Viewing cable 04VILNIUS1455

04VILNIUS14552004-11-30 14:18:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Vilnius
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 VILNIUS 001455 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/29/2014 
Classified By: Pol/Econ Officer Christian Yarnell 
for Reasons 1.4 (b) and (d) 
 ¶1. (C) SUMMARY: President Valdas Adamkus on November 29 
appointed Algirdas Brazauskas the new Prime Minister of 
Lithuania.  Brazauskas, in turn, presented the President with 
his list of ministerial candidates, which includes Labor 
Party boss Viktor Uspaskich and Peasant Party leader 
Kazimiera Prunskiene.  The list includes several 
controversial figures Adamkus opposes.  The President has 15 
days to approve the PM's Cabinet before it goes to the 
Parliament for confirmation.  Although Adamkus could reject 
Brazauskas's list in whole or in part, we expect he will in 
the end approve the Cabinet list to avoid charges that he is 
destabilizing the government.  The ruling coalition promises 
to be unstable enough regardless of what the President does. 
PM Brazauskas Presents Cabinet List 
¶2. (U) President Valdas Adamkus signed a decree November 29 
appointing Algirdas Brazauskas as the new Prime Minister of 
Lithuania.  The decree also directed the PM to present, 
within 15 days, his list of Cabinet members to the President. 
 Brazauskas, who had already reached agreement with his 
coalition partners on the composition of the Cabinet, 
immediately presented the following list to Adamkus: 
- Gediminas Kirkilas (Social Democrat), Defense; 
- Algirdas Butkevicius (Social Democrat), Finance; 
- Zigmantas Balcytis (Social Democrat), Transportation; 
- Arunas Kundrotas (Social Democrat), Environment; 
- Gediminas Vaitkus (Social Democrat), Education; 
- Antanas Valionis (New Union), Foreign Affairs; 
- Vilija Blinkeviciute (New Union), Labor; 
- Zilvinas Padaiga (Labor), Health; 
- Vladimiras Prudnikovas (Labor), Culture; 
- Viktoras Uspaskich (Labor), Economy; 
- Gintautas Buzinskas (Labor), Justice; 
- Viktoras Muntianas (Labor), Interior; 
- Kazimiera Prunskiene (Peasant Party), Agriculture. 
The Special Investigative Service (STT) has already conducted 
background investigations on all these candidates and issued 
a clean bill of health. 
List not to Prez or PM's Liking 
¶3. (C) Adamkus had opposed Uspaskich, Muntianas, Buzinskas, 
Prudnikovas, Vaitkus, and Prunskiene during negotiations with 
Brazauskas.  Presidency officials told us that Adamkus had 
recognized that he would not be able to block all of these 
controversial candidates, most notably party leaders 
Uspaskich and Prunskiene.  He had, however, hoped to convince 
Brazauskas to remove at least two of the most objectionable 
nominees, Muntianas and Vaitkus.  Many consider Muntianas, 
whose principal qualification seems to be his association 
with Uspaskich and Uspaskich's business, under-qualified for 
a ministerial position.  Some, including at least one top 
Presidential advisor, also worry that Muntianas is "too close 
to the Russians."  Meanwhile, media reports have linked 
Vaitkus to a forgery scandal involving the Latvian-based 
Baltic Russian Institute, and he earned a reputation as a 
poor manager during his tenure at the Ministry of Education. 
¶4. (C) Brazauskas publicly supported Vaitkus's nomination. 
Of the other controversial candidates, he said that coalition 
partners had refused substitutions and that he would refuse 
accountability for the actions of his ministers. 
Nonetheless, Laurynas Bucalis, head of the PM's press 
service, told us that the PM would in the upcoming days make 
clear his responsibility for the work of the government as a 
The President's Options 
¶5. (C) Arnoldas Pranckevicius, advisor to the President for 
domestic policy, told us that the Constitution is silent on 
what would happen if the President rejects the PM's list, and 
the Constitutional Court has never ruled on this issue.  A 
"thumbs down" could trigger another round of parliamentary 
elections, although Pranckevicius argued that Adamkus could 
instead ask Parliament to vote down Brazauskas as PM and 
select a new candidate.  Pranckevicius said that this would 
"not be a real option," however, given the strength of the 
Brazauskas-led coalition in Parliament. 
¶6. (C) Another option for Adamkus, according to his advisor, 
would be to present an incomplete Cabinet for Parliamentary 
approval, excising one or two controversial candidates from 
the list.  Adamkus could thereby try to force Brazauskas's 
hand to make some substitutions.  Partial approval of the 
cabinet would also lead Lithuania into uncharted 
Constitutional territory, according to some analysts, 
although Brazauskas has already opined that the Constitution 
allows only for the approval of a complete Cabinet. 
¶7. (U) Reluctant acceptance of the PM's list is the 
President's final option. 
Comment: Adamkus Likely to Yield 
¶8. (C) Adamkus does not have firm ground to stand on in 
rejecting candidates on the list, and we suspect that in the 
end he will present Brazauskas' list in its current form to 
Parliament for confirmation.  Adamkus did not support the 
formation of this coalition government, but he will not 
likely risk taking the blame for its premature demise.  In 
the end, we believe that he will conclude that the coalition 
is unstable enough to collapse on its own, with no 
presidential fingerprints.  The past week's tug-of-war within 
the nascent coalition over Lithuania's response to the 
post-election turmoil in Ukraine supports such a conclusion. 
FM Valionis and his New Union compatriots side with Adamkus 
in seeking a Lithuanian leadership role in brokering a 
negotiated solution, while Brazauskas and his fellow Social 
Democrats have espoused a more hands-off policy.  This debate 
exposes the fault lines of what promises to be an inherently 
fragile government.