Lithuanian PM, not parliament, must solve crisis over 3 ministers – president's office

  • 2023-05-20
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS – Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda's office on Friday called on Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte to take responsibility for dealing with the situation, rather than placing "the problem of three ministers" onto the shoulders of the parliament.

"We heard the decision of the party, not the decision of the head of government," the president's communication team told BNS, commenting on the proposal of the Homeland Union-Lithuanian Christian Democrats' presidium to initiate the parliament's resolution to call an early general election. 

"It is not right to turn the problem of three ministers into a problem for the parliament," it said. "The prime minister should take decisions and responsibility for the future of the government." 

The conservatives' proposal to call a snap election comes amid an emerging political crisis over the non-transparent use of funds by some municipal politicians.

Friday's meeting of the HU-LCD presidium was convened after Education, Science and Sport Jurgita Siugzdiniene, a member of the party, handed in her resignation to the prime minister amid doubts about the transparency of the 13,800 euros she spent as a member of the City Council of Kaunas in 2019-2020.

The presidium on Friday made no recommendations as far as Siugzdiniene is concerned. 

Simonyte has not said yet if she will accept Siugzdiniene's resignation. The prime minister reiterated her confidence in the minister on several occasions. 

However, the presidium recommended that the HU-LCD political group in the Seimas table, as soon as possible, changes to the regulation of municipal councils' expenses to introduce a common standard of transparency and accountability across all Lithuanian municipalities.

President Gitanas Nauseda on Thursday called for the education minister and two other ministers, for culture and finance, to step down, saying that they used funds as Kaunas councilors that they cannot justify now.

The Council's regulations do not require councilors to provide receipts for what they have spent their advances on.

Landsbergis said earlier on Friday that most politicians fail to meet the standards of transparency demanded by the public.

An early election is called if at least 85 members of the 141-seat parliament vote in favor of the motion.