LITHUANIA’S RULING PARTY STEPS TO THE BRINK.
Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 21
Lithuanian president Algirdas Brazauskas yesterday dismissed Prime Minister Adolfas Slezevicius, but the latter vowed to stay in office. Slezevicius told the press yesterday that he would "stay on to resolve the banking crisis, continue economic reforms, and ensure stability" in accordance with the decision of the Democratic Labor Party (DLP) leadership to retain him in his post. As chairman of that party, Slezevicius received overwhelming DLP support at a weekend meeting of the party’s council and parliamentary leaders. Brazauskas, DLP chairman before being elected president, has urged the DLP to place public above partisan interests, lest "the underworld" exploit the country’s banking crisis. In a tense meeting with the president yesterday, the DLP leadership sought in vain to reverse his decision on Slezevicius in exchange for the resignation of Internal Affairs Minister Romasis Vaitekunas, who has also defied presidential and public censure of his conduct in the banking crisis.
The DLP-linked daily Diena attacked Brazauskas for "betrayal" and warned that the party might drop him in the next presidential election. Slezevicius and the DLP leadership have taken advantage of Brazauskas’ concern for political stability and his reluctance to work with opposition parties to force a change of government prior to the parliamentary elections scheduled for October. To avoid a government crisis, the president has asked ministers to continue in office. Opposition parties would like to install a government of experts and advance parliamentary elections to July. Six DLP defectors have now joined 59 opposition deputies in the 140-member parliament on a motion to support the president’s dismissal of Slezevicius. In a further indicator of the erosion of DLP dominance, 19 out of 68 DLP deputies announced the formation last weekend of a Social Activism group. The group will remain within the DLP, but have its own "genuinely social-democrat," anti-corruption platform. (11)
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