VILNIUS - The presidium of the Lithuanian Social Democratic Party (LSDP) on Nov. 11 endorsed outgoing Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius as the party's candidate to keep his position in the new government and approved Mindaugas Sinkevicius, mayor of the central Lithuanian town of Jonava, for the job of economy minister; and Darius Petrosius, a member of the Seimas, for that of justice minister.
"The presidium decided to propose three candidates: Linas Linkevicius for foreign minister, Mindaugas Sinkevicius for economy minister, and Darius Petrosius for justice minister," Algirdas Butkevicius, the LSDP leader, told the media after the presidium's meeting.
The Social Democrats also identified outgoing Finance Minister Rasa Budbergyte as a possible candidate for the post of defense minister, although the party is not expected to hold this portfolio under its coalition agreement with the Lithuanian Peasant and Green Union, which won the most votes in last month's parliamentary election.
"There have been discussions lately that nobody has been proposed for the post of defense minister. It was said during the (coalition) talks that other parties might propose candidates too, and we do believe that Budbergyte is a rather strong candidate as a politician who has earned a good name for her work in (the outgoing) government and that she could be considered as a candidate," the outgoing Social Democratic prime minister stated.
The LSDP presidium has suggested Butkevicius and Gediminas Kirkilas as candidates for the position of deputy Seimas speaker.
Concerning the likelihood of being asked to take on the job himself, Butkevicius said: "I don't know. It will be decided by secret ballot (in the parliament). We'll see.”
The Social Democrats have named outgoing Justice Minister Juozas Bernatonis as a potential head of the parliament's Committee on Foreign Affairs and Algirdas Sysas as head of the Committee on Social Affairs and Labor. Gediminas Kirkilas is likely to retain his post of head of the Committee on European Affairs and Julius Sabatauskas is to continue as head of the Committee on Legal Affairs.
The LPGU won 56 seats in the 141-member parliament. The Social Democrats earned 17 seats in the election, but the LSDP political group in the Seimas will have 19 members after two Labour Party lawmakers elected in single-seat constituencies have joined.