Lithuania's coalition of instability

  • 2006-04-26
  • From wire reports
VILNIUS - After the New Union (Social Liberals) withdrew from the ruling coalition and recalled its two ministers, the running total of ministers replaced in the current government is now six. Pursuant to the Constitution, a government must receive Parliament's approval anew if more than half the members of the Cabinet are replaced. There are 13 ministers in this the 13th government of Lithuania, and the prime minister is the 14th.

Led by Social Democrat Algirdas Brazauskas, the government received authorization to work in December 2004. The coalition was formed by four parties 's the New Union, the Labor Party, the Farmer's Union and New Democracy Parties and the Social Democratic Party.
The Labor Party and the Social Democratic Party had five ministers each in the coalition, the New Union had two and the Union of Farmers' and New Democracy Parties one.
Brazauskas, the leader of the Social Democratic Party, was appointed the prime minister on Nov. 29, 2004. The parliament approved the government's program and the government received authorization to work on Dec. 14, 2004.
But it quickly went downhill. Juozas Antanavicius, former rector of the Academy of Music, was the first minister to leave the government. He was dismissed from the post of education and science minister even before starting work.
The president signed a decree on the composition of the government, which included Antanavicius, on Dec. 7, 2004, and inked a decree on Antanavicius' dismissal two days later.

Two more members of the government were replaced in mid-May last year.
On May 13, the president signed a decree whereby Social Democrat Zigmantas Balcytis was dismissed from the post of communications minister and was appointed finance minister.
By another decree, Adamkus fired Algirdas Butkevicius from the position of finance minister.
Former Economy Minister Petras Cesna was appointed the communications minister on June 10.
The leader of the Labor Party, Viktor Uspaskich, was the fourth minister to leave the government. The president signed a decree on his dismissal from the post of economy minister on June 21 and appointed to the position Kestutis Dauksys, a member of the Labor Party, a week later.
Two other ministers will be replaced in the coming weeks. After the parliament ousted Arturas Paulauskas from the office of parliamentary speaker on April 11, the New Union (Social Liberals) said it was leaving the coalition and recalling its ministers from the government. The Social Liberal ministers of foreign affairs and social security and labor, Antanas Valionis and Vilija Blinkeviciute, have submitted their resignations to the prime minister.
During a meeting on April 25, coalition partners agreed that the post of foreign minister would go to the National Farmers' Union and the Social Security and Labor Ministry would be headed by a minister delegated by the Labor Party.
Under the Constitution, ministers are appointed and dismissed by the president at the prime minister's proposal.