President rejects environment minister candidate, PM lashes out

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Irma Gudžiūnaitė

The Lithuanian president rejected on Wednesday the candidacy of Irma Gudžiūnaitė for the environment minister's position, prompting the prime minister lashing out.

"Gudžiūnaitė is an energetic and promising young politician but she lacks the necessary expertise," President Dalia Grybauskaitė was quoted as saying in a statement released by her office.

"Professionalism, expertise in the area, administrative capacity, transparency and avoidance of conflict of interest are the main president's demands for all the ministers," the statement read.

Gudžiūnaitė, currently deputy minister of justice, was nominated by prime minister Saulius Skvernelis.
Shortly after the president's decision, Skvernelis reacted on Facebook claiming "it will be impossible to agree on the candidacy with the president".

"Not one or two possible candidates for the environment minster were discussed with the president. Unfortunately, an agreement was not reached on either of them. Gudžiūnaitė's candidacy was harmonised with the head of sate in advance, that is why she was nominated," Skvernelis said.
In his words, the president mentioned after the conversation with the candidate that a decision would be favorable, therefore the rejection "was a surprise".

The prime minister added that the minister of energy will continue as the acting minister of environment for a few more months.

Skvernelis unexpectedly reshuffled his cabinet back in December 2018. After ministers of education and culture were replaced, Skvernelis was publicly criticized for his all-male government as 13 out of 14 ministries are headed by men while the position of the environment minister remains vacant.
In May, Lithuania will hold presidential election, which will replace country's incumbent president after her two terms at the office.

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