Lietuva in brief - 2009-05-07

  • 2009-05-07
Interior Minister Raimundas Palaitis has criticized Parliament for procrastination in legitimizing the possibility to anonymously abandon newborn babies. On May 4, the country was shaken by the news of horrid findings in Klaipeda, where bodies of two newborns, possibly twins, were discovered in a garbage container. So far it is not clear whether the babies were killed or born dead, the police report. Palaitis told the press that 1.5 years ago he had registered a law on establishing special places where women can leave their unwanted newborns, instead of killing them or abandoning in life-threatening conditions. "I understand that the Seimas has many urgent matters, but can the life or death of newborn babies still be a secondary question?" the minister asked. Approximately six newborn babies per year are killed in Lithuania.

Five Lithuanian courts received final warnings threatening to cut off electricity if the debts are not covered in the nearest future. Lithuanian electricity institutions RST and VST addressed Klaipeda, Panavezys, Vilkaviskis, Siauliai and Lithuanian court of appeals on May 4, saying the drastic measures will be applied if the debts, ranging from 743 to 19,000 litas (5,503 euros), are not paid. Laima Garneliene, the chairperson of the Council of Judges, said each court has independence in using its allocations. The heads of the courts addressed the Finance Ministry with a request to use the funds intended for the next quarter. "It seems that the ministry will agree" claimed Garneliene.

The Lithuanian government announced plans to eliminate 3500 public servant positions in the nearest future. There are 65,000 positions in the ministries, institutions responsible to the government and related structures. Some of the positions are filled and some remain open. "We need to go back to Jan. 1, 2007" said Interior Minister Raimundas Palaitis. Among the many institutions accountable to the government are the Police Department, the State Tax Board, the Public Service Department, the Customs Department and more.

The Central Election Committee (VRK) registered 15 political parties for the European Parliament elections in Lithuania. The election campaign officially starts on May 8, when VRK announces the official list of the participant parties and provides them with election numbers. The EP elections will take place on June 7. The biggest surprise during the registration was that Lauras Bielinis, a political scientist and former advisor of President Valdas Adamkus, was not registered for elections. Bielinis has previously announced his intention to participate in elections in cooperation with pan-European party "Libertas," and therefore resigned from his position as the president's advisor in April. However, "Libertas" did not present any candidates in Lithuania. Bielinis said he might register "Libertas" movement or party in Lithuania.

Over 4,000 Lithuanian artists protested near the Seimas on May 5, demanding the government pay attention to their problems and make culture a priority. The event "Good-bye, culture?" featured a mournful concert and the crucifixion of an artist. Remigijus Vilkaitis, the minister of culture, came to see the protesters and admitted he has not helped the artists.