With the Ministry of Environment remaining without a head for more than three months now, the opposition Social Democratic Seimas group is proposing to legally bind the prime minister to find a minister in 15 days. This has also received support from the Conservatives, however PM Saulius Skvernelis has described the proposal as anti-constitutional.
Saulius Skvernelis
© DELFI / Rafael Achmedov

Based on social democrats Julius Sabatauskas and Algirdas Sysas' cabinet law amendments, the prime minister must present a new cabinet minister candidacy to the president within no less than 15 days following one's dismissal.

"What is happening with the minister of environment [office] reveals the prime minister's capriciousness – if one candidate is not approved by the president "then I won't propose any, instead just wait for the presidential elections or some other term," A. Sysas said.

The proposal has received backing from the opposition Homeland Union – Lithuanian Christian Democrat (TS-LKD) party chairman Gabrielius Landsbergis.

"Yes, I support it, such an initiative has also appeared in our group. [...] I believe that it is the constitutional duty of a prime minister to nominate minister immediately. Currently, it is a game being played – will do / won't do, will abolish the ministry / won't abolish the ministry. It is according to kindergarten principles, not state governance. I believe that even the discussion about these 15 days is necessary, it should remind the prime minister that one of his jobs is to nominate ministers and have a functioning cabinet," G. Landsbergis stated.

Sees no issue with the Ministry of Environment

The prime minister believes that such proposals clash with the Constitution because the country's main law does not outline such deadlines.

"Furthermore, legislation should not narrow a certain discretion of the prime minister and president in forming the cabinet and in my opinion this does not adhere to the Constitution. On the other hand, even if looking at the legislation – what would happen if a candidacy is not proposed in fifteen days? It would be an understatement to say that this would not be in accord with legal norms," S. Skvernelis said.

According to the PM, currently the search for a new minister of environment continues.

"You see, people who are truly able, would want to and have the competences to face these challenges see examples when candidacies are rejected without argument and part of people do not want to enter such a situation that could raise doubts of their competence," S. Skvernelis said.

"Farmer" leader Ramūnas Karbauskis mused that such a proposal is superfluous.

"The head of the cabinet knows what is necessary to work successfully. Let me remind of our neighbouring Latvia where, I believe, the cabinet was formed after three months," R. Karbauskis said.

He does not believe that there is need for much drama over the lack of a minister.

"The minister of energy is standing in for the position, the ministry is operating and if there is no minister up to June, nothing would happen, however I have heard from the prime minister that he will nominate a candidate in the near future," R. Karbauskis said.

The Ministry of Environment has not had a minister since December 7 when Kęstutis Navickas was dismissed.

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