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Kirkilas proposes Cabinet to Adamkus

  • 2006-07-12
  • Staff and wire reports

MAKE US PROUD: President Adamkus (left) said he hopes that Kirkilas (right) will become a true statesman.

VILNIUS - Prime Minister designate Gediminas Kirkilas overcame a series of tough compromises among potential coalition partners this week and managed to cull together a tentative Cabinet for the president's approval. Kirkilas presented his vision of Lithuania's next Cabinet to President Valdas Adamkus on July 11, which includes six ministerial posts for the Social Democrats, three for the National Farmers and two each for the Civil Democrats and the Liberal Centrists.

The president's spokeswoman, Rita Grumadaite, said that "the president approves of the candidates, but will express his final opinion after meeting with them."

The proposal came after Kirkilas and Adamkus had to call a break in their meeting on July 11 for unexplained reasons. Coalition partners failed to divide ministerial posts in the future Cabinet among themselves on July 10, since the Civil Democracy party asked for three ministerial portfolios instead of one, as agreed last week.
Should the president approve the Cabinet, Lithuania will get a minority government, as the four parties have 53 votes in the 141-seat legislature.

President Adamkus appointed Kirkilas, a Social Democrat, as head of the nation's 14th government last week after a majority of MPs in session confirmed the candidacy. The previous candidate, acting Finance Minister Zigmantas Balcytis, also a Social Democrat, failed to muster a majority of votes.
Adamkus, who recently returned from a week of trips, did not conceal his frustration with the situation.
"I am not in a very good mood after returning. Tension, especially in politics, among parties, has not disappeared. Our political system has reached a dead end. Parliament's agreement in voting on the candidacy of Social Democrat Kirkilas is just a consequence of this sad situation," he said in an interview with the Lietuvos Rytas daily.

Adamkus expressed hope that Kirkilas would become, not just a technical head of the government, but also a statesman. The president also confirmed the general assumption that he was disappointed with the country's right-wing politicians, for whom he has often expressed support.
"There is lack of sincere idealism on both sides. Narrow interests are winning, and this helps determine the political situation. I understand that every party seeks power. This is sought by various means acceptable in a democratic country. But there are moments 's and now our country is in such a time 's when everything has to be put aside and completely different principles and ideals must be followed," Adamkus said.

According to Kirkilas' plan, acting Finance Minister Balcytis has been nominated for the post of finance minister, Social Democrat MP Algirdas Butkevicius for communications minister, Juozas Olekas, current elder of the Social Democratic Party's parliamentary group, for defense minister, acting Environment Minister Arunas Kundrotas for environment minister, MP Roma Zakaitiene for science and education minister, and Vilija Blinkeviciute, who has recently left the New Union (Social Liberals) and joined the Social Democratics, for social security and labor minister.
From the Liberal and Center Union, MP Raimondas Sukys was proposed for the post of interior minister, and Jonas Jucas for culture minister.

The National Farmers' Union will hold three ministerial portfolios: leader Kazimira Prunskiene will stay on as agriculture minister and Vytas Navickas, current head of the parliamentary Committee on Economics, has been proposed for economy minister and Ambassador to Belarus Petras Vaitiekunas for foreign minister.
The Civil Democracy Party, a new group made up of MPs that left the Labor Party, will get two posts: MP Rimvydas Turcinskas as health minister and MP Petras Baguska as justice minister.

In the opposition, the Conservatives and Social Liberals made it clear they had gripes to air.
Andrius Kubilius, leader of the Homeland Union (Conservatives), said "They [the Social Democrats] should not forget us, as our support refraining from the vote is needed for them as well. If they think that support will be automatically guaranteed upon bringing an already approved list of candidates for ministers, they are wrong."

The Conservatives said they disapproved of the candidacy of Sukys for interior minister, while the Social Liberals, in addition to Sukys, object to the candidacy of Blinkeviciute for labor minister and Baguska for justice minister.
Arturas Paulauskas, leader of the Social Liberals, said on July 11 that he did not rule out the possibility that the group would vote against the government's program. He also expressed a negative opinion about Blinkeviciute, who recently left the Social Liberals.

Thus, the Conservatives and Social Liberals formed a Breakthrough group in the hope of securing the president's confidence and forming the new Cabinet.
The Social Democrats and the Conservatives signed an agreement whereby the Conservatives have pledged not to hinder the formation of the government and the Social Democrats promised to include opposition's proposals in the governmental program.