President urges MPs to look forward as Seimas opens fall session
Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė on Monday called on lawmakers to stop looking back and not to waste their time on squabbling as she congratulated the Seimas on the start of its new fall session.
Opposition MPs fear that plans to launch new parliamentary investigations will hamper legislative work, while the ruling bloc's lawmakers say they will focus on implementing the government's program.
"Looking back does not help create the future, but only adds to the turmoil and raises political tensions," the president said in her message of congratulation.
Lithuania's upcoming municipal, presidential and European Parliament elections will inevitably affect the parliament's work, she noted.
The top items on the fall agenda include preparations for a dual citizenship referendum, the healthcare reform and efforts to stop retail prices from rising further, Grybauskaitė said, calling on the parliament to go the constitutional way in addressing these issues, rather than looking for artificial facilitations or exceptions.
Viktoras Pranckietis, the speaker of the Seimas, said that the parliament should discuss almost 600 pieces of legislation during its fall session.
"The key tasks in implementing the government's program will include passing 2019 budgets for the central government and local governments and for Sodra and the Compulsory Health Insurance Fund," the speaker said.
"(The budgets) provide for further steps to reduce social exclusion, such as increasing the child benefit and support for young families buying their first homes," he said.
Gabrielius Landsbergis, leader of the opposition Homeland Union–Lithuanian Christian Democrats, said he was worried that the Seimas would focus on parliamentary probes rather than on legislative work.
Ramūnas Karbauskis, leader of the ruling Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Union (LVŽS), is initiating a parliamentary investigation into unlawful influence on political processes between 2008 and 2016.
He mentioned last week that the bankruptcies of Snoras and Ūkio Bankas should also be looked into.
Under the Constitution, the parliament's fall session starts on September 10 and ends on December 23