Lietuva in brief - 2006-07-12

  • 2006-07-12
Parliament passed a resolution whereby Feb. 25, 2007, was set as the date for municipal council elections. Under the law, municipal council elections shall be held no earlier than two months and not later than one month until the end of the city council's present term. Starting next year, it had been planned to elect mayors directly. But with half a year left until the elections, draft legislative acts for direct mayoral elections have stalled in Parliament. The government approved a draft amendment to the Constitution, but the document is still being considered on the committee level.

A new poll shows that Valdas Adamkus has managed to restore undermined public confidence in the president's institution. According to information available to public opinion and market research center Vilmorus, during the impeachment proceedings against former President Rolandas Paksas in April 2004, as many as 54 percent of Lithuanians said they did not trust the institution, and only 23 percent expressed confidence in it. In July 2004, shortly after the early elections won by Adamkus, 45 percent of respondents said they trusted the president and 25 percent had no confidence in him. A year later in June 2005, 57 percent of respondents said they trusted the president and 18 percent said they did not.

An investigation carried out by the Air Force established that the Russian military plane that flew into Lithuania from the Kaliningrad region last month did, indeed, violate Lithuania's airspace, Commander Colonel Arturas Leita said. "The investigation commission has established that a Su-27 fighter of the Russian Air Force violated Lithuania's airspace on June 29 by entering some three kilometers into the country and staying here for about one minute," Leita said. In his words, the violation was recorded by Lithuania's Airspace Surveillance and Control Command radars. All Lithuanian military institutions reacted properly to the violation and observed established procedures.

Fires raged throughout the week due an ongoing heat wave (see story Page 1) Almost 800 fires were reported in Lithuania over the past several days, the national radio has reported. Moor fires that started last weekend have not been extinguished so far, with five moors in Siauliai, Pakruojis, Kedainiai, Radviliskis, Panevezys districts still ablaze. Day temperatures of around plus 30 degrees Celsius have prevailed in Lithuania for over a week. Hot weather is forecast to stay in the country for the coming several days, which may cause more fires.

The Social Democratic Party has expressed its support for Alexander Kozulin, the leader of Belarus' Social Democrats who faces six years in prison. The Lithuanian Social Democratic Youth Union staged a protest action near the Belarusian Embassy in Vilnius on July 11 to express solidarity with Kozulin. "We're protesting against the current policy pursued by Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko," Juras Pozela, chairman of the youth union's Vilnius office told the Baltic News Service. Kozulin was detained in Minsk on March 25 during a rally.