Lithuania. After several years of unsuccessful
negotiations, Lithuania and Poland agreed in February to connect
the countries' electricity networks through the construction
of a new power line. It is planned to be completed sometime
between 2012 and 2015. At the same time, Lithuania tried during the
year to accelerate the plans for an electric link to Sweden
under the Baltic Sea. But Lithuania stood without replacement
energy before the shutdown of the last reactor at the Ignalina nuclear power plant at the end of 2009. Therefore,
a referendum on continued operation in Ignalina was held in
October, and nine out of ten voted yes, but the turnout was
too low for the result to be valid. The EU insisted that
the reactor, which is of the Chernobyl type, should be
closed until 2010, as agreed in Lithuania's membership negotiations.
In March, neo-Nazis held an anti-Jewish march in Vilnius,
when the police did not intervene. Lithuanian politicians
were late in condemning open anti-Semitism, which drew
international criticism. There was also foreign criticism
that prosecutors were investigating Jewish survivors of the
Holocaust for suspected war crimes during the year, while no
Lithuanians had served any punishment for participating in
the Jewish extermination in L.
After a political conflict in the state leadership,
Lithuania took home his 33 fighting soldiers from Iraq during the
summer. The Socialist Minister of Defense had long wanted to
end Lithuania's Iraq operation but faced opposition from the
country's US-loyal President Valdas Adamkus.
Countryaah reports, Lithuania's Foreign Minister Petras Vaitiekūnas was first in
place from the EU in Georgia to rate the country's support
when the war against Russia broke out in August. Thereafter,
President Adamkus traveled to Tbilisi together with the
leaders of Estonia and Latvia, among others. They also
criticized the EU Presidency France's plan for resolving the
conflict, saying it did not show sufficient respect for
Georgia's integrity. Lithuania became the only EU country to oppose
resumed EU negotiations with Russia in the autumn on a new
strategic partnership agreement.
In Lithuania there was widespread dissatisfaction with the
socially democratically led coalition government, and before
the October parliamentary polls, the polls were populated by
populist parties: Order and justice led by President-elect Rolandas Paksas and the Labor Party led by fraudulent
businessman Viktor Uspaskitjj. A few months before the
election, a new populist party, the National Resurrection
Party, was formed, with a series of TV celebrities and the
popular host Arūnas Valinskas in the lead.
However, the winner of the election became the
Conservative Confederation, led by Andrius Kubilius. The
party received close to 20 percent of the vote. Then the TV
celebrity followed Valinska's party with 15 percent, the
Social Democrats with just under 12 percent and in fourth
place Uspaskitj's Labor Party.
Andrius Kubilius was commissioned to form a new
government. He formed a coalition with the Confederation of
the Fosterlands, the National Resurrection Party and two
small liberal parties. The majority of the four-party
government was 81 out of 141 seats. The controversial
Valinskas, once convicted of a fake bomb threat, was elected
the new President of Parliament. His wife, a pop singer, had
also been elected as a member.
As in the Baltic neighboring countries, the economy in
Lithuania went from overheating to a sharp slowdown, while inflation
was expected to reach close to 12 percent during the year.
The forecasts of nearly 7 percent growth came as a shame;
the economy was expected to stand still or go backwards.