Skvernelis stays as Lithuania’s minister of the interior

Saulius Skvernelis and Algirdas Butkevičius
DELFI / Tomas Vinickas

“I appreciate the confidence, support for me as a person as well as for the work we do as a team in the interior affairs system; also people’s opinion and support. I have made the decision to work in the prime minister’s team until the end [of this government] next autumn,” Skvernelis said.

Prime Minister Butkevičius said that Skvernelis had done “great work” during his time at the ministry.

Skvernelis decided to resign after he had been criticized by the parliament speaker and the president following a high-profile manhunt operation in Vilnius on November 19.

A massive police operation was launched to catch a man who had been detained for a minor offence but escaped with an automatic rifle he grabbed from a police car. The operation lasted four hours and involved some 3,000 officers and a helicopter. No one was hurt.

The following day, Parliament Speaker Loreta Graužinienė complained that Skvernelis had been reluctant to inform her about the progress of the operation. Skvernelis retorted that he was answerable to prime minister alone and that the parliament speaker had no right to make demands on him. President Dalia Grybauskaitė later commented that the interior minister mishandled the public exchange with Graužinienė.

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