Viewing cable 06VILNIUS610
Title: LITHUANIAN PRESIDENT NOMINATES DEFENSE MINISTER AS

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
06VILNIUS6102006-06-29 14:42:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Vilnius
VZCZCXRO4961
PP RUEHAST
DE RUEHVL #0610/01 1801442
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 291442Z JUN 06
FM AMEMBASSY VILNIUS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0334
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 VILNIUS 000610 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
SENSITIVE 
 
E.O. 12958:N/A 
TAGS: PGOV PREL PINR LH
SUBJECT: LITHUANIAN PRESIDENT NOMINATES DEFENSE MINISTER AS 
THE NEXT PRIME MINISTER 
 
REF: VILNIUS 581 and previous 
 
VILNIUS 00000610  001.2 OF 002 
 
 
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SUMMARY 
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¶1. (SBU) Lithuanian President Valdas Adamkus nominated 
acting Defense Minister Gediminas Kirkilas for the post of 
Prime Minister June 28.  The parliament held hearings on 
the nomination June 29 and will vote on Kirkilas's 
candidacy as early as July 4.  The Social Democrats and 
Conservatives appear to have worked out an agreement that 
will allow the Conservatives to support Kirkilas in the 
upcoming vote.  Adamkus's staff tells us that a new 
government will not be in place until July 13 at the 
earliest.  This Mission enjoys a strong and positive 
relationship with Kirkilas; his ascension to the PM post 
would be good news for us.  (Kirkilas's biography follows 
in paragraph 6.)  END SUMMARY. 
 
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SOCDEMS SEEKING CONSERVATIVE SUPPORT 
------------------------------------ 
 
¶2. (U) The SocDem-led coalition (53 MPs) seeks Conservative 
support to ensure that Kirkilas garners the simple majority 
needed in the 141-seat parliament for confirmation.  The 
parliament rejected the SocDem's earlier PM candidate 
Zigmantas Balcytis on June 22 (reftel), largely because of 
the Conservatives' active opposition.  Following the 
President's announcement of the decision to nominate the 
acting Defense Minister for the Prime Minister's post, 
Kirkilas told journalists that: 
 
-- the SocDems plan to proceed with the current coalition, 
consisting of the National Farmers' Union, the Civil 
Democratic Party, and the Liberal Center Union (a total of 
53 MPs); 
 
-- the SocDems intend to start consultations with other 
parties to garner additional support; and 
 
-- the SocDems intend to sign a cooperative agreement with 
the Conservatives that would allow the Conservatives to 
support Kirkilas's PM candidacy without participating in 
the coalition. 
 
¶3. (SBU) A Conservative MP who participated in the 
negotiations with the SocDems told us privately that it is 
too early to say whether or not Conservatives will support 
Kirkilas.  This MP said that the Conservatives will express 
support for Kirkilas if the SocDems sign a "stability 
agreement" with the Conservatives that clearly states the 
SocDems will be leading a minority government and that lays 
out specific tasks for the new government, including 
implementing transparency in the allocation of EU funds and 
enhancing anti-corruption legislation.  Andrius Kubilius, 
leader of the Conservatives, also publicly demanded that 
the SocDems guarantee that the Conservatives will chair the 
Audit, Ethics, and Anti-Corruption parliamentary 
committees. 
 
----------------------------------- 
LABOR PARTY LEGAL TROUBLES ESCALATE 
----------------------------------- 
 
¶4. (SBU) Meanwhile, the troubles, the most powerful party 
in the previous government, continue.  The Prosecutor's 
Office officially articulated its suspicions about Labor 
Party malfeasance on June 22, the first step in a process 
likely to lead to indictment.  Prosecutor General 
Algimantas Valantinas told reporters that his office 
suspects the Labor Party of violating two articles of the 
Criminal Code: fraudulent accounting and submitting false 
data on incomes, profit, and property in an effort to evade 
taxes. The party may be fined, restricted from certain 
activities, or face termination of its activities 
altogether.  Labor Party Leader Viktor Uspaskich, who had 
already suspended his activities as the party's chair, 
officially resigned following the Prosecutor's 
announcement.  President Adamkus and the Conservatives 
continue to reiterate publicly their demand that a new 
governing coalition include neither the Labor Party nor the 
Liberal Democrats. 
 
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COMMENT 
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¶5. (SBU) We have found Kirkilas very easy to work with as 
Defense Minister, and expect this constructive relationship 
 
VILNIUS 00000610  002.2 OF 002 
 
 
to continue if he receives confirmation as PM.  Despite 
their ideological differences, Kubilius enjoys a cordial 
relationship with Kirkilas, which improves the latter's 
chances of securing the PM's post.  Confirmation hearings 
went relatively smoothly on June 29.  If the SocDems 
deliver on the Conservatives' demands (and they have said 
they will), we expect the Conservatives will support (or at 
least not object) to Kirkilas's nomination on Tuesday. 
 
--------------------------------------------- ------ 
BIOGRAPHY OF CANDIDATE FOR PRIME MINISTER GEDIMINAS 
KIRKILAS 
--------------------------------------------- ------ 
 
¶6. (U) Kirkilas was born on August 30, 1951 in Vilnius.  He 
is the eldest of seven children born to a teacher and an 
engineer.  From 1969-1972, Kirkilas was a conscript in the 
Soviet Northern Fleet in Severomorsk.  From 1972-1976, he 
studied Lithuanian literature at the Vilnius Pedagogic 
Institute.  He also worked through the 1980s as an art 
restorer and gilder. 
 
In 1982, Kirkilas received a degree from the Communist 
Party Institute in Vilnius.  The same year, he started a 
career in the Communist Party apparatus.  In 1986, Kirkilas 
became the First Assistant to the Secretary of the Party's 
Central Committee Culture Department.  He later served as 
Assistant Spokesman of the Party's First Secretary and 
later of Lithuanian President Algirdas Brazauskas. 
 
When the Lithuanian Communist Party split from the 
Communist Party of the Soviet Union and renamed itself the 
Democratic Labor Party (LDDP) in 1990, Kirkilas became a 
member of its Central Committee and Deputy Chairman.  He 
has been a member of the Seimas (parliament) since 1992, 
and served on the Seimas National Security, Foreign 
Affairs, and European Affairs Committees.  From 1994-2000, 
he was the equivalent of the party whip for its faction in 
parliament. 
 
Kirkilas was active in merging the LDDP and the old Social 
Democratic Party into one single Social Democratic Party in 
2001 and was elected its deputy chair.  For several years, 
he directed the party's press outreach and election 
campaigns. 
 
When the Social Democrats returned to power in July 2001, 
Kirkilas became chair of the Seimas Foreign Affairs 
Committee.  He also chaired a group of MPs who wrote the 
Lithuanian government's original national security strategy 
in the 1990s.  Kirkilas has also served as chair of 
Lithuania's delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly. 
 
He headed the party's national election campaign in 2004 
and the coalition negotiations that followed.  He became 
Defense Minister on December 7, 2004 as part of the cabinet 
led by Prime Minister Algirdas Brazauskas.  Since the fall 
of the Brazauskas government in June, Kirkilas has stayed 
on as acting Defense Minister and has led negotiations with 
other political parties over the establishment of a new 
ruling coalition.  President Adamkus submitted his name to 
the Seimas on June 29 as candidate for the post of Prime 
Minister. 
 
Kirkilas is married to Liudmila Kirkiliene, who works for 
the "Lithuanian Railways" company.  They have a daughter, 
Diana; a son, Rolandas; and an adopted son, Andrius. 
 
Kirkilas is a pipe-smoker, and his hobbies include tennis, 
ping-pong, and fishing.  He likes to make public ping-pong 
challenges to other prominent politicians, promising to 
quit smoking if he loses (so far, he hasn't).  He is a 
prolific author and has published more than 1,000 articles 
(at least 50 of them aimed against conservative ideologue 
Vytautas Landsbergis) and a book on politics.  Kirkilas 
speaks Lithuanian, Russian, and English. 
 
KELLY