Incoming Defense Minister Rasa Jukneviciene has said that basic military training for all fit Lithuanian youths, as inscribed in the campaign program of the conservatives, will not be forgotten. She said that Lithuania must be ready to defend itself. "It became even more clear to me following the events in Georgia that Lithuania needs to focus on defending its territory and the implementation of article three of the NATO [Treaty]. I think NATO should also draw attention to the security of this region, keeping in mind the Alliance's own defense capacities and issues of defending the NATO territory in general, as we are a composite part of NATO," she said. Jukneviciene said she's unsure how this would be implemented, but confirmed it for the government program. The national defense part of the plan will be formed on the grounds of the party program drawn up by the Conservatives.
Leaders of the coalition parties will sign an official agreement for joint operation this week. Eligijus Masiulis said the key step is agreeing on a plan of specific measures to enable the new bloc to save state funds and endure the imminent economic crisis. According to the agreement of the four partners, the anti-crisis scheme should become part of the coalition agreement. Arunas Valinskas, the leader of the National Resurrection Party, said that the signing of the document in the short term was a realistic plan. In his words, the document should be signed before the first meeting of the newly-elected parliament. The new line-up of the Seimas is due to hold its first meeting Monday, Nov. 17.
TV show hostess Daiva Tamosiunaite-Budre, who won a parliamentary mandate in the October general elections through the list of the National Resurrection Party, has given up her mandate. Aleksandras Sacharukas will fill her seat. She did not state why she gave up the seat.
One in two residents of Lithuania's largest cities hold a bad or a very bad opinion about the performance of the outgoing Social Democrat parliament and the government of Gediminas Kirkilas, shows a poll published in the Veidas weekly magazine. According to the survey, the work of the Seimas [Lithuanian parliament] was described as bad or very bad by 49.11 percent of respondents, 36.24 said MPs did fine and 2.38 percent said they did well or very well. About 52 percent of respondents expressed a negative opinion about the Kirkilas government. Another 32.28 percent said that the government's performance was sufficient and 3.37 percent referred to it as good or excellent.
Lithuanians will be able to enjoy visa-free travel to Taiwan as of Nov. 21. Lithuanian citizens planning to visit in Taiwan for a period of no longer than 30 days won't need an entry visa, but will still require their passport in hand, the Defense Ministry said in a press release. A visa regime for Taiwanese traveling to Lithuania is still in place.