Parliament confirmed the nomination of Algirdas Butkevicius as the new Lithuania's Prime Minister. During the discussion supporters praised leader of Social Democrats for his experience, competence, tolerance and caution, while opposition representatives called him spineless.
Parliament confirmed the nomination of Algirdas Butkevicius as the new Lithuania's Prime Minister. During the discussion supporters praised leader of Social Democrats for his experience, competence, tolerance and caution, while opposition representatives called him spineless. Butkevicius has been a member of the Parliament since 1996. He served as the Minister of Finance, in 2004-2005, and the Minister of Transport, in 2006-2008. According to the Constitution, it is the prerogative of the President to appoint and dismiss the Prime Minister, upon the endorsement of the Parliament. The Prime Minister, within 15 days of his appointment, shall submit to the Parliament the Cabinet, which he has formed and which has been approved by the President. However, the Government formation sparked a dispute with President Dalia Grybauskaite. She still disapproves of Butkevicius' decision of forming a coalition government with participation of the left-wing populist Labour party. Labour party has been accused of vote buying. It is also a subject to a long-running fraud probe. Grybauskaite urged Butkevicius to protect the honour of his party and form the Cabinet without the members of the Labour party. Butkevicius ensured he will inform the Labour Party as to the President's position on formation of the Government, but otherwise made no promises. While the Cabinet needs presidential assent, the Constitutional Court ruling from 1998 imposes that the head of state should not ignore the will of the parliamentary majority. The Social Democrats and Labour Party formed the coalition with the smaller right-wing populist Order and Justice party and the ethnic Polish party. The coalition will have a total of 86 seats in the 141-member Parliament. Soundbite (Lithuanian) Eligijus Masiulis, MP, leader of the oppositional Liberal Movement: I have an impression that Butkevičius has become a hostage of the present political situation in Lithuania. On the one hand, he is aware of the President's strong and uncompromising position, while on the other - he is forced to take into account the demands of the Labour Party, as a partner in the coalition. Soundbite (Lithuanian) Povilas Gylys, MP: In many aspects, he is an appropriate candidate. He is not a man of conflict, but rather a mobilizing man. However, sometimes I ask myself a question, if in such a complicated situation the candidate will have enough political and personal strength to make decisions that are necessary for the country. Soundbite (Lithuanian) Algirdas Butkevicius, leader of Social Democrats: On the one part, I have to admit that I am aware of the huge commitment I’m assuming, and I’m grateful for the trust in me. On the other part, I feel highly responsible to the Lithuanian people, and I sincerely hope that I will not disappoint them. I will make every effort to implement the specific measures that would lead to certain positive changes in our state.