Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevičius said on the LRT TV programme Savaitė that he would do everything to keep Interior Minister Saulius Skvernelis in his position.
Algirdas Butkevičius
© DELFI / Mindaugas Ažušilis

At the same time, Butkevičius denied there was an agreement to have Skvernelis run for parliament with the prime minister's Social Democratic Party.

Lithuanian Minister of the Interior Saulius Skvernelis handed his letter of resignation to the prime minister on Friday afternoon after an incident on Thursday, when a man detained by the police grabbed an automatic rifle from a police car and ran. The incident attracted much criticism for institutions under Mr. Skvernelis's authority.

Butkevičius said: “I phoned the minister and asked why he made that decision. He answered that the president made a statement after which, he, as a member of the cabinet of ministers, feels uncomfortable [about continuing in the post], he said that he did not know how to work after such distrust had been expressed. Therefore he decided to hand in the resignation letter.”

The prime minister added: “I have decided to try to persuade the interior minister to stay in his position. One year has left until the parliamentary elections and I can tell that he has started a radical reform... I am very happy about that. And most importantly – he has a long-term vision how to reform the entire system of statutory institutions.”

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