Tomas Žilinskas appointed Lithuania’s new interior minister

Tomas Žilinskas
DELFI / Mindaugas Ažušilis

Grybauskaitė emphasized that with six months left until the general elections, it was important to have a minister who was not a member of a political party but rather a professional with experience of working in the system, the president’s spokeswoman Daiva Ulbinaitė told journalists on Wednesday.

Žilinskas, who is not affiliated with any political party, will replace Saulius Skvernelis who was removed from the post after announcing his plans to run for parliament with the Peasant and Greens Union.

Žilinskas was proposed for the post by the Order and Justice party, which has the portfolio of interior minister under the coalition agreement.

The minister-designate acquired a degree in history at the Vilnius University in 2002, completing his master’s degree in law at Mykolas Romeris University in 2013.

Žilinskas worked at the Police Department in 2001-2003 and the Interior Ministry in 2003-2006, with his duties focusing on international relations.

Between 2006 and 2009 he was the Lithuanian attaché for the law-enforcement at the mission to the European Union (EU).

Upon return to Vilnius in November 2009, he briefly served as adviser to Lithuania’s police chief and then returned to the Interior Ministry.

Speaking at the press conference, Žilinskas has pledged to continue the reforms in the police system and focus on security in the light of the migration crisis and terrorist attacks in Europe.

“Let me assure you that the reforms in the police system will continue,” Žilinskas told journalists after meeting with President Grybauskaitė, adding that the reforms should be “well-considered and not drastic”.

“The president formulated professional tasks for state and public security in the aftermath of the attacks in Paris and Brussels, as well as the migration situation. It is my goal to see responsible services ready to respond to challenges,” said the minister-designate.

Žilinskas, 38, emphasized he was not a member of any political party and pledged to be independent of the ruling Order and Justice party that delegated him to the post.

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