U.S. Ambassador to Lithuania Anne Elizabeth Derse has presented the U.S. initiative, within the framework of the Community of Democracies, to establish a high level working group for gender equality to coordinate initiatives on the improvement of women’s situation in non-democratic countries, reports ELTA. According to the speaker of the Seimas, such an initiative is welcome. Degutiene points out that there are a number of active female parliamentarians in the Lithuanian Seimas who are actively taking part in international events and initiatives which address issues related to women in politics. “These members could join such an initiative and contribute to women’s empowerment in non-democratic countries or the countries that have just started to go on the path of democracy,” Degutiene said at a meeting with the U.S. ambassador. The Community of Democracies, presently chaired by Lithuania until 2011, is an intergovernmental organization of democracies and democratizing countries.
President Dalia Grybauskaite and the Association of Local Authorities are in favor of direct mayoral elections and that mayors should belong to representational government, reports ELTA. On Feb. 22, at a meeting at the president’s office, the president and representatives of the association agreed on the need to decide upon the amendment to the Constitution legitimizing mayoral elections as soon as possible, so politicians could prepare for the upcoming municipal elections in 2011. The parliamentarians will have to discuss whether a mayor should be a representative of executive or representative power. If a mayor should be of representative power, he or she will manage the municipal council. If a mayor is of executive power, they will perform the functions of a current administrative director. The Seimas already voted for amendments to the Constitution, providing for direct mayoral elections. Constitutional amendments shall enter into force only when they are voted for twice.