- Title: Lithuanian parliament appoints ex-police chief and defence hawk as PM
- Date: 22nd November 2016
- Summary: VILNIUS, LITHUANIA (NOVEMBER 22, 2016) (REUTERS) ****WARNING CONTAINS FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY*** EXTERIOR OF LITHUANIAN PARLIAMENT SIGN READING (Lithuanian): "LITHUANIAN PARLIAMENT" MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT PRIME MINISTER CANDIDATE, SAULIUS SKVERNELIS (MIDDLE) PARLIAMENT HALL LITHUANIAN FLAG ON WALL SCREEN WITH VOTING RESULT SCREEN SHOWING RESULT OF VOTE AS: "REGISTRED-127, VOTED-127, FOR-90, AGAINST-4, ABSTAINED-33" NEWLY APPOINTED LITHUANIAN PRIME MINISTER, SAULIUS SKVERNELIS, RECEIVING GREETINGS FROM LEADER OF PEASANTS AND GREENS UNION, RAMUNAS KARBAUSKIS SKVERNELIS RECEIVING FLOWERS FROM PARLIAMENT SPEAKER, VIKTORAS PRANCKIETIS SKVERNELIS SPEAKING PHOTOGRAPHERS JOURNALISTS SKVERNELIS AT NEWS CONFERENCE (SOUNDBITE) (Lithuanian) NEWLY APPOINTED LITHUANIAN PRIME MINISTER, SAULIUS SKVERNELIS, SAYING: "Our main job will be to form the cabinet of ministers, to prepare a government programme which would suit all who didn't yet find concrete answers, and there is a challenge to form my team. One of the most important items on this week's parliament agenda will be the (draft) budget, decisions are needed on the labour code, social model. There will be no time for a breath from the very first day." CAMERAS SKVERNELIS PASSING
- Embargoed: 7th December 2016 13:38
- Keywords: Lithuania election government
- Location: VILNIUS, LITHUANIA
- City: VILNIUS, LITHUANIA
- Country: Lithuania
- Topics: Government/Politics,Elections/Voting
- Reuters ID: LVA00159J0WMX
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Lithuanian parliament appointed on Tuesday (November 22) Saulius Skvernelis, a defence hawk and former interior minister affiliated to Lithuania's Peasants and Greens Union, as prime minister after the party emerged surprise winners of a general election.
Skvernelis says he will keep Lithuania's pro-European policy, and, in face of resurgent Russia, pledged to increase country's defence spending above NATO's informal threshold of two percent of gross domestic product after 2018.
His nomination comes amid worries in the Baltics that Russia, their former Soviet master, might act to grab them back by force following its annexation of Crimea in 2014.
Skvernelis, 46, first built a reputation as Lithuania's police chief for his campaign to stamp out corruption in country's force and cut its staff numbers.
Skvernelis was tapped to head the interior ministry in 2014. He resigned the following year after a decision to issue country's policemen with AK-47 rifles backfired badly, but was told by the prime minister to keep his job.
A homeless man was accidentally shot and a suspected drug addict stole one of the weapons from a police car before evading a police manhunt. The AK-47s, issued as a precaution after Paris attacks, were withdrawn soon thereafter.
The Peasants and Greens, with 54 seats in the 141-seat parliament, emerged as the biggest party in a late-October election, ousting a coalition of the Social Democrats, Labour and Order and Justice parties which had been in power since 2012. The new government takes over in December.
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