Lietuva in brief - 2004-05-27

  • 2004-05-27
A survey compiled by the Vilmorus polling agency and broadcast by TV3 on May 21 revealed that former President Valdas Adamkus (photo) would garner more than twice the number of votes as his closest competitor if the presidential elections were held in mid-May. Twenty-nine percent of respondents said they would vote for Adamkus, while 14 percent would vote for Social Security and Labor Minister Vilija Blinkeviciute.The Homeland Union - Conservatives decided on May 24 to support the candidacy of Petras Austrevicius. In chairman Andrius Kubilius' words, Adamkus will make it to the second round anyway, so it was important to send a signal of support to Austrevicius so that two rightests made it to the second round.

The daily Lietuvos rytas reported that the migration department would soon expel Yuri Borisov, former President Rolandas Paksas' chief financial sponsor. The department had originally planned to wait until July to hear Borisov's appeal to an earlier ruling declaring him persona non grata based on information from the State Security Department that he was a threat to national security.

The Superior Administration Court an-nounced that it would hear an appeal filed by the Interior Ministry as to reinstating state border guard chief Algimantas Songaila (photo) in September. An earlier decision by a lower court dictated that Songaila should be returned to his former post. Songaila was sacked after being named as a possible threat to state security in investigations related to Paksas' impeachment.

After a hiatus of more than half a year due to the presidential impeachment process and diplomatic bribery scandals, Lithuania will once again begin to appoint ambassadors to its diplomatic installations abroad. The local press reported that the parliamentary foreign affairs committee is set to appoint envoys to Poland, Turkey and Hungary.

Prime Minister Algirdas Brazauskas joined Marek Balka, his Polish counterpart, in the ethnically Lithuanian Polish border town of Punsk on May 22. The two men opened a Lithuanian cultural house in Punsk before discussing matters of mutual national interest, such as the Via Baltica highway and Rail Baltica high-speed rail projects.

The Seimas (Lithuania's parliament) passed a law on May 25 that will create the country's first integrated emergency response system. By September, residents who dial 112 on their telephones will be able to report crimes, health emergencies or fires. Previously, it was necessary to dial separate numbers for different emergencies.