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Published: 20 november 2012 15:36

Social Democrats pledge to vote in support of lifting legal immunity of Labour Party MPs

Algirdas Butkevičius
Juliaus Kalinsko / 15min nuotr. / Algirdas Butkevičius

PM-nominee Algirdas Butkevičius has said that the Social Democratic Party will vote in support of lifting legal immunity of Labour Party members who are on trial for fraud.

"There will be no blocking on behalf of our political group. We will vote in support of lifting (legal immunity), so that the trial can be finished as soon as possible," Butkevičius told journalists at the Seimas on Tuesday.

In an earlier speech from the parliament's rostrum, he refused to give a specific answer to the question. Asked on several occasions about the upcoming ballot, Butkevičius said the stance would be “principled” but refused to specify the meaning of his words.

The Social Democratic leader said the Labour Party's fraudulent bookkeeping case should be closed as soon as possible.

"I would think the case should be finished as soon as possible, as it is a disgrace to have the proceedings for so many years. I think it should have been finished a long time ago," said the PM nominee.

He also confirmed that the Labour Party had made no demands in connection to the case during the coalition talks.

"The issue was not discussed in the coalition," Butkevičius said.

Meanwhile, Viktor Uspaskich, the Labour Party's leader and a defendant in the case, refused to speculate whether the green light given by the coalition partners to strip the party and its members of their legal immunity would ruin the coalition.

"I do not want to discuss it now, there is no sense in this, I would not want to speculate on what has not been done yet," he said.

Three of the defendants in the case - Viktor Uspaskich, Vitalija Vonzutaitė, and Vytautas Gapšys – won Seimas mandates and thus acquired parliamentary immunity from prosecution.

The three MPs and the party's former accountant Marina Liutkevičienė along with the party as a legal entity are charged with fraud.

Uspaskich strongly denies all charges.

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