VILNIUS - Lithuanian Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis on Tuesday expressed his confidence in Transport and Communications Minister Jaroslav Narkevic.
"I have confidence in him," Skvernelis told reporters.
According to Skvernelis, criticism against Narkevic, whom President Gitanas Nauseda has repeatedly urged to resign, has proven groundless.
"One has to have a concrete reason to step down. Although someone tried to say that legal and moral things are different, there is no law without morality. And all of those reproaches have shrunk," he said.
The council of the three-party government coalition plans to decide on Narkevic's future in the post on Tuesday evening.
Narkevic was nominated for the post of transport minister by the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania–Christian Families Alliance after it joined the government coalition following last summer's presidential election.
In late November, President Gitanas Nauseda said he no longer had confidence in the transport minister and called on him to resign.
In his six months in the job, Narkevic has been criticized for sacking the management board of the state postal company Lietuvos Pastas (Lithuanian Post), his behavior during his visit to the UAE, for allocating funds for asphalt paving of streets in his election constituency and the one leading to Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis' home, and other issues
Nauseda also said last week that Narkevic had arranged for at least 20 members of the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania–Christian Families or related people to be employed by companies controlled by his ministry.
On Tuesday, Skvernelis dismissed the president's statement as "an absurd accusation".
Ramunas Karbauskis, the leader of the Farmers and Greens Union, the biggest party in the parliament, told reporters that the coalition was ready to take responsibility for the minister's activities.
Both Skvernelis and Karbauskis said a decision to leave Narkevic in the post was unlikely to adversely affect the ruling bloc's relations with Nauseda.
"We assume responsibility for our decisions. I don't think relations should deteriorate because we take responsibility for the minister," Karbauskis said.