Archive for November, 2008

The German Times’ wrong on Lithuanian ‘Europsceptism’

WorkigI have read an article in the German Times monthly and found some untruth about the Lithuanian election results.  The information in the article is simply untruth.  I have sent a letter to the paper asking to correct this missinformation.

Dear Editor,

I am a subscriber to the German Times and enjoying reading it for almost a year.  It is a fantastic monthly which gives its reader the German perspective of the current affairs to the world.  I am convinced that despite this IT age every country in the world should have something similar to the German Times.

However, the November issue (Vol 2. No.11) had grossly misinformed its readers.  In the article ‘A guarantor of freedom and prosperity’ by Andreas Theyssen it is written; ‘In October, a majority of Lithuanians voted for parties that had proclaimed two main goals during the election campaign; a more distant stance toward the EU and resistance to decisions in Brussels that supposedly go against national interests…’

I would like to inform you that this is simply untrue.  Out of all parties, which entered the parliament, only one party (Order and Justice) openly declared that it would not allow closing the Ignalina nuclear plant ‘no matter what Brussels will say’.  Some other parties declared their support for the advisory referendum on the issue, which was held simultaneously with the elections.

I can assure you that all the parties, which were elected to the Parliament declare support for the Lithuania’s EU membership.  Even though some of the members of the Order and Justice MP’s are calling to look after the Lithuanian national interest first, the party’s programme fully supports Lithuania’s EU membership and highlights membership’s benefits to for the countries future.

Hence, it is evident that Mr Andreas Theyssen was subjective in his remarks and unprofessionally saw what he wanted to see in his analysis of the Lithuanian Parliamentary vote results.

I hope that the German Times will correct this mistake since it is a well-respected international publication.

In addition I would like to add that the Lithuanians traditionally remain amongst the one of the staunchest EU supporters.  Furthermore, the referendum of extension of the Ignalina plant was void due to lack of votes (less than 50 per cent of those eligible to vote turned up) and the party Order and Justice will be represented only by 15 MPs.  And this is out of 141 seats.

Sincerely Yours,

Ruslanas Iržikevičius 

November 23, 2008 at 10:59 pm 7 comments

New Parliament and new beginning for Lithuania

Seimas Hall iiMost of the important events in the modern Lithuanian history are taking place during the cold season.  Those events in the most of occasions they played positive role in Lithuania’s development.  Let us begin with both declarations of Independence.   Today, according to the weather forecast, the winter weather is arriving to Lithuania.  Simultaneously two significant events are taking place; a newly elected parliament has convened, and the Lithuanian citizens can start travel to the USA without visas.

The first event will have a huge impact on Lithuania’s life in practical terms; the second has a huge significance in moral terms.

The USA elected a Democrat candidate as their president (which could be argued is more to the political left) and in Lithuania’s elections the centre right parties received a majority.  Nevertheless, in the last two terms the Americans preferred to see the Republican president.  On the other hand the Lithuanian Parliament for the last two terms was dominated by the skilful Social Democrats.

Hence, what could be said about the Lithuanian Parliamentarian election results?  First of all, only some 48 per cent of all voters came to vote.  A referendum for extension of the Ignalina life span, which was held on the same day, did not attract additional voters.  Since less than half of those eligible to vote turned up the referendum it did not happen.

Secondly, some of the Western observers hastily announced that the populists have won again.  If one would only count votes alone this might be a right assumption – 41 out of 141 MPs belong to the populist parties.  However, it is far from enough from forming a government.  Moreover, the three parties which are casted as populist are divided.  Two of the older ones began mentioning a possibility of uniting their forces in future even though one of them Order and Justice declared that they will be in opposition, and the Labour party would support some of the ruling coalition’s decisions.  The other, newly created Nation’s Resurrection Party already before elections announced that the party would under no circumstances work together with the Order and Justice.

The new Resurrection party is unknown in the Lithuanian politics even though it is created by one of the most recognizable faces in Lithuania.  The majority of the party consists of the TV show bizz representatives.  The party managed to get 16 seats in the new parliament and will be in the new centre right coalition.  The leader of the party Mr Valinskas  (the new Seimas Speaker) is the best paid Lithuanian TV producer and the most famous TV personalities.  It is unclear who is behind the creation of the party, even though there are some assumptions that the party is a political project created by Social Democrats or the largest business group VP Market.

According to this theory the Resurrection party should join the government and support the Conservative government during the economical crises and then ‘switch’ the sides when it is convenient for the Social Democrats.  Moreover, it is unclear on what side of the political spectrum this party belongs to.  The Party leader Valinskas mentioned few times that there are no political left or right, the correct direction is to move forwards, that this is what his party will do.  Another party’s role was to ‘steal’ some votes from the other populist parties, which it did.

One more surprising outcome was that two centre left former populist parties did not make it to the parliament at all neither did their leaders.  On the other hand it is surprising that the two divided liberal parties made it to Seimas.

Today, the four parties Conservatives, Resurrection Party, Liberal Union and the Centre and Liberal Union have signed a coalition agreement and more likely will form a new centre right majority government.

The government-elect, is called a crises government and is ready to undertake a huge task of reducing the looming economical crisis’ effects.  The most encouraging factor is that the PM-elect Kublius has a lot of experience in taking Lithuania out of crises and laying out sound foundations for the future Lithuania’s development.  He undertook Premiership after Lithuania felt the most severe economical crises which followed 1998 Russia’s default.  Hence, it seems that Lithuania, at least for the time being is in experienced hands.

There are still some the Constitutional stages to be passed in order for the new Government to be officially sworn in but this should happen in the first third of December.    

November 18, 2008 at 1:44 am 4 comments

Missiles in Kaliningrad will affect security in Lithuania

Russian Nuclear bombsThe first President Medvedev’s address attracted probably as much attention as the newly elected USA President in Vilnius.  The attention was concentrated not on the Russia’s President’s proposals regarding the internal Russia’s reforms.  The biggest concern is the Russian missiles in Kaliningrad.

As the BNS noted the Russian leader did not specify the number of missiles and whether they would be armed with nuclear warheads, adding radio-electronic neutralization of the US shield elements would be carried out from the Kaliningrad territory.

On August 15 the US and Poland signed a preliminary agreement on placement of defence shield elements in Poland. An analogous treaty was signed with the Czech Republic earlier this year.

The BNS reminds that Washington plans to place 10 missile interceptors in Poland in the 2011-2013 period and build a radar station in the neighbouring Czech Republic. The facilities will supplement the already operational missile defence system, with elements deployed in the United States, Greenland and Great Britain.

Washington says that the shield, development of which was supported by all 26 members of NATO, is intended to serve as protection from possible missile attacks from “villain countries,” particularly Iran.

After signature of the treaty, Russian officials have made informal statements about Russia for the first time after the end of the cold war considering the possibility of deploying arms with nuclear warheads in its Baltic Fleet in the Kaliningrad region wedged between Lithuania and Poland. The nuclear warheads may be supplied to the fleet’s submarines, cruisers and bombers.

Lithuania’s Presidential Palace issued a statement saying that: “Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev is difficult to understand as his words are mutually conflicting. The President talks about the commitment to act together against our common threats but sends missiles to Kaliningrad to neutralize anti-missile defence system,” Adamkus is quoted in the release.

Lithuania’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr Olekas stated,  “I am convinced that this is not the path Russia should choose because the missile defence shield is not targeted against Russia. We believe that there is another way – a way of agreements and joint decisions rather than contradiction. The more weaponry there is, the more damage is caused to the security situation in the region. This applies to Kaliningrad too, not only Lithuania”.

The commander of Lithuanian Armed Forces, Lieutenant General Valdas Tutkus expressed his wish that “I hope that the international community and NATO will issue a relevant response.

What is a possible consequence of this Kremlin’s threat?  A quote by a possible new Minister of Defence Mrs. Rasa Juknevičienė said that “Should Russia really go through with this, it will be another sign that Lithuania must take national defence with its neighbours very seriously, with the most important thing being NATO’s special attention to the region and the perceived security of people living here”.

November 9, 2008 at 11:53 pm 1 comment


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