Social Democrat Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevičius has accused the Seimas opposition of undermining democracy and the rule of law on Thursday while responding to questions about Environment Minister Kęstutis Trečiokas at the Lithuanian parliament.
Algirdas Butkevičius
© DELFI / Šarūnas Mažeika

Trečiokas, who survived a no-confidence vote in parliament this week, has been accused by the opposition of having lied to the parliamentary Anti-Corruption Commission when he said he had not been asked by the mayor of Druskininkai to push through a government decree last September that lifted zoning requirements in resort areas.

"This is something that only prosecutors can tell. I am not competent to decide who lied and who did not," Butkevičius said in response to questions by conservative MPs of the Homeland Union - Lithuanian Christian Democrats.

Prosecutors investigated suspicions that Trečiokas could have pushed through the decree benefiting Druskininkai mayor, but later dropped the probe. The environment minister's actions were also scrutinized by the Chief Official Ethics Commission, which also decided in Trečiokas' favour.

This, according to Butkevičius, shows that the issue "has collapsed politically and from the point of view of public relations".

"I can sometimes observe speculations that threaten the foundations of the rule of law in our democratic state," Butkevičius told the Seimas, insisting that the decree on zoning requirements was adopted legitimately.

He also suggested that the dropped investigation was politically motivated from the beginning and aimed at discrediting the current government.

"The preliminary investigation was opened in November. In democratic countries, when law enforcement institutions see potential threats arising from certain legislative acts being passed, drafted or submitted, they inform state leaders about it. These thoughts were communicated to me recently by some prosecutors even at the Prosecutor General's Office. But we see that in Lithuania, there are directed attempts to find ways to compromise the government and concoct a politically-motivated case," Butkevičius said.

He added that double standards apply in Lithuania which allow some parties get away with more, while others are put under a magnifying glass.

Butkevičius also listed a number of "lies and crimes" perpetrated by the conservatives, including funds to promote the Visaginas Nuclear Power Plant project and businesses of conservative leader Gabrielius Landsbergis' wife.

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