On Thursday, the final vote on the LRT investigation commission’s conclusions was held in Seimas. As Remigijus Žemaitaitis, who chaired the sitting, noted – this vote was unprecedented. Amendments proposed by Aušrinė Armonaitė and the conclusions‘ first article were approved, but the vote on the second article did not pass. When voting on the full conclusions project, the Seimas also did not approve it, lrt.lt writes.
© DELFI / Domantas Pipas

55 MPs voted in favour of the full project, with 57 voting against and 5 abstaining. The conclusions proposed to change LRT management – establish a board, change council member appointment procedures, shorten their terms.

After the vote, Agnė Širinskienė posed a question, which she described as a quip, whether the ad hoc commission should now extend its work because "an interesting legal situation has emerged."

The Seimas nevertheless plans to take to amending the LRT law in its spring session. The amendments have already been registered.

When the project discussions began, A. Armonaitė proposed to remove the most dangerous proposals on management changes, such as matching the terms of political institutions and the LRT council members they appoint, the establishing of a board.

While Ramūnas Karbauskis noted that the conclusions are simply a recommendation and the commission did not aim to politicise the LRT, A. Armonaitė's proposal received the backing of 62 MPs, with 35 voting against and 15 abstaining. This led to the ad hoc commission's investigation conclusion points;;;;; and being removed and the first article passing. The second article, however did not and the final vote was also not successful.

Earlier in the day, the Seimas mixed group and Homeland Union – Lithuanian Christian Democrats group requested to remove the question of the LRT from today's Seimas agenda, citing the need to wait for the Constitutional Court's ruling on whether such a parliamentary investigation of a news media outlet does not clash with the Constitution.

The Seimas has already voted on the conclusions twice. The first time they were rejected and sent back to the Culture Committee, chaired by Ramūnas Karbauskis, for amending. While the committee returned the conclusions unchanged, the second vote was won with 55 voting in favour, 47 against and 3 abstaining.

While the opposition claims that the changes will allow for more effective and transparent management of the national broadcaster, the opposition is critical of the proposals, noting that this way the work of the LRT is politicised and "Farmer" representatives would gain influence on the broadcaster's management.

The LRT's management, as well as international organisations such as the European Broadcaster's Union and UNESCO have expressed concern over the suggested management changes.

"Farmer" leader Ramūnas Karbauskis has registered amendments linked to the conclusions, which he believes could be passed in the Seimas spring session without waiting for the conclusions to be approved and the Constitutional Court to rule on adherence to the Constitution in general.

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