Lietuva in brief - 2004-08-26

  • 2004-08-26
Prosecutors have finalized criminal accusations against Vilnius Mayor Arturas Zuokas in relation to last year's mayoral election, when a City Council member was supposedly pressured to vote for Zuokas. The Respublika daily reported that prosecutors refused to hear a request by Zuokas' lawyer to halt their pretrial investigation, which has also implicated Andrius Janukonis, CEO of the Rubicon Group.

A controversial parliamentary panel charged with investigating the operations of domestic intelligence agencies convened on Aug. 23. The panel, whose members come from only those parties that were implicated in a corruption probe made public this summer by the Special Investigation Service, was boycotted by the Liberal Democratic party and the Farmers and New Democracy Union.

The two parties of the current ruling parliamentary coalition-the Social Democratic party and New Union-Social Democrats-have signed a cooperation agreement for October's parliamentary elections. The parties will field a joint list of candidates for the election, while Parliamentary Chairman and New Union leader Arturas Paulauskas relinquished his spot at the top of the list to Social Democrat Ceslovas Jursenas.

The Farmers and New Democracy Union, led by MP Kazimiera Prunskiene (photo), held its party congress and approved a preliminary list of candidates, with Prunskiene at the top. The party rose sharply in the polls after the "Amber Lady" advanced to the second round of presidential elections in June. The Farmers Union is currently one of the five most popular parties in the country.

The second world congress of Litvaks, or Lithuanian Jews, was inaugurated on Aug. 23 in Vilnius. The congress, which is scheduled to last one week, brought together descendants of Lithuanian Jews from around the world and focused on cultural issues pertaining to the community. It featured concerts and discussions of the Litvaks' important scientific contributions.