transport minister.

No good decisions

Prime Minister Skvernelis said that the ruling coalition's meeting on Tuesday would address more than just the transport minister issue, but will decide on the future of the coalition.

“The matter of the political agenda, [maintaining] the majority and cooperation [among coalition partners] will be considered as well,” Skvernelis told reporters at the parliament on Monday.

Narkevič will be asked to report on his performance in the post and address the criticism levied against him, according to the prime minister.

Whatever the ruling parties decide to do with Transport Minister Narkevič, it will not be a good decision, Skvernelis believes.

“Whatever the decision might be, it will not be a good decision in any way. Whatever it will be, let's wait for it tomorrow,” the prime minister said.

Read more: Transport minister filled state-owned companies with his people – Lithuanian president