Loreta Graužinienė intends to continue as Lithuania's parliamentary speaker even after resigning from leadership of the ruling Labour Party, pledging to continue in the post at least until a new leader of the party is elected.
Loreta Graužinienė
© DELFI / Mindaugas Ažušilis

"As soon as the party elects a new leadership, we will speak to it then," Graužinienė told journalists at the parliament on Wednesday, saying she will not run for the party's leading post.

The politician said she wanted to complete the tenure of the parliamentary speaker.

"Yes, I want to (continue as the Seimas speaker). I have immense expertise in the field, and this also a position that the state should not replace very often," said Graužinienė.

She restated her plans not to run for the Labour Party's leadership in October.

"I will definitely not participate in the race, even if the party's branches vest their confidence in me," Graužinienė said.

"I have to put it very clearly – I will not be a candidate, as I believe that a new leader should lead the party to a new phase of parliamentary elections, he must set up a team and work out a strategy," she stated on Wednesday, adding she had warned the party about her plans to withdraw from re-election.

She announced her resignation from the leadership of the Labour Party during a visit in Ukraine on Tuesday.

Graužinienė said she made the move "taking personal responsibility for the results of the recent local elections", which were less than successful for the party.

Party taken by surprise

Chairman of the Labour Party political group in the Seimas, Kęstutis Daukšys, says the party has not yet considered who may succeed former chairwoman Graužinienė.

Daukšys says there are many candidates who might take the position and everything will depend on the party's chapters and congress. The date when the congress will convene has not been announced yet.

According to Daukšys, the party will be temporarily headed by First Deputy Chairman Valentinas Bukauskas.

Daukšys refused to comment on Graužinienė's, who is also Parliament Speaker, move because the news was unexpected and he said he did not know the motives behind it. "I will give an assessment once I am informed about the motives," he said.

Vidas Gedvilas, First Deputy Speaker of the Seimas, member of the Labour Party, seconded that the news was a surprise. "I think the party needs changes. I believe a strong politician takes resolute decisions after realising the lack of success or bad luck," he said.

According to Gedvilas, there are many people in the Labour Party who could be candidates for the chairperson's position. He said that politics was a dynamic process and one can become a deputy chairperson and then an ordinary member of the party even after leading it.

Gedvilas did not specify whether Graužinienė should remain the Seimas Speaker after resigning as chairwoman of the Labour Party. He claimed this would be decided by the party, its council is scheduled to convene on Friday.

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