Lietuva in brief - 2008-05-08

  • 2008-05-08
Deputy Vilnius Mayor Evaldas Lementauskas resigned from the city council after coming under accusations of bribery. Lementauskas sent his resignation to the leader of Justice and Order party, former President Rolandas Paksas. Justice and Order's presidium has immediately suspended party membership for Lementauskas and two others after they were apprehended by the Special Investigations Service. All three remain in custody. Paksas assured the media that his party hopes to remain in the ruling coalition of Lithuania after these resignations.

The Citizenship Committee of Lithuania granted citizenship to Roman Catholic priest Stasis Zilis, who has been a Lithuanian emigre community activist for several decades and helped Lithuanians overseas to maintain close ties with the homeland. Since 1959 Monsenior Zilis has worked in the Pope's collegiate in Rome. Among the dignitaries who had signed the petition to render Lithuanian citizenship to Monsenior Stasis Zilis were Lithuanian Ambassador to Italy Sarunas Adomavicius, Archbishop of Vilnius Audris-Juozas Backis, Rector of St. Kazimir Papal Collegiate in Lithuania Piatras Siuris, board member of the World Council of Lithuanians Gabrielius Ziamkalnis and others.

A student council has conducted an Internet poll among 1,144 students of colleges and universities of Lithuania. Most respondents would like to see Social Liberal MP Algirdas Monkiavicius as minister of education and science. About 34 percent of Lithuanian students would support Monkiavicius as the best candidate. Second preference the respondents gave to MP Maria-Ausrine Pavilenene (33 percent), while Arturas Zukauskas, director of the Applied Sciences and Materials Studies Institute, finished third with 32 percent of the votes.

The Vilmorus pollster evaluated the attitude of Lithuanians toward EU membership and found that 73.2 percent of respondents perceive membership in the European Union as positive, while 14.4 per cent have a negative attitude and 12.4 percent are indifferent. The polls showed 70 percent approval rate when Lithuania joined EU in May 2004. The highest expectations were registered by the public opinion poll in October 2004 when there was an 83 percent approval rating. By May 2006 the approval rate had slid to 65 percent.