Viewing cable 06VILNIUS511
Title: INTERIM GOVERNMENT TAKES POWER IN LITHUANIA

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
06VILNIUS5112006-06-02 13:58:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Vilnius
VZCZCXRO6301
PP RUEHAG
DE RUEHVL #0511/01 1531358
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 021358Z JUN 06 ZDK
FM AMEMBASSY VILNIUS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0227
INFO RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 VILNIUS 000511 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR EUR/NB 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/02/2016 
TAGS: PREL PGOV LH
SUBJECT: INTERIM GOVERNMENT TAKES POWER IN LITHUANIA 
 
REF: VILNIUS 502 
 
Classified By: Pol/Econ Officer Randolph Flay for reasons 1.4(b/d) 
 
SUMMARY 
------- 
 
¶1. (C) Lithuanian Prime Minister Algirdas Brazauskas handed a 
letter of resignation to the President Valdas Adamkus on June 
1, following the May 31 withdrawal of the Labor Party and its 
five ministers from the ruling coalition (reftel). 
Brazauskas's Cabinet remains in place on an interim basis 
with Finance Minister Zigmantas Balcytis as acting Prime 
Minister.  While the political parties are jockeying for 
position in the next coalition government, one thing seems 
certain: the Labor Party, smarting from its new role as a 
political pariah, is rumored to be preparing a campaign 
claiming that President Adamkus, whom it blames for its fall 
from power, served as a KGB agent.  We have prepared a 
contingency statement to defend Adamkus in the event that 
these allegations surface publicly.  End summary. 
 
PM RETIRES, PRESIDENT APPOINTS INTERIM GOVERNMENT 
--------------------------------------------- ---- 
 
¶2. (U) Prime Minister Brazauskas officially departed the 
Government of Lithuania June 1, after submitting his letter 
of resignation to President Adamkus.  President Adamkus 
signed a decree appointing Finance Minister Zigmantas 
Balcytis, a Social Democrat like Brazauskas, as acting Prime 
Minister.  His decree also retains the Brazauskas 
government's ministers to serve with the interim government. 
 
 
¶3. (U) Although he remains the Chair of the Social Democratic 
Party, Brazauskas stated publicly that he will not play a 
role in a new government.  The PM said he will assume the 
life of an "ordinary pensioner," and may complete and publish 
memoirs he began during his last retirement, from 1998 to 
¶2001. 
 
SOCIAL DEMS, CONSERVATIVES JOCKEYING TO LEAD NEW COALITION 
--------------------------------------------- ------------- 
 
¶4. (C) No clear leader has emerged to assemble the next 
government although two blocs are forming, but the Social 
Democrats appear to be leading the pack.  They signed a 
cooperation agreement June 1 with the Peasant Parliamentary 
group that forms a 32-seat bloc in the 141-member parliament. 
 The Civil Democracy group announced publicly today that it 
plans to join the bloc next Tuesday, potentially ratcheting 
up its strength to 43 MPs and making it the leading contender 
to form and lead the coalition.  A key member of the 
President's staff told us he expects that acting PM Balcytis 
will head the next coalition government. 
 
¶5. (C) The Homeland Union (Conservatives) signed a 
cooperation agreement with the center-right Liberal Movement, 
giving that bloc command of 37 parliamentary seats.  Media 
report that discussions are also underway to bring in the New 
Union Group (10 MPs) of former Parliamentary Speaker Arturas 
Paulauskas into the fold.  Party leader Andrius Kubilius told 
us he would carefully consider his options in the days ahead. 
 A six- or seven-party coalition, he said, would inevitably 
be difficult to manage and potentially short-lived.  The 
Conservatives, he concluded, might be better advised to 
remain in opposition. 
 
¶6. (U) The current correlation of forces within the 
Parliament is as follows: 
-- Social Democratic Group (21 MPs)   Peasant Group (11 MPs) 
-- Civil Democracy Group (11 MPs) 
-- Homeland Union Group-Conservatives (26 MPs)   Liberal 
Movement Group (11 MPs) 
-- New Union Group (10 MPs) 
-- Liberal and Center Group (8 MPs) 
-- Labor Group (31 MPs) 
-- Law and Order Group-Liberal Democrats (9 MPs) 
 
LABOR PAINS 
----------- 
 
¶7. (C) Both the President and the outgoing Prime Minister 
have said publicly that they do not expect to see the Labor 
Party in the government.  A Liberal Movement MP and others 
have told us that six or seven Labor MPs will likely abandon 
ship and move to the Social Democrats or Civil Democracy 
Party. 
 
¶8. (SBU) The Labor Party appears to be in disarray, beset 
with multiplying investigations.  The Lithuanian Tax 
 
VILNIUS 00000511  002 OF 002 
 
 
Inspectorate informed the Elections Committee June 1 of a 
$50,000 undeclared contribution to Labor Party coffers. 
Erstwhile Party leader Viktoras Uspaskich arrived back in 
Lithuania in the predawn hours of June 2 after more than two 
weeks in his native Russia.  Other parties are keeping their 
distance.  Even current Parliament speaker Muntianas, whose 
Civil Democracy group split from Labor just weeks ago, spoke 
publicly of his group's interest in being in the next 
coalition government, but said that it would only do so on 
the condition that Labor stayed out. 
 
POSSIBILITY OF A SMEAR CAMPAIGN 
------------------------------- 
 
¶9. (C) A member of the president's staff told us June 1 that 
the Labor Party will launch a campaign to tarnish the 
reputation of President Adamkus, beginning June 3.  We have 
been hearing for six months that Labor has a war chest, 
purportedly from Russian intelligence sources, to finance a 
smear campaign.  We are told by well-placed Lithuanian 
sources that a central element of this campaign will be the 
manufactured allegation that Valdas Adamkus was a paid KGB 
agent. 
 
¶10. (C) We have prepared a draft Embassy statement defending 
Adamkus that we plan to release in the event that these 
allegations surface publicly.  Our statement reads: "We have 
no reason to believe these allegations are true.  As an 
official with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 
President Adamkus left behind a laudable record of 
accomplishments. Today, President Adamkus is an international 
leader of unimpugnable integrity who has done a great deal to 
advance the cause of democracy, liberty, and U.S.-Lithuania 
relations."  We have shared this text with Adamkus's press 
spokeswoman, who told us that the Presidency was grateful for 
our planned response. 
 
TICKING OFF THE DAYS 
-------------------- 
 
¶11. (U) The Lithuanian Constitution stipulates that, within 
15 days (i.e., June 16), the President must submit to the 
Parliament his candidate for Prime Minister.  In practice, 
parliamentary groups will both form a coalition and recommend 
a PM candidate to the President in advance of this deadline. 
Following appointment by the President, the Prime Minister 
has 15 days to form a cabinet, obtain Presidential approval, 
and submit the Government's program to the parliament for 
consideration. 
 
¶12. (U) The new Government receives its powers when 
Parliament approves its program.  Should Parliament not vote 
on the Government's program within 30 days, or twice reject 
the program within 60 days, the President may call for new 
parliamentary elections. 
 
COMMENT 
------- 
 
¶13. (C) We expect the Social Democrats will play a central 
role in the new government.  Whether the Conservatives join 
their ideological opposites or stay on the outside remains to 
be seen.  Our best guess is that they will choose to stay 
out, betting that they will be much better placed for 
municipal elections if they remain in opposition. 
MULL