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Artūras Paulauskas appointed to head National Security Committee in Lithuanian parliament

Artūras Paulauskas
Juliaus Kalinsko / 15min nuotr. / Artūras Paulauskas
Šaltinis: BNS
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Artūras Paulauskas of the ruling Labour Party has been elected to head the parliamentary National Security and Defense Committee.

The candidate was supported by six members of the committee on Wednesday, three abstained. The decision is yet to be approved by parliament.

In his presentation at the committee, Paulauskas said his conception of national security was broader than just national defense. "Interests of national security cover developing a broad civil society, ensuring human rights and liberties, and reducing social exclusion," Paulauskas said.

Among key issues for the committee, he specified ensuring defense financing and anti-corruption efforts.

"Defense financing is one of the sore problems as financing is going down, and it is a key part of the agenda in this area. Efforts against corruption, which has started to corrode the body of the state, is an area where the committee's contribution could be substantial," said the Labour MP.

He also noted that he was not entirely new to national security matters, which he had to deal with in capacity as the parliamentary speaker and, on a temporary basis, the president.

"I cannot say the area is entirely new to me, but it is comprehensible that my range of vision is changing in the committee, as in the past I have worked with national security matters as parliamentary speaker and acting president," Paulauskas said in his introductory speech.

Paulauskas acted as Lithuania's president in 2004 following the removal of Rolandas Paksas by way of parliamentary impeachment.

Paulauskas, the leader of what was then the New Union, was first elected as parliamentary speaker in 2000 and then after the 2004 elections. However, he lost the post in 2006 after a no-confidence vote.

The New Union didn't do well in the 2008 elections and it merged with the Labour Party in 2011.

Paulauskas initially planned to head the parliamentary Committee on Legal Affairs, but the four ruling parties then decided to redistribute the quotas. The leading post of the Committee on Legal Affairs went to the Social Democrats, while the Labour Party received the chance of appointing the head of the National Security and Defense Committee.

The Committee on Legal Affairs may be headed by Julius Sabatauskas or Juozas Bernatonis of the ruling Social Democratic Party, the two candidates who are also listed as potential justice ministers. When one of them is appointed the justice minister, the other would be proposed to head the Committee on Legal Affairs.

BNS
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