VILNIUS, Nov. 14 – The new parliament of Lithuania gathered for its first sitting on Monday to take charge of the country’s legislation for the coming four years.
The new parliament is dominated by new faces and members of parliament (MPs) from the Peasants and Greens Union (LVZS), the winner of the parliamentary elections. Eighty-two MPs in the 141-seat parliament are new or have returned to the Seimas after at least a four-year break. LVZS, the leader of the new ruling coalition, secured 56 seats at the elections three weeks ago.
Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite, who visited the Seimas on Monday to address the new MPs, emphasized that the high number of new MPs meant Lithuanian people want new policy. She urged MPs to contribute to the transformation of the political system.
“For thousands of Lithuanian citizens, you have become a new hope,” Grybauskaite told the parliament, noting the country wanted “indifference to turn into empathy, selfishness into responsibility, professionalism to replace ignorance, and decisive policy to replace inaction.”
“It’s in your hands,” she said.
Six parliamentary groups have been formed in the new Seimas. The Social Democratic Party (LSDP) — the leader of the outgoing government, who came third in the parliamentary elections with 17 seats — now has 19 MPs in their group. Last week, LSDP agreed with LVZS to form the ruling coalition and got three ministers out of 14 in the government.
The ruling coalition is to have 78 members in the 141-seat Seimas.
The parliament’s biggest opposition group, the conservative party the Homeland Union – Lithuanian Christian Democrats (TS-LKD), has 31 seats, followed by the Liberal Movement of Lithuania with 14 MPs.
The election of the speaker of the Seimas was among the first tasks for the new parliament. Late Monday, agronomist Viktoras Pranckietis, a newbie in the Seimas and proposed by LVZS, was elected to lead the Seimas. His candidacy was supported by 93 MPs.
“Today we are all are obliged to create a new page of Lithuanian history,” Pranckietis said in his speech to the Seimas after the voting. He named the new Seimas “the parliament of hope.”
With the first sitting of the new parliament, the outgoing government has returned its mandate to the president. On Monday, Grybauskaite signed the decree for the government to continue its work until the new cabinet takes office early December.Media agencies