President Dalia Grybauskaite has appointed Arvydas Pocius as chief of the Lithuanian armed forces under the Constitution. Pocius' nomination was approved by the Seimas July 23, reports news agency ELTA. The candidate was supported by 75 MPs, while 6 MPs voted against and 40 MPs abstained from voting. Pocius' candidature was criticized not only by the opposition parliamentary groups of the Labor Party, the party Order and Justice, but also by members of the Liberal Movement and the Liberal and Center Union, which belong to the ruling coalition. Until this appointment, 52-year-old Pocius has been serving at the NATO Allied Command in the U.S. In this new post Pocius replaces Lt. Gen. Valdas Tutkus, who was dismissed by the Seimas on June 23. The law does not call for the possibility to serve in this post for a repeated term.
President Dalia Grybauskaite on July 24 received the Apostolic Nuncio to Lithuania, Archbishop Luigi Bonazzi, reports news service ELTA. The Apostolic Nuncio extended his congratulations to President Grybauskaite on assuming the important duties of President of Lithuania. "A good president is a blessing to the nation," said the Archbishop. Among the issues discussed during the meeting included the difficult economic situation in Lithuania and the role of the church in public life, and in its assistance to the people. The Apostolic Nuncio noted that the economic crisis had made more people leave their own lands in search of a better life abroad, and pointed out that this tendency brought suffering on both the emigrants and their families. Therefore, he said, such people and their close ones needed help and assistance.