Lietuva in brief - 2006-06-28

  • 2006-06-28
The Prosecutor General's Office has raised criminal accusations against the Labor Party, Parliament's largest party, which is suspected of having non-transparent financial activities. According to unofficial information, prosecutors have discovered Labor Party's "black accounting" records - unlawful payments not only to members of the Labor Party but also to MPs of other parties. During the investigation, prosecutors questioned three persons as suspects and carried out searches at the Labor Party's main office, during which the party's computers were seized. Several members of the Labor Party, including its acting leader Loreta Grauziniene, were questioned. In the wake of the scandal, Labor founder and leader Uspaskich suspended his powers and left for Russia a month ago.

Parliament rejected a proposal to withdraw Lithuanian troops from Iraq. MPs voted on June 27 to turn down a draft resolution proposing "to recall the servicemen of the Republic of Lithuania participating in the U.S.-led international military operation in the Persian Gulf region." Six parliamentarians voted in favor of the draft, while 27 MPs were against and 20 abstained.

Lithuanian residents are being urged to demand that members of the European Parliament stop their monthly travels between Brussels and Strasbourg and save funds by holding meetings in one city. The European Parliament is located in Brussels; however, MEPs once a month move to the French city of Strasbourg with their staff and crates of documents for EP plenary sessions. Recently it was announced that the Strasbourg city authorities would annually save 2.7 million euros in additional expenses if the "traveling circus" between Brussels and Strasbourg stopped. MEP Eugenijus Gentvilas said the MEPs that had organized the above initiative wanted to collect 1 million EU citizens' signatures and submit the petition to the European Commission. Some 647,000 signatures have been collected in EU member states, but Lithuanian citizens have not been active in signing the petition - only about 1,500 of the country's residents have supported the initiative.