The Lithuanian parliament yesterday approved president Algirdas Brazauskas’ nomination of Mindaugas Stankevicius as prime minister. The governing Democratic Labor Party (DLP) voted in favor of the nomination while most of the opposition declined to take part in the vote. Stankevicius pledged to continue economic reforms and seek to advance toward accession to the European Union as the government’s highest priority. He is expected to quickly select a cabinet of ministers essentially based on the preceding cabinet. As required by the constitution, the previous cabinet resigned after parliament dismissed Prime Minister Adolfas Slezevicius last week because of his misconduct in the country’s banking scandal. The parliament yesterday also approved the president’s nomination of Reinoldijus Sarkinas as chairman of the Bank of Lithuania; Sarkinas will oversee the effort to rescue the country’s commercial banking sector.
Stankevicius, 60, is a professional economist whose latest post was that of minister for government reforms and local administration in the Slezevicius government. Western representatives in Vilnius describe Stankevicius as a competent technocrat. He will preside over what has become a minority government — the ruling DLP is now down to 68 seats in the 140-seat parliament. The Foreign and Defense Ministers, Povilas Gylys and Linas Linkevicius, are certain to stay on and ensure policy continuity. The legislature’s mandate expires this coming autumn, and Brazauskas yesterday proposed an October date for parliamentary elections.
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