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Lithuanian president appoints Skvernelis-led Cabinet

  • 2016-11-29
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS - Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite on Tuesday signed a decree to appoint a new Cabinet led by Prime Minister-designate Saulius Skvernelis.

The Cabinet is composed of 11 ministers proposed by the Lithuanian Peasant and Green Union and three proposed by the Social Democrats.

The new government will take office after its programme is approved by the Seimas and the ministers are sworn in.

The members of the new Cabinet include Kestutis Navickas, chairman of the Coalition of Lithuanian Environmental Organisations, as environment minister; Zygimantas Vaiciunas, currently Lithuania's energy attache in Brussels, as energy minister; and Vilius Sapoka, a former director of the Financial Services and Markets Supervision Department at the central Bank of Lithuania, as finance minister.

Raimundas Karoblis, a diplomat who holds the position of deputy foreign minister in the outgoing government of Social Democratic Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevicius, will be the next defense minister; and Liana Ruokyte-Jonsson, an actor, translator, and cultural diplomat, is the new culture minister.

Linas Kukuraitis, a social science expert who presently leads the charity organisation Caritas of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Vilnius, was appointed social security and labour minister; and outgoing Energy Minister Rokas Masiulis, an economist by profession, was assigned the position of transport minister in the new coalition government.

Aurelijus Veryga, a professor of biomedical sciences and a member of the new Seimas, was named as health minister; Jurgita Petrauskiene, director of the research and higher education monitoring and analysis centre MOSTA, as education and science minister; and Social Democrat Julius Pagojus, a former deputy justice minister who presently heads the State Consumer Rights Protection Authority, as justice minister. While Pagojus was selected for the post on Monday, his name was not revealed until today.

Linas Linkevicius, a Social Democrat, will remain as the foreign minister.

Other members of the new Cabinet include Mindaugas Sinkevicius, a Social Democrat who has held the position of mayor in the central Lithuanian district of Jonava since April 2011, as economy minister; Eimutis Misiunas, currently a judge, as interior minister; and Bronius Markauskas, a farmer and former chairman of the Lithuanian Chamber of Agriculture, as agriculture minister.

Grybauskaite said when announcing the new Cabinet lineup today that her primary requirements for the candidates were knowledge of their respective field and an exceptional reputation.

"In consultation with the prime minister, we managed to find people meeting the principles and these requirements to fill all positions," she told the press.

According to the president, the Cabinet lineup "gives hope that it is possible to move to a higher quality state administration than it has been up to now."

Grybauskaite underscored the value of co-operation between the new government and the new parliament and voiced her hope that politicians would display "a political culture based on the interests of all people of Lithuania."

"I wish the new Cabinet and the newly-elected Seimas success in their joint work and in meeting people's expectations to have a transparent and responsible government," she said.

Grybauskaite appointed Skvernelis, who led the Peasants and Greens to their victory in last month's parliamentary elections though not a member of the party, as prime minister last week.