Lithuanian center-right parties form coalition

Four center-right parties in Lithuania agreed Monday to form a coalition government after sweeping a majority of seats in the Baltic nation's parliamentary election.
Led by the victorious Homeland Union, a conservative party that is critical of Russia, the potential partners warned in a statement that Lithuania is headed for tough economic times and that reforms are urgently needed.
"We clearly understand the challenges that Lithuania is facing as a global financial crisis is looming, and are ready to take full responsibility for the future of the country," the parties said.
Homeland Union leader Andrius Kubilius, a former prime minister, was likely to be nominated by the president to form the next government.
"Now that we have signed the agreement, we can start negotiations to agree on positions in ministries and parliament," Kubilius said Monday.
He also said that Homeland Union, a party renowned for its stinging criticism of Moscow and conservative stance on social issues, wanted to control the Defense, Economy, Finance and Foreign ministries.
The party won 44 seats in the country's parliamentary election, which was split into a party list vote two weeks ago and a runoff in single-mandate districts on Sunday.
The other coalition parties _ the National Revival Party, the Liberal Movement and the Liberal and Centrist Union _ won a combined 35 seats, giving the center-right bloc 79 votes in the 141-member legislature.
The governing Social Democrats finished in second place with 26 seats, losing their grip on power in the former Soviet republic, which regained independence 17 years ago and joined the European Union and NATO in 2004.
President Valdas Adamkus said Monday he expected the new coalition would be capable of launching reforms that had been delayed for years and were desperately needed for the largely Catholic country of 3.4 million.

Updated : 2021-01-28 18:15 GMT+08:00