Kwasniewski confident in Lithuanian democracy

  • 2004-01-08
  • Baltic News Service
WARSAW/VILNIUS - Recalling the turbulent past of his own country, Polish President Alexander Kwasniew-ski expressed confidence that democracy would triumph in Lithuania as scrutiny of President Rolandas Paksas intensifies.

Asked by Poland's national radio on Jan. 1 about the impeachment process in Lithuania, Kwasniewski describ-ed the situation as "very serious."
However, he added that, in his opinion, "the power of democracy manifests itself not only when things are going fine, but also when there are problems."
The Polish president recalled his own country's history and drew a comparison with the present scandal plaguing the Baltic state.
"Poland has also gone through similar difficulty when former Prime Minister Jozef Oleksy was accused of spying for a foreign state," he said, noting that the case "only strengthened democracy in the country."
"Of course, I sympathize with Lithuanians who have to live through the unpleasant time. However, let's believe that everything will end in relevant decisions, and what is very important is that everything is in keeping with the constitution and that democratic procedures are operational," Kwasniewski stressed.
On Dec. 30 the Lithuanian Constitutional Court ruled that the decree by President Paksas granting Lithuanian citizenship to his most generous election campaign sponsor, Yuri Borisov, breached the law.
The court finding will undoubtedly affect the presidential impeachment process, as initiators accuse Paksas of severely violating the nation's constitution and his presidential oath on six counts.
The impeachment commission will likely present its conclusion on the validity of the accusations to the Seimas (Lithuania's parliament) by Feb. 13.
Should the parliamentary commission find the accusations grounded the Seimas will have to vote on the removal of the president.
The accusations refer to the conclusions of an earlier parliamentary panel, which found the president was vulnerable to influence and thus posed a threat to Lithuania's national security.