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Ruling parties fail to agree, prompting talks of minority government

Algis Čaplikas ir Arūnas Valinskas
BFL/Tomo Lukšio nuotr. / Algis Čaplikas ir Arūnas Valinskas
Šaltinis: BNS
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Lithuania's ruling parties failed to agree on future work over the weekend and will discuss a minority government, Transport and Communications Minister Eligijus Masiulis, leader of the ruling Liberal Movement, confirmed to BNS on Monday morning.

In his words, Labor Party will be the first one to be asked to support the minority government.

"We're open to everyone but will talk to Labor Party first," Masiulis said.

Parliamentary Vice-Speaker Algis Čaplikas, leader of another ruling Liberal and Center Union, said the coalition partners, Homeland Union – Lithuanian Christian Democrats (conservatives), came to them with the same "ultimatum demands," including removal of Interior Minister Raimundas Palaitis.

"The party's position is to keep the interior minister unchanged, as he defended the interests of the people of Lithuania," Čaplikas said.

"We proposed that all stick to their opinions and continue working. That's how we split up. We do not intend to terminate the coalition agreement. If the conservatives want to ruin the coalition, the prime minister has the constitutional right of coming to the president with a resignation," he told BNS.

In Čaplikas' words, "the story is not an attempt to clear the relations between Minister Palaitis and Prime Minister Kubilius nor between the Liberal Centrists and the conservatives, however, is a story of leak of information about Snoras."

Lithuania's ruling coalition consists of the conservatives, the Liberal and Center Union and the Liberal Movement.

Disunity in ranks

Liberal Movement, a partner in Lithuania's ruling three-party coalition, has invited Culture Minister Arūnas Gelūnas to stay in the government.

Irmanto Gelūno/15min.lt nuotr./Arūnas Gelūnas
Irmanto Gelūno/15min.lt nuotr./Arūnas Gelūnas

"We positively view Gelūnas' performance in this government. His accession to the Cabinet of ministers brought positive changes to culture policy, we saw a whiff of fresh air," Liberal Movement's leader, Transport and Communications Minister Eligijus Masiulis, said on Monday.

He emphasized that Gelūnas had a good name in cultural circles, was a professional in his field and should, therefore, proceed with the work he has started.

Earlier on Monday, Gelūnas told BNS he would consider the proposal of joining the minority government.

Should Liberal and Center Union that delegated him to the post decide to leave the ruling three-party coalition, the minister's decision to stay in the post would help the government avoid a no-confidence vote.

"If I receive a proposition from Liberal Movement or the conservatives to work in the minority government, I would consider it," Gelūnas told BNS.

The minister also said he had rejected the “ultimatum call” from the party's vice-chairman Arūnas Valinskas to resign.

"On Friday, I had received an ultimatum call to resign made by Liberal and Center Union's Vice-Chairman Valinskas. However, I refused to write a letter or resignation," the culture minister added.

Gelūnas also noted he would not run for the upcoming general election. His initial plan was to be a candidate in Liberal and Center Union's list for single-mandate electoral district in Kaunas.

Should Liberal Centrists recall all ministers including Gelūnas from the government, the Cabinet would have to get a new mandate from the parliament, as more than half of the government would have to be replaced.

BNS
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