Lietuva in brief - 2009-05-14

  • 2009-05-14
An assembly of Lithuanian-Polish members of parliament took place in Vilnius on May 9, but a joint declaration was not signed. This is the first occasion in 15 years that Lithuanian and Polish MPs failed to reach a unilateral opinion on the situation of Poles in Lithuania and Lithuanians in Poland. The Polish daily newspaper Rzeczpospolita claimed that "the failure to sign a declaration is a very serious sign that Poles do not want to listen to empty promises of Lithuanian politicians anymore." The Poles are dissatisfied by Lithuanian authorities' refusal to allow writing Polish surnames in the original language, and demand the possibility of officially using the Polish language in territories where a majority of the population consists of Poles.

Lithuanian President Valdas Adamkus has applied to the Constitutional Court to ask whether Parliament is entitled to vote against the dismissal of the head and division heads of the Supreme Court once their term expires. Presidential advisor Milda Vainiute said last year the president issued a decree on dismissal of the Supreme Court's chairman, Vytautas Greicius, to Parliament three times. However, the decree was rejected twice because the MPs interpret the question as a test of their constitutional powers, which they consider should be treated as "free mandates." The Constitutional Court, which started deliberation of the case on May 11, will determine the limitations to the MPs scope of powers.

Sasha Son, the Lithuanian representative in Eurovision, decided not to withdraw from the competition after his last rehearsal on May 11. The first rehearsal on May 6 was a disaster, the performer said, because competition directors refused to play specially prepared video and randomly chose lighting. "My performance means nothing without it [the original video]" Son said at a press conference after the rehearsal. His producer Martynas Tyla went even further, saying the scene image they suggested "is an insult." The participant from Lithuania will perform in Eurovision 2009 (in Moscow) with his song "Love" on May 14.

About 26 percent of respondents to a recent survey in major cities in Lithuania think that finance minister Algirdas Semeta must be dismissed from his post immediately, while 27.6 percent think it should be done later. Surveys ordered by Veidas and conducted by Prime Consulting revealed that people consider Semeta the 4th best finance minister. About 21 percent of respondents considered Dalia Grybauskaite the best finance minister, 18 percent preferred Reinoldijus Sarkinas and 13.2 percent voted for Algirdas Butkevicius. The Lithuanian parliament will vote on the interpellation of the present finance minister on May 19.

The Vilnius municipality is considering establishing fees for entering Vilnius Old Town by car. Traffic would be controlled by posts and one time fees would cost from 5 litas (with a pre-paid card) to 10 litas (if paid by cash on spot), while a year pass would cost 1250 litas. "I think that the city council will approve" said Vilnius mayor Vilus Navickas at a press conference on May 12.