Viewing cable 04VILNIUS1496
Title: LITHUANIAN PRESIDENT FORCES CABINET SHAKE-UP

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
04VILNIUS14962004-12-08 13:34:00 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 001496 
 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR EUR/NB 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/07/2014 
TAGS: PGOV PREL LH
SUBJECT: LITHUANIAN PRESIDENT FORCES CABINET SHAKE-UP 
 
REF: A. VILNIUS 1455 
     ¶B. 12/03 COHEN-CEFKIN EMAIL 
 
Classified By: Pol/Econ Officer Christian Yarnell 
for Reasons 1.4 (b) and (d) 
 
 ¶1. (C) Summary: President Valdas Adamkus scored a major 
political victory on December 7, forcing the ruling coalition 
of PM Algirdas Brazauskas to replace two Cabinet candidates. 
Viktoras Muntianas and Rimantas Vaitkus are now out of the 
line-up, and, if cleared by investigative services, Labor 
Party member Gintaras Furmanavicius and Social Democrat 
Juozas Antanavicius will serve as Interior Minister and 
Education Minister, respectively.  Adamkus signed a decree on 
the appointment of a new government on December 7, with 
parliamentary approval expected early during the week of 
December 13.  The nomination of Furmanavicius as Interior 
Minister is a concern, as he has links to indicted swindler 
Gintaras Petrikas, who is currently facing extradition 
proceedings in California.  End Summary. 
 
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Victory for President 
--------------------- 
 
¶2. (U) Prime Minister Algirdas Brazauskas, after a four-hour 
negotiating session with President Valdas Adamkus and Labor 
Party leader Viktor Uspaskich on December 7, yielded to the 
President's concerns on the proposed Cabinet (refs A and B) 
and agreed to replace two of his proposed Ministers.  Adamkus 
had singled out these two candidates, Viktoras Muntianas, 
Labor Party candidate for Interior Minister, and Rimantas 
Vaitkus, Social Democratic candidate for Education Minister, 
as being particularly problematic in the eyes of the 
Presidency (ref A).  Labor Party head Viktor Uspaskich 
announced that Muntianas, now excluded from the Cabinet, 
would instead receive one of the five Deputy Speaker of 
Parliament positions. 
 
¶3. (C) The coalition's concession on the Cabinet was a major 
victory for Adamkus, who is riding high here thanks in large 
part to his role as mediator in Ukraine.  Political analysts 
describe Adamkus's victory as a coup of sorts, as the 
Lithuanian Constitution does not explicitly provide the 
President with substantive powers over the formation of the 
Cabinet.  Uspaskich had threatened to withdraw to the 
opposition if Adamkus did not approve Muntianas, his deputy 
in the Party and former mayor of Uspaskich's hometown of 
Kedainiai.  One of Adamkus's domestic policy advisors and 
member of the negotiating team told us that the Presidency 
was in fact "surprised" by the result and had not expected 
the coalition to yield on Muntianas. 
 
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Revised Cabinet List 
-------------------- 
 
¶4. (U) Adamkus signed a decree on the appointment of a new 
government immediately following the announcement.  Adamkus 
will meet the compromise Cabinet candidates -- Gintaras 
Furmanavicius (Labor), now proposed for Minister of Interior, 
and Juozas Antanavicius (Social Democrat), candidate for 
Minister of Education -- on Friday, December 10 following his 
return from the Baltic Trade Investment Mission in London. 
The pair will also have to pass a screening by Lithuania's 
Special Investigative Service (STT).  Adamkus will likely 
present the decree to Parliament without delay, however, and 
most observers expect Parliament to confirm the new Cabinet 
and its program early in the week of December 13. 
 
¶5. (U) The revised list of Cabinet members is as follows: 
 
-- Prime Minister:      Algirdas Brazauskas (Social Democrat) 
 
-- Agriculture:         Kazimiera Prunskiene (Peasant Party) 
-- Culture:             Vladimiras Prudnikovas (Labor) 
-- Defense:             Gediminas Kirkilas (Social Democrat) 
-- Economy:             Viktor Uspaskich (Labor) 
-- Education:           Juozas Antanavicius (Social Democrat) 
-- Environment:         Arunas Kundrotas (Social Democrat) 
-- Finance:             Algirdas Butkevicius (Social Democrat) 
-- Foreign Affairs:     Antanas Valionis (New Union) 
-- Health:              Zilvinas Padaiga (Labor) 
-- Interior:            Gintaras Jonas Furmanavicius (Labor) 
-- Justice:             Gintautas Buzinskas (Labor) 
-- Labor:               Vilija Blinkeviciute (New Union) 
-- Transportation:      Zigmantas Balcytis (Social Democrat) 
 
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Controversial Interior Minister 
------------------------------- 
¶6. (SBU) Furmanavicius, formerly in charge of public 
relations for telecommunications giant Lietuvos Telekomas and 
with no previous government or law enforcement experience, is 
himself a controversial figure.  From 1992-1997, 
Furmanavicius occupied a key post in the Lithuanian firm 
EBSW, working closely with EBSW owner Gintaras Petrikas. 
Petrikas is wanted in Lithuania for embezzling over 80 
million litas (approximately 30 million USD) as head of EBSW. 
 Petrikas fled to the United States to avoid arrest, but 
Californian authorities arrested him in May.  Petrikas is 
currently fighting extradition proceedings in Los Angeles. 
 
¶7. (C) Adamkus stated that he knew of Furmanavicius's work 
for EBSW but that, according to the Presidency's information, 
"there is no direct responsibility of his for the holding's 
activities."  One of the President's advisors told us that 
they do not expect any difficulties with Furmanavicius's 
candidacy, sans a red flag from the STT. Should the STT 
determine that Furmanavicius is unfit to serve as a Cabinet 
minister, he noted, the coalition would have to find "a 
replacement to the replacement." 
 
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Comment: Furmanavicius' Link to Petrikas a Concern 
--------------------------------------------- ----- 
 
¶8. (C) Despite Furmanavicius's checkered past, he is likely 
to pass the screening of the investigative services. 
Ironically, as Minister of Interior, Furmanavicius would have 
a role in executing the extradition of his old colleague 
Petrikas, an important goal for us and the Lithuanian 
authorities.  There is a real possibility that a conflict of 
interest could affect the celerity and vigor with which the 
GOL pursues Petrikas's extradition.  We will continue to work 
with the GOL in order to complete the extradition. 
Kelly