Lietuva in brief - 2009-05-21

  • 2009-05-21
The Constitutional Court of Lithuania (CC) ruled on May 15 that the parliament must dismiss the head of the Supreme Court once their term expires, thus setting limitations to MPs discretion of free voting. The CC noted that otherwise the MPs would depart from the constitutional rule of law principle and the mandate of a MP would be used against the requirements enshrined in the constitution. As The Baltic Times previously reported President Valdas Adamkus was forced to address the CC, because the parliament has twice rejected the dismissal of Vytautas Greicius, the head of the Supreme Court, whose mandate term expired a year ago. MPs interpreted voting on the issue as a test of their "free mandate."

Lithuanian President Valdas Adamkus received Sir Roger Moore, an actor and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, on May 15. Moore, the world-famous British actor and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, visited Lithuania on an invitation by Alma Adamkiene Charity and Support Fund and the Lithuanian National Committee for UNICEF. He came to enlist support and donations for UNICEF programs. The funds raised during his visit will be allocated to children education projects in Lithuania and Morocco. Adamkus noted that in the ongoing global crisis, particular attention should be placed on such areas as culture, education and science. "In the present economic downturn, we must focus special attention on our future 's the children," he said.

The Lithuanian government approved the delimitations of the Jewish graveyard in Vilnius' center provided by the Department of Cultural Heritage on May 17. In accordance with the plan, King Mindaugas' building and other buildings are not in the area of the graveyard. Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius said the government has distinguished two territories 's one is the graveyard area, and the other one is a safety zone. The King Mindaugas' apartment building is in the safety zone of the graveyard, which was functioning from the 16th to 18th century.

Having survived an interpellation, Finance Minister Algirdas Semeta still faces further challenges. On May 19, Social Democrat MPs requested the Parliamentary Commission for Ethics and Procedures to evaluate the disrespectful remarks Semeta allegedly made toward Vilija Blinkeviciute, a Social Democrat MP. Blinkeviciute, a former minister of social affairs, criticized Semeta during the first session of interpellation procedure on May 14, when the finance minister was questioned by MPs about his activities and financial decisions.

The Lithuanian parliament hosted a conference on breastfeeding policy on May 19. The event was organized by MP Asta Baukute, who shocked conservative Lithuanians by breastfeeding her son in the Seimas parliamentary chamber last year. "A small drop of milk can solve many problems" Baukute said. Many participating women agreed that it is time to change the view on breastfeeding in Lithuania. About 30 percent of Lithuanian women breastfeed their babies until they are six months old, while in Scandinavian countries, the numbers reach 70-80 percent of mothers.