Viewing cable 08VILNIUS182
Title: LITHUANIA'S PARLIAMENTARY SPEAKER RESIGNS; PM ALSO

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
08VILNIUS1822008-03-28 14:43:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Vilnius
VZCZCXYZ0000
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHVL #0182 0881443
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 281443Z MAR 08
FM AMEMBASSY VILNIUS
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 2109
C O N F I D E N T I A L VILNIUS 000182 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/27/2018 
TAGS: PGOV LH
SUBJECT: LITHUANIA'S PARLIAMENTARY SPEAKER RESIGNS; PM ALSO 
UNDER FIRE 
 
Classified By: Ambassador Cloud for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d). 
 
¶1.  (U) SUMMARY.  Lithuania's Speaker of the Parliament 
announced his resignation on March 26 after he was caught on 
videotape apparently paying a bribe to a county official to 
facilitate his brother-in-law's real estate deal.  Muntianas 
denies any wrongdoing and alleges he was framed by political 
rivals.  Prime Minister Kirkilas is also under fire, in large 
part because of the poor public opinion poll numbers for his 
Social Democratic Party in the run up to October 
parliamentary elections.  END SUMMARY. 
 
Speaker Reluctantly Resigned 
----------------------------- 
 
¶2. (SBU) Viktoras Muntianas, Speaker of the Parliament since 
2006, announced on March 26 that he will resign.  His formal 
resignation will take place at the next meeting of 
Parliament, April 1.  He will also leave his post as the head 
of the coalition member Civil Democracy party.  Muntianas 
will retain his MP status.  He has not been formally 
indicted. 
 
¶3.  (SBU) The Civil Democracy party was weak before the 
scandal and may not win any seats in the upcoming October 
elections.  The party was created in May 2006, as a spin-off 
of the Labor party.  Muntianas claims that the head of the 
Labor party, Viktor Uspaskich, had a hand in his downfall. 
Muntianas believes that Uspaskich's Labor party wants revenge 
for Muntianas's role in splitting up the Labor party in 2006. 
 
 
Prime Minister Under Fire 
------------------------- 
 
¶4.  (C) As the Social Democratic Party has fallen to fourth 
place in public opinion polls, Prime Minister Gediminas 
Kirkilas has been increasingly under fire.  Kirkilas 
succeeded in January in establishing a majority government 
after spending eighteen months as prime minister of a 
fractious minority.  Kirkilas has been criticized as being 
ineffective -- unable to say 'no' to members of his coalition 
and unable to move forward any meaningful Government 
programs.  In addition, Kirkilas has not succeeded in gaining 
preeminence within his own party from now retired long-term 
party leader Algirdas Brazauskas. 
 
¶5.  (SBU) On March 18, 58 MPs called for an interpellation 
(i.e., essentially a potential vote of no confidence) of the 
PM.  The interpellation calls on the PM to answer 19 
questions, many focused on the establishment of a "national 
investor" that will operate Lithuania,s electrical energy 
sector, including developing a new nuclear power plant in 
Lithuania.  The PM is required to respond to the questions by 
April 1.  After his response, the Parliament will have five 
days to review his answers and can then call for a vote on 
whether to dismiss the PM, requiring a simple majority of 71 
MPs.  Most observers predict Kirkilas will survive the vote 
but will remain under fire. 
CLOUD