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Lithuania's new parliament sworn in

Pirmasis naujojo Seimo posėdis
Andriaus Ufarto/BFL nuotr. / The new Seimas
Šaltinis: BNS
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Lithuania's new Seimas (parliament), elected last month, assembled for its first sitting on Friday noon. The first meeting is traditionally chaired by the eldest member of the Seimas, Conservative Vida Marija Čigrijienė.

Members of the Seimas were sworn in by President of the Constitutional Court Romualdas Kęstutis Urbaitis. He underlined that parliament's main task was to guarantee human rights of people of Lithuania and to preserve the balance of powers.

Lithuania's former President Valdas Adamkus, signatories to the Act of Independence, representatives of the Constitutional Court and other courts, religious confessions, diplomats, rectors of higher education schools attended the sitting.

President Dalia Grybauskaitė did not attend the first meeting as the head of state decided to greet new lawmakers via a letter. It is the first time in Lithuania's history that the president did not come to welcome new MPs.

Based on final election results, 139 members of the Seimas were elected, with the election results deemed invalid in two constituencies due to electoral violation.

The Social Democratic Party of Lithuania will have 37 seats, followed by the Homeland Union–Lithuanian Christian Democrats (33), the Labour Party (29), the Order and Justice Party (11), the Liberal Movement (10), the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania (8), the Path of Courage Party (7), the Lithuanian Peasant and Greens Union (1), and three independent candidates.

Pursuant to the law, on the day when a new Seimas holds its first sitting, the Cabinet returns its powers to the president. The president accepts the powers returned by the Government and charges it to exercise its duties until a new Cabinet is formed.

The president appoints and dismisses the prime minister upon the approval of the Seimas.

The prime minister, within 15 days of his or her appointment, presents a new Cabinet to a Seimas vote, following approval by the President of the Republic, and presents its program.

A new government receives its powers to act after the Seimas endorses its program by a majority vote .

The Social Democrats, the Labour Party, the Order and Justice Party, and the EAPL signed a coalition agreement earlier this week. They are set to replace the center-right government of Andrius Kubilius. The president had earlier spoken against the Labour Party's involvement in the new government as the party itself as well as its leaders are defendants in a criminal case.

The Central Electoral Commission's data show the average age MPs is 52.78 years. The new Seimas will have 37 female members. The youngest MP is 25 years old.]

President called for continuity

Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė called on the new Seimas and Cabinet to ensure continuity in the spheres of financial stability and energy. She also stressed she would demand transparency from the future Cabinet of Ministers.

"We are at the center of political cycles and power change, but I am calling on you not to flounce and stick to the direction we have chosen. We have to go until the end, be able to ensure continuity in the areas of financial stability, energy, and fighting corruption," the president said in her welcome letter that was read by the eldest MP, Vida Marija Cigrijienė, chairing the first sitting of the new Seimas on Friday.

Grybauskaitė also underlined that the new Cabinet would face "a historic challenge" in the second half of 2013 when Lithuania will take over EU Presidency.

The president said she would demand "compliance with the requirements of not only competence but also transparency, honesty and independence" from the new Cabinet.

Parliament Speaker elected

Vydas Gedvilas, a member of the Labour party, was elected speaker of Lithuania's Seimas.

84 members of the Seimas voted in favor, 49 were against, and two voting ballots were found damaged.

Lithuania's Labour Party had collected 85 signatures in favor of Gedvilas' nomination. The signatories included representatives of the Social Democrats, Labour Party, Order and Justice Party, forming a ruling coalition, as well as independent MP Linas Balsys, Roma Baskienė of the Lithuanian Peasant and Greens Union and member of the Path of Courage Party, Aurelija Stancikienė.

Gedvilas was the only candidate for the position.

BNS
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