President Grybauskaite starts term

  • 2009-07-15
  • By Adam Mullett

BEACON OF HOPE: Many in the country hope that Grybauskaite, who has a strong background in finance, will be able to help pull the country out of its deepening recession. Her landslide victory marks the first time that a woman has been elected president of the country.

VILNIUS - Dalia Grybauskaite was sworn in as the first female president of Lithuania on July 12, promising to use her financial know-how to help the country find its way out of one of Europe's worst economic mires.
"In this crisis period people are impressed by her status as EU budget chief, and there are high hopes that Grybauskaite may help to deal with these [economic] challenges," political analyst Antanas Kulakauskas told Reuters.

"It is likely to happen as she has a good dialogue with the government," he added.
The former finance minister and EU budget commissioner in a speech to the Seimas (Lithuanian parliament) called on Lithuanians to take a long-term view as they worked to implement reforms in the country.
"We hear the word 'crisis' every day. But while fighting the fire today, we must think about tomorrow," she said.

"Let's consolidate power for change that will lay the foundation for decades to come."
Lithuania is now forced to come to terms with long term policy planning 's which was largely absent in previous governments 's instead looking for short term or personal gain, particularly in the energy sector.

Grybauskaite singled out judicial reform and the notion of justice as one of her main goals.
"As I traveled across Lithuania, I saw that people are strongly disappointed with courts. I heard them say 'We have courts, but not enough justice.' I saw a lot of indignation over double standards 's one type of justice for ordinary people and a different one for influential figures."
"When I appoint judges, I will focus special attention on their integrity, honesty and good repute. People will only respect the courts when the courts start respecting themselves," she said.

She also asked citizens of Lithuania to stand up and voice their opinion.
"Do criticize the government and me as part of political power when needed."
"But do not forget 's there is but a fine line between criticizing the government and undermining the state itself. Empty criticism will not solve a single problem," she said.
One of the largest problems hanging over the heads of the country is the closing of Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant, which is set to shut down at the end of 2009.
The replacement for the power source was supposed to be sorted out by Leo LT, but Grybauskaite swore in her campaign that as part of her presidency she would liquidate the company, which was found to be unconstitutional.

"Let us live without oligarchic monopolies and non-transparent transactions," she said about Leo LT and other large companies that many analysts claim rule the country from behind closed doors.
Grybauskaite succeeds Valdus Adamkus, who at 82-years-old was the oldest head of state in the European Union. At 53, Grybauskaite will be one of the youngest.
Lithuania's economy is expected to shrink by more than 10 percent this year after years of rapid growth following EU membership in 2004.