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Lithuania's Interior Minister Raimundas Palaitis hands in his resignation

Raimundas Palaitis
Irmanto Gelūno / 15min nuotr. / Raimundas Palaitis
Šaltinis: BNS
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Lithuania's Interior Minister Raimundas Palaitis submitted his resignation to Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius on Wednesday morning.

"I hope my resignation will settle the problems within the government and the coalition, allowing everyone to focus on addressing issues that are crucial for the state," the minister said in a press release.

According to the letter of resignation, he is stepping down as of March 26.

Palaitis announced his resignation plans after meeting with President Dalia Grybauskaitė on Monday. Among participants of the meeting were Kubilius and Algis Čaplikas, leader of the Liberal and Center Union that delegated Palaitis to the Cabinet.

Prior to that, partners in the ruling coalition – conservatives and Liberal Movement – said they were ready to form a minority government without Liberal and Center Union that had delegated Palaitis to the Cabinet, should the minister decide to stay in the post. Politicians had even proposed an idea of holding early general elections.

According to the law, prime minister must to submit a written resignation to the president within five working days, and the minister ceases his or her office when the president signs a decree to that effect. The president may authorize the minister to continue in the position until a successor is appointed.

Tensions in the ruling coalition emerged after Palaitis sacked director of the Financial Crimes Investigation Service, Vitalijus Gailius, and his deputy Vytautas Giržadas against the prime minister's will on 15 February.

On Wednesday, Palaitis restated he had no regrets about his decision, which some dismissed as a mistake. "I would do things all over again, if I had to," he said.

To appoint new FCIS chief

Lithuania's Interior Minister Raimundas Palaitis says he would appoint a new head of the Financial Crimes Investigation Service before his resignation comes into effect, saying a decree on appointment might be signed on Thursday.

"According to the agreement reached at the President's Office, I will finish my work, i.e., the competition that is in progress," Palaitis told journalists on Wednesday after submitting his resignation to Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius.

"The competition procedure is complete once the winner of the competition is appointed to the post. According to the law, this cannot be done earlier than three days after the examination. Thursday is the day when the winner of the competition can be appointed," said Palaitis of the ruling Liberal and Center Union.

The competition has been won by Kęstutis Jucevičius, a FCIS employee who was the sole applicant for the job.

The urgent competition has been criticized by coalition partners, Homeland Union – Lithuanian Christian Democrats and Liberal Movement, saying the former chiefs of the service had taken the move to dismiss them to court, furthermore, the institution is up for restructuring.

BNS
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