My dear fellow citizens,
This afternoon I would like to make a few comments on yesterdays elections.
The election did not bring unexpected surprises. However, the candidates of the ruling majority did not win as many votes as expected. I believe that the polls have sent a serious warning signal to the ruling majority.
No one probably was surprised that Rolandas Paksas, who leads a new assertive, aggressive political party and who had served twice as the prime minister of Lithuania, will compete in the run-off.
As a candidate I did not use, regrettably, all possibilities to convey my vision of Lithuania for the next years. I regret that due to the time constraints I could not respond to all criticism directed at me during the election campaign. Although a number of valuable ideas were raised, some of them cause serious doubts.
Much was said during the election campaign about the powers of the President. Interestingly enough, I was subjected to continual reprimands before the campaign for being too active and interfering in the matters beyond the scope of the presidential powers. I constantly heard that the President should be concerned only about foreign policy and leave domestic issues for others to deal with.
However, a very different song was heard during the election campaign. The very same politicians changed their tune and all of a sudden started talking about the Presidents failure to exercise his powers and his insufficient interference in home affairs.
The President was even reprimanded for not taking command of all special services and introducing with their help a strict order in Lithuania. But I was not and will not be a dictator.
I have always promoted and defended a democratic Lithuania. The examples of one person rather than the law commanding special services are numerous in the world and in particular in its Eastern hemisphere. Such a state order had existed in Lithuania in the past. Lithuania had fought against it and liberated from it. As the President I did and will do everything within my power to prevent the reestablishment of such an order in Lithuania.
Today Lithuania needs to step up transformations. It needs hard working responsible public officials. If I am re-elected, I will demand first of all personal responsibility from our officials. Together with Prime Minister Algirdas Brazauskas we shall review the Cabinet. I believe that our Government should be renewed and strengthened in order to deal with important tasks, which need to be done without any delay to ensure a better life for all the people of Lithuania.
Today we should ensure a stable coalition in the Seimas. If I am given the second term, I will seek to consolidate Lithuania in the community of Western democracies so that in May 2004 Lithuania could become a full member of NATO and the European Union.
I believe that we should further step up our relations with the neighbouring states and the CIS countries. The European Union and NATO expect us to come up with new initiatives in this area. Therefore, our foreign policy targets in the coming years should be consolidation of European integration and a new Eastern policy.
Today about 16 per cent of the Lithuanian people live in extreme poverty. Around 10 per cent of our people do not have a job. Many people lack quality education. We must pool our efforts and reduce significantly with the help of the European Union the number of those who live in poverty and have no job. We must help the largest possible share of our population to acquire quality education. I believe that through joint efforts we shall be able to fulfill these tasks.
Yesterday, the Lithuanian electorate completed only half of the task. But the final decision our nation will take on January 5th.
I would like to thank sincerely all the people who came to the ballots yesterday and who supported my candidacy. And I call on each and every one to come to the ballots on January 5th and complete the work started yesterday.
Press Service of the President