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Search for PM continues amid summer swelter

  • 2006-06-28
  • Staff and wire reports
VILNIUS - Two weeks after Parliament failed to confirm Zigmantas Balcytis, a Social Democrat, as prime minister, the search for another candidate continues, though there was no indication from the Presidential Palace whether the next candidate would come from the right- or left-wing blocs.

On June 23, 26 and 27, President Valdas Adamkus met with party leaders to discuss scenarios and hear the vision of what the next government's tasks should be.
The Social Liberals, the Conservatives and the Liberal Movement have formed a coalition 's Breakthrough 's and expressed their willingness to form the next Cabinet.

The Social Democrats have teamed up with the National Farmers' Union and the Liberal and Center Union to create the next coalition. While they have numerical superiority, the fact that their first candidate, Balcytis, failed to muster a majority of votes could sway the president to nominate someone from the right-wing.
The Labor Party, which is currently under investigation for financial violations and whose leader is in Russia on sick leave, has so far not aligned itself with either bloc. The Conservatives refuse to work with them, and Laborites have taken umbrage with the Social Democrats for the series of scandals that toppled the previous government and split the party in two. Former Labor MPs who have left the party are, however, cooperating with the Social Democrat-led bloc.

After Parliament rejected the candidate, the president has 15 days to nominate another candidate.
Arturas Paulauskas, who leads the New Union (Social Liberals), said the Social Liberals had told the president that the next government should implement radical reforms and step up the fight against corruption.
"It is important to have a government, and that it ensures the implementation of these tasks. If there was such a government, we would support it," Paulauskas said when asked if the Social Liberals would support a left-wing government led by the Social Democrats. The two parties used to be close allies but are now at odds after the Social Democrats failed to defend Paulauskas from a Labor Party-led attempt to discredit the former speaker of Parliament.

"If there were left-wing forces speaking in favor of renewal, setting the political system closer to people, we would support [the new government]," Paulauskas said.
The leader of the Liberal Movement, which is made up of several MPs who broke away from the Liberal/Centrist Union, said he believes in the future of the Breakthrough bloc and refuses to pledge "automatic" support for a minority government that may be formed by left-wingers.

"We do not guarantee automatic support for anyone. There should be separate conversations 's we have to see whom we support. We are not ready and have no interest in supporting names only," Petras Austrevicius, chairman of the Liberal Movement, said after a meeting with Adamkus on June 27.
In Austrevicius' words, the Liberal Movement is encouraging colleagues from the Breakthrough coalition to stay determined.
"Ideas and positions expressed by us are topical to the public 's they could certainly lead the country to certain reforms and life changes. We think that we should remain optimists, that we can form such a coalition," Austrevicious said.
In his words, a broad coalition is possible as well, "one should view the prospect in a somewhat new way, responsibly, with certain commitments from all sides, putting personal ambitions aside."

Meanwhile, Parliament voted on June 27 to extend its spring session until July 20 after the legislature failed to confirm Balcytis for the prime minister's spot.
According to the Constitution, there are two parliamentary sessions 's the fall session and the spring session. The spring session commences on March 10 and ends on June 30, and the fall session starts on Sept. 10 and ends on Dec. 23.