Lithuania's Government Falls
Lithuania's government collapsed on Wednesday, hot on the heels of the country's rejection by Brussels over the single currency. However, whilst the stalling of Lithuania's bid to join the currency may have hastened the demise, it was allegations of corruption which provided the main fuel for the fire.
The Prime Minister, Algirdas Brazauskas, a veteran of the Communist Party, was one of the many Eastern European leopards who changed their spots after the fall of the Iron Curtain.
"I think the time has come for a new and younger generation to take over. I have been prime minister for five years, which has been enough,'' the 73 year old reflected in a news conference.
The Prime Minister has stepped down along with his entire government. Several of his peers have had their names muddied of late. It emerged that the Health Minister had repaired his car with state funds, whilst the Culture Minister had found it hard to resist arranging family trips with state cash.
President Valdas Adamkus has now called for a new coalition, but the pursuit of the EU currency will go on. Lithuania joined the EU in May 2004, and along with Slovenia, it was scheduled to adopt the currency in January 2007. However, Lithuania fell 1% over the maximum inflation rate when adjudication came this May.