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Lietuva in brief

Jun 04, 2014

MP Neringa Venckiene, who who has not been attending parliamentary sittings for some time, and MP Jonas Varkala have registered draft amendments which establish a legal restriction that limits the number of terms a member of Parliament may serve in office, reports ELTA. According to the draft, the same person may not be elected as MP for more than two successive terms. “Such legal regulation would encourage renewal of the Lithuanian Seimas, would reduce the possibilities for corruption and thereby create necessary preconditions for effective work by MPs,” claim the authors of the draft. At present there are no term limits imposed on the Seimas.

On the morning of May 22 Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevicius told Ziniu Radijas radio that the government intends to increase military expenditures after the presidential election, reports ELTA. “We will increase the amount as much as financial possibilities allow us to, without breaching our financial commitments. We will indeed consider this question in the nearest future, after the elections, so that there is little speculation about the issue. [Funding] will indeed be increased, although I cannot tell the exact amount yet,” said the prime minister. Parliamentary Committee on National Security and Defense proposed to increase defense spending this year by at least 100 million litas (29 million euros) and to reach 1 percent of GDP in 2015. Currently, 0.78 percent of GDP is devoted to defense, which is one of the lowest figures among NATO countries. Seven political parties signed an agreement at the Presidential Palace on March 29 regarding strategic foreign, security and defense policy guidelines. It also includes provisions to increase military expenditure to 2 percent of GDP by 2020.

Member of Parliament Kestutis Masiulis has proposed to allow youngsters aged 16 and older to work in electoral commissions, reports ELTA. Currently the age threshold is set at 18. “Work in a commission is not difficult; it does not require higher education, while the youth sometimes are better prepared for such activities. They know how to handle electronic technology and command more foreign languages. Work in commissions would be a good experience for young people, an opportunity to earn, as well as promotion of citizenship and impartiality to democracy,” said Masiulis, who drafted the amendment. According to him, chairmen of the commissions have complained numerous times that it is difficult to attract competent people due to low payment and a high workload. “The results of the presidential election first voting round came in after midnight, even though they were anticipated to be received at 10-11 p.m. In the second round many ballots were classed as invalid, there were many mistakes. One of the reasons behind this might have been the lack of young people in electoral commissions. Their eyesight is better, they count faster, make fewer mistakes and would eagerly earn some money,” Masiulis said.

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