Lithuania parliament chief fired, headache for PM
The speaker of Lithuania's parliament was sacked in a no confidence vote.
The speaker of Lithuania's parliament was sacked in a no confidence vote on Tuesday after pictures were released showing him in the company of organised crime figures.
Arunas Valinskas, who denied any wrongdoing, was the third speaker in a row to be fired or to resign amid scandal and his ouster will cause a political headache for Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius. It could see some deputies from Valinskas's bloc quit the governing coalition.
Kubilius is already grappling with drawing up the 2010 budget which will have to deal with a 20 percent drop in GDP in the second quarter in the former Soviet Baltic state.
He wants to avoid having to appeal for help from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as neighbour Latvia had to do last year.
Valinskas, a well known former host of a popular TV show, formed a party last year with other entertainment figures that came a surprise second in October elections. His group has since split in two, but remains in the four-party coalition.
"It's absurd and all these accusations are nonsense. They make me laugh," Valinskas told parliament in a speech, before being voted from office.
He has said pictures in newspapers showing him in the company of organized crime figures were taken when he was a TV show producer, before he joined politics.
Kubilius also has to satisfy a group of 13 parliament members, which are currently in the coalition but who split from Valinskas earlier this year. They have previously asked to be given the two ministerial posts which Valinskas and his supporters currently hold.
Reuters Güncelleme Tarihi: 15 Eylül 2009, 18:41