Lietuva in brief - 2008-10-29

  • 2008-10-29
After the defeat in the general elections, Lithuania's first Prime Minister, Kazimira Prunskiene, plans to prepare the party for the future elections. She gave a skeptical view of her chances of running for president next year. "Being there, doing political work may be even more meaningful," Prunskiene, head of the Farmers' National Union said. "Analysis of the situation, reinforcement of the party, preparation for the series elections scheduled for the coming few years." Prunskiene was skeptical about her participation in the next year's presidential race, but did not rule out the possibility. "I believe the chances are not high under the current circumstances but everything will depend on the development of affairs in Lithuania over the coming six months," said the politician often called the "Amber Lady." She said she was willing to support another "competent and strong" candidate. Prunskiene did not win a parliamentary mandate after her Farmers' National Union failed to cross the required 5 percent threshold in the first round of elections. Three members of the Farmers' National Union won mandates in single-mandate voting. Prunskiene, who has been heading the Agriculture Ministry for the past few years, has been an active figure in Lithuania's political arena since 1990.

Armed Forces Commander Lieutenant General Valdas Tutkus will attend a meeting of the EU armed forces commanders in Brussels, tasked with electing the new chairman for the EU Military Committee. The new chairman will replace General Henri Bentegeat, the Defense Ministry said. The high-profile meeting will also overview European security and defense policy matters and EU operations. Currently, the EU is conducting two military operations - Althea in Bosnia and Herzegovina and a stability mission in Chad and the Central African Republic. During the meeting, the armed forces commanders will hear a report on the EU's scheduled military operation off the Somali coast.

United States Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff will soon visit Lithuania and will provide detailed information about the visa-free regime for Lithuanian citizens. His agenda also includes a meeting with President Valdas Adamkus. He is expected to say when Lithuanians can start traveling to the U.S. without an entry visa. Chertoff said the visa free regime will start between Nov.15 and Dec 1. He promised to give the exact date of lifting the visa regime as soon as possible. Unofficial sources say that the visa-free regime might enter into effect as of Nov. 17. Last week U.S. President George Bush declared that Lithuania and six other countries were being included in the U.S. Visa Waiver Program. Chertoff is also expected to visit the other Baltic states.

November in Lithuania will see exhibitions, open door days and other events in celebration of the 90th anniversary of the creation of the government. According to a press release from the governmental press service, the events will be aimed at introducing the public to the government's activities as an executive body and to remind people of the work done by the Cabinets in the inter-war era. On Nov. 6, when the first Cabinet of the Independent Lithuania held its first sitting 90 years ago, a stately sitting of the government will take place, to be attended by members of former governments and prominent public figures.