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Prime Minister claims to have reached agreement with Liberal Centrist who in turn accuse him of lying

Andrius Kubilius, Raimundas Palaitis
BFL/Tomo Lukšio nuotr. / Andrius Kubilius, Raimundas Palaitis
Šaltinis: BNS

Lithuanian Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius claims to have agreed with leader of the Liberal and Center Union, Algis Čaplikas, that Minister of Interior Affairs Raimundas Palaitis should resign.

"I can say that we've agreed on that with the party's leader," Kubilius said in an interview for the Žinių Radijas on Thursday.

Asked once again if they agreed on specifically Palaitis' resignation, Kubilius said: "Yes, this is one of very clear conditions."

Asked whether the Liberal and Center Union's leadership assured that Palaitis would resign, the prime minister did not confirm that.

"This is a condition. I don’t know whether it will be fulfilled, but this is a condition for the coalition to be able to work, one of several conditions," he said.

Palaitis' resignation, the Lithuanian PM said, is part of an action plan to make the coalition work constructively, and the coalition agreement would be reviewed, if it was not met.

"In that case, what we very clearly said at a presidium meeting, we then propose to the liberal coalition partners to work under conditions of a minority coalition, and then we continue holding talks on that. (…). It means we'll review the coalition agreement," Kubilius said.

Meanwhile, speaking to BNS on Wednesday evening, Čaplikas denied that the minister plans to resign.

Ramunė Hazir, spokeswoman for the interior affairs minister, told BNS on Wednesday evening the minister has no plans to resign. "The minister surely does not plan to resign and has not given promises to do so to anyone."

Deputy Chairman of the Liberal and Center Union, Vytautas Bogušis, told BNS "it’s status quo, and it’s not only the minister's but also the party's position."

"I don’t want to comment on the process of discussions and what a mandate the leader of the coalition partners has, they might clear this thing out, but this is one of clear conditions, and I hope we'll hold constructive talks on that soon," Kubilius said, commenting on the Liberal and Center Union's position.

Prime Minister lying

Leader of the ruling Liberal and Center Union, Deputy Speaker of the Seimas, Algis Čaplikas, says Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius is lying when he says that the liberal centrists promised him their Minister of Interior Affairs Raimundas Palaitis would resign.

"We are really looking for a compromise, and it’s obvious that Prime Minister Kubilius is lying," Čaplikas told BNS on Thursday.

In his words, by doing this the premier is destroying the coalition.

"The conservatives and the prime minister's actions are destroying the government. (…) If the prime minister wants the coalition to collapse and he wants to leave his post, then he should do so, we won’t stop him," Čaplikas said.

He added that leader of the Liberals' Movement, Minister of Transport, Eligijus Masiulis, also attended his meeting with the prime minister.

"Both the prime minister and Masiulis know there was no such agreement," Čaplikas said.

Coalition agreement should be terminated

Leader of the ruling Liberal's Movement, Eligijus Masiulis, says it's a crime to continue arguments in the government and this way protract the political crisis, and coalition partners have to decide in the upcoming days whether the coalition is able to continue working.

"The political crisis has protracted, and it's just a crime to continue procrastination. A solution is needed soon to stop the crisis for the government institutions' work not to be undermined. If the partners conclude that mutual demands are unacceptable, I believe we should put a full stop, and the coalition agreement should be terminated, and then consultations on a minority government and agreements with part of the opposition political groups on their support for key decisions is a real scenario," Masiulis told BNS on Thursday.

Three parties, including the Homeland Union–Lithuanian Christian Democrats, the Liberal's Movement and the Liberal and Center Union, are members of the ruling coalition in Lithuania.

Tension in the ruling coalition followed Palaitis' decision to dismiss two top officials of the Financial Crime Investigation Service, Vitalijus Gailius and Vytautas Giržadas, on 15 February, after a recommendation from the State Security Department. The department was investigating possible leak of information about Snoras bank shortly before its nationalization.

Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius later said the move was unmotivated and hasty. Meanwhile, President Dalia Grybauswkaitė backed the minister.

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