President Algirdas Brazauskas yesterday approved the composition of Lithuania’s new government, formed by a conservative coalition around Fatherland Union, which won last month’s parliamentary election. FU’s Gediminas Vagnorius is the new prime minister, the Christian-Democrat Algirdas Saudargas foreign minister, his colleague Ceslovas Stankevicius defense minister, and Confederation of Industrialists’ (CI) vice-chairman Vincas Babilius the new economics minister. The youngest cabinet member, at age 28, is the successful private entrepreneur — now finance minister — Matileuskas of FU. The new government has been scaled down to 17 ministries. The parties in the government coalition control more than two thirds of the 141 seats in parliament, whose new chairman is FU leader Vytautas Landsbergis. (BNS, December 4)
Landsbergis, Vagnorius, and Saudargas held the posts of head of state, prime minister, and foreign minister, respectively, in the 1990-1992 government which led Lithuania to independence from the USSR. They are co-founders of the Sajudis movement that spearheaded the struggle for independence. Vagnorius, less known internationally than his two colleagues, was born in 1957 and is a trained engineer and economist with the reputation of a radical economic reformer. The presence of the CI’s Babilius in the cabinet’s most powerful economic post reflects the FU’s pre-election agreement with the CI, envisaging an acceleration of market reforms. The left-of-center Democratic Labor party had approached such reforms cautiously during its 1992-96 rule.
Georgian Guerrillas Operate in Abkhazia.