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Interpellation against Semeta fails

  • 2009-05-21
  • By Adam Mullett

SAVING SKINS: The Seimas (Lithuanian parliament) voted to allow the finance minister to keep his post after the committee that had been set up to rule on the matter came to a hung vote.

VILNIUS - Algirdas Semeta will remain in the finance minister's post following a failed interpellation vote against him on May 19 that ended with only 56 votes out of a possible 141 in favor of removing him from office.

Kubilius praised the minister, whose name has also been mentioned for the European budget commissioner's post which is soon to be vacated by President-elect Dalia Grybauskaite.
"The first thing [is that] he is really professional and highly skilled 's something that hasn't been seen in this post for a long time. The second thing is that the financial policy of our government and the principles and the minister of finance, together with the whole team, are in my opinion appropriate and also in the opinion of the International Monetary Fund and the European Commission," Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius said in defense of the minister before the vote.

"This expert assessment is much more important than the superficial criticism of the opposition, which we have seen during the interpellation," Kubilius said.
Before the vote, the commission tasked with deliberating over the matter deemed Semeta's answers to the questions in the interpellation document defending his conduct as unsatisfactory.
Earlier on May 19, the commission charged with evaluating the strength of the interpellation claim voted, but came to a hung vote of 6-6. Because of the commission chairman's vote the interpellation was not granted, but instead put to a secret ballot in the Seimas (Lithuanian parliament).

Earlier, the prime minister gave his full support to Semeta, calling the interpellation "a game."
"Not only the prime minister supports Minister Semeta, but also the Conservative Party and there are no signs in the coalition that they would support the vote," Ridas Jasiulionis, the prime minister's media spokesperson, told TBT in April.
The interpellation was initiated by Social Democrat member Vytenis Andriuskaitis.
Andriukaitis' interpellation document contained calculations as well as facts and figures for consideration in the vote.

He said Semeta had been responsible for raising panic that affected the entire economic situation and brought a lot of losses to Lithuania.
Value Added Tax incomes that were brought in under Semeta's guidance have been widely unpopular and tax revenues fell well short of targets due to decreased consumption in the domestic market.

Andriukaitis criticized the "night" tax reform.
"If the 'night' tax reform was not implemented, it is likely according to our estimations that Lithuania's slump would not be so significant and that retail trade would be about 25 percent higher," Andriukaitis said.

In his opinion, the Finance Ministry has not analyzed the economic recession at all.
"Our document of no confidence will cover legal, tax, budget and social parts of economy," Andriukaitis said.