Justice minister undecided on future in government after president’s criticism

Milda Vainiutė
DELFI / Andrius Ufartas

“There is no decision at the moment,” Vainiutė told journalists at the government on Monday when asked whether she would step down.

Earlier on Monday, President Dalia Grybauskaitė said that the situation at the Justice Ministry and the Prisons Department when the ministry’s employees and the prime minister’s adviser spoke up about suspected political pressure during the audit of the system “showed that the minister is not in her cup of tea, she is definitely not coping with her job and is demonstrating political disability.”

“I believe I am managing the situation but, of course, we are always very grateful for the criticism, as it always helps to work better. I truly respect the head of the state, her opinion is very important to me, it would be incorrect to comment, as she is the head of the state who appoints persons to positions, she is entitled to stating (this opinion),” Vainiutė said before a meeting with Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis.

In a news conference last week, Rasa Kazėnienė, an employee of the Justice Ministry who had earlier worked at the Kaunas remand service, said Justice Vice-Minister Raimondas Bakšys had put a halt on her proposal to turn to the law-enforcement in the investigation in connection to the Pravieniskės penitentiary. Kazėnienė said the justice minister was present at the meeting where Bakšys silenced the initiative.

Bakšys on Monday announced resignation. Vainiutė emphasized she had not pressured him into stepping down.

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