The leading candidates for the post are the former Minister of Education Dainius Pavalkis, member of the parliament Juras Požela and former Healthcare Vice-Minister Erikas Mačiūnas. The ruling Social Democrats have yet to select a replacement for Šalaševičiūtė after she resigned after admitting paying a bribe to a doctor in the past.
All three candidates say they would like to take the post, but it is not clear how long will they have to wait for the party’s decision. According to the party’s rules, candidates should first be considered by the party’s Health Committee, headed by doctor Alma Monkauskaitė. However, there is no committee meeting for that matter planned as yet.
The former Vice-Minister of Health, social democrat Erikas Mačiūnas, who was thrown out of the Vice-Minister‘s position by the former Minister Šalaševičiūtė just after he had come into the office is considered the front-runner for the post.
However, the party‘s Transparency Group who pushed the Minister Šalaševičiūtė to step down are supporting Mačiūnas as a candidate. Moreover, he is strongly supported by the former Healthcare Minister Vytenis Andriukaitis.
The Social Democrats are also considering an outside candidate for the Healthcare post. Defence Minister Juozas Olekas would reportedly be happy to exchange his posting for the healtcare portfolio with former prime minister Gediminas Kirkilas taking over as Defense Minister. However, Kirkilas was said to have strongly opposed such a plan.