Lithuanian president turns to Constitutional Court over government decree

Dalia Grybauskaitė
DELFI / Tomas Vinickas

“The ‘Vijūnėlė Mansion’ scandal has been continuing for several months now and undermining trust in the government,” the president said in a statement on Thursday.

“We keep slipping into a mire of evasions and unfulfilled promises. I can no longer believe in assurances that the situation will be addressed. Only the Constitutional Court can eliminate doubts and put an end to this story,” she added.

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The “Vijūnėlė Mansion” is how the Lithuanian media have dubbed a house in central Druskininkai linked to the town’s Mayor Ričardas Malinauskas. The building had been under investigation for illegal construction, but the charges were dismissed after a government decree passed last September removed zoning requirements for construction in that area.

Prosecutors suspected that Malinauskas pressured Environment Minister Kęstutis Trečiokas into pushing the resolution through. Although the investigation has been dropped, the investigators published phone conversation transcripts, suggesting that Trečiokas made promises to Malinauskas to make sure that the government passed the decree.

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Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevičius had said Trečiokas would have to step down, if it were proven that he broke the law or official ethics. After government’s lawyers and official ethics commission said there was no breach or rules, Butkevičius said Trečiokas would stay on.

Grybauskaitė has commented on the story on numerous occasions, accusing the government and PM Butkevičius of failing to assume political responsibility.

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