KGB scandal: Lithuanian parliament under pressure

A scandal has erupted in Lithuania over Mindaugas Bastys, a member of the country's parliament. It emerged that he had remained silent about having ties to a former KGB employee, which according to the Constitutional Court is unconstitutional. The parliament, however, voted to allow him to keep his mandate. The public is outraged, with thousands taking to the street to demand new elections. Are they right?

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Delfi (LT) /

Wiping their Russian boots on the people

The vote in the Seimas is nothing but a disgrace, Delfi rails:

“Now it will be the voters and history who pronounce judgment on this affair. But the Seimas led by Ramūnas Karbauskis [Chairman of the largest group in the parliament, the Farmers and Greens Union] has not passed the test of loyalty to the Lithuanian state, that much is clear. ... This day was a huge disgrace for the Seimas as a whole. Parliament will never be able to erase this blemish on its reputation. Farmers, you have wiped your filthy Russian boots on the people. Farmers, that's right.”

15min (LT) /

The eternal litany of new elections

Of course the opposition parties are now trying to exploit the scandal to their own advantage, 15min points out:

“That's our parliamentary tradition. As soon as the legislature period has reached its zenith the discussions about new elections start up again. But history has shown that such talk remains just that: talk. That the topic keeps coming up also has to do with the fact that local elections are held in the middle of the legislative period. The opposition parties see these elections as a chance to draw attention to themselves. It doesn't amount to much more than the buzzing of a bee. But with persistent buzzing you can catch the voters' attention - and their votes.”