Lithuanian parliamentarians, both from the ruling parties and the opposition, say the decision by Vytautas Gapšys, first vice-chairman of the Labour Party, to resign as a member of the Seimas is the right, but belated step.

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Vytautas Gapšys
© DELFI / Karolina Pansevič

Kęstutis Bartkevičius, head of the Order and Justice political group at the Seimas, said on Monday that the reasons for Gapšys' decision to leave the parliament were not clear to him.

"He said he was innocent. He was so confident and now he is leaving the Seimas. This is something of a puzzle," he said.

Gediminas Kirkilas, the Social Democratic deputy speaker of the Seimas, said that Gapšys had apparently been forced by his party to give up his mandate.

Andrius Kubilius, leader of the Seimas opposition and head of the Homeland Union–Lithuanian Christian Democrats' political group at the parliament, thinks that Gapšys is quitting because he understands that the charges he is facing "are so serious that a public hearing at the Seimas would not have a positive impact on him and his political career".

Gapšys announced his decision to quit as lawmaker during Monday's meeting of the Labour Party's council. He said that he had nothing to hide from prosecutors, who suspect him of taking a €25,000 bribe from Raimondas Kurlianskis, vice-president of MG Baltic, one of Lithuania's biggest manufacturing, trade, real estate and media groups.

Gapšys stays as head of the Labour Party's election headquarters and is at number three on the party's list of candidates in the multi-mandate constituency in the October 9 general elections.

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