Lithuanian MEP Gabrielius Landsbergis, who is the leader of the conservative Homeland Union - Lithuanian Christian Democrats, is giving up his seat in the European Parliament earlier than planned in order to concentrate on campaigning ahead of October's general elections.
Gabrielius Landsbergis
© DELFI / Mindaugas Ažušilis

"We had made a decision in the party that I would give up my European Parliament seat once we finalized the candidate list for the Seimas elections. However, in light of yesterday's events, I have decided to return to Lithuania immediately and do everything I can to rebuild voters' trust in new-generation politics and politicians," Landsbergis said in a statement.

On Thursday, Lithuania's anti-corruption service brought allegations against Liberal Movement leader Eligijus Masiulis who is suspected of taking a €100,000 bribe from a business group. Masiulis, whose party is considered a close ally of the conservatives, subsequently stepped down as the liberal leader and parliament member.

Landsbergis, the grand-son of Lithuania's first post-independence head of state Vytautas Landsbergis, has led the Homeland Union since last year. He has received some criticism from fellow conservatives for keeping his job in Brussels instead of dedicating himself to leading the party who has suffered a sharp drop in ratings.

A recent amendment to national electoral laws has Lithuanian MEPs and municipal council members automatically lose their seats, if they decide to run for national elections.

Landsbergis will be the Homeland Union's candidate in the Centras-Žaliakalnis single-member district in Kaunas and will top the party's candidate list in the multi-member constituency.

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