MPs boycotted the voting on retirement age

  • 2010-07-07
  • By Rokas M. Tracevskis

VILNIUS - On June 30, the Lithuanian parliament failed to pass an amendment proposed by the Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius-led government regarding the retirement age - during the voting, the boycott by the opposition in parliament was joined by several MPs of Kubilius’ ruling Homeland Union - Lithuanian Christian Democrats. The government proposed that the retirement age would gradually reach 65 years of age for both sexes, by 2026. Currently, women retire at the age of 60 while men can start to enjoy their pensioners’ life starting from 62-and-a-half years old.

The passing of amendments requires 71 MPs’ votes in its favor in the 141-seat parliament. During the first vote 60 MPs voted in favor of the amendment, while two Kubilius party MPs said their “nay,” and one Kubilius party MP abstained. The second attempt on the same day also failed: 58 MPs voted in favor of the amendment while two MPs voted against it and two MPs abstained.

Kubilius, speaking in the parliament, urged “not to deny the possibility for future generations to have a decent pension.” However, during the pre-voting discussion in the parliament, there were a lot of critics with statements that pan-EU tendencies regarding the retirement age postponement should be considered, taking into account Lithuanian specifics. According to the Lithuanian Statistics Department, the average life expectancy of Lithuanian women is 77.6 years, and for the average Lithuanian male it is 66.3 years. The average life expectancy of women in the entire EU is 82 years, while for the average EU male this is 75.8 years.

“Almost 50 percent of Lithuanian men die before the age of 65. They have the shortest life in the European Union,” Labor Party MP Mecislovas Zasciurinskas said. “It would be better to adopt some program regarding improving health,” echoed Julius Veselka, MP of the Order and Justice Party.

“There were no statements about the change of retirement age in our election program. Such a decision could be made only via the national accord, which means an agreement with the opposition,” said Kazimieras Uoka, a Kubilius party MP, explaining, at his briefing, after the failure to pass the amendment why he boycotted the vote.