Lithuanian officials have detained two Irish citizens associated with the Real Irish Republican Army paramilitary organization. Michael Campbell (35) and an unidentified Irish woman were taken into custody after Campbell allegedly tried to buy firearms from an undercover police agent who was posing as an international arms dealer, BNS reported on Jan. 23. It is thought that the firearms were intended for a splinter group of the RIRA, which is led by Campbell's brother Liam. The operation was organized by international security agencies, the State Security Department and the Defense Ministry. Prosecutor Irmantas Mikelionis said the suspects will face trial in Lithuania. "Execution of a sentence is a separate question," Mikelionis noted.
Ramunas Karbauskis, Vice-chairman of the Peasant Popular Union, quit his party on Jan. 27. Karbauskis noted he had been in the voting minority of the party for the three last years, Lietuvos Rytas reported. He criticized the party's decision to form a joint faction with the Civil Democracy Party within the ruling coalition and later, the idea of uniting the two parties. Although the merger never happened and the faction collapsed on Jan. 16, Karbauskis said he felt a lack of confidence in his colleagues. At the Peasant Popular Union's congress, Karbauskis proposed holding a no-confidence vote on his own post, and when that was rejected, he resigned. He said his resignation also serves as a protest against a lack of democratic principles on the part of his party's leader, Kazimira Prunskiene.
An informal right wing coalition uniting the Conservatives, Christian Democrats, National Union, Liberal Movement and non-affiliated public figures was formed on Jan. 25. The coalition aims to bring the parties together and ensure a better quality of politics in Lithuania, the Conservatives' leader Andrius Kubilius told BNS. Organizers drafted a Seven Post Program, which covers Lithuania's biggest problems and proposed solutions. Lack of political will, poverty, inequality, corruption, alcoholism and suicide were listed as the main issues that need to be tackled.