Prime Minister Adolfas Slezevicius yesterday survived a challenge from opposition parties at an extraordinary session of the Lithuanian parliament. The parties had challenged the prime minister’s handling of the country’s banking crisis as well as his personal financial transactions in that crisis. Slezevicius outlined a program to rescue the country’s largest commercial banks, LAIB and Litimpex, from insolvency. He pledged that the assets of those banks would be unfrozen, beginning with the return of small deposits to needy citizens. On the same day, the Lithuanian government took over the entire stock of the commercial Aurabank in an effort to rescue it from failure. Aurabank becomes the fourth private bank to be taken over by the state. Also yesterday, Bank of Lithuania chairman Kazys Ratkevicius resigned under pressure. Foreign Minister Povilas Gylys and Defense Minister Linnas Linkevicius agreed January 8 to President Algirdas Brazauskas’ request to continue serving until further notice. The two ministers had resigned in protest over Slezevicius’ conduct. (13).
The key to the survival of Slezevicius and his government thus far has been the solidarity of the leadership of the ruling Democratic Labor Party and the parliamentary caucus around the prime minister. President Brazauskas has been guided by the pragmatic consideration that the government’s resignation would only delay resolution of the banking crisis, possibly adding political instability to financial turmoil.
Ukrainian-U.S. Military Cooperation Plan Signed.