Former President Valdas Adamkus was again elected Lithuania's President on June 27, 2004.
He had been President 1998 - 2002, but lost the next election to Rolandas Paksas, a
populist politician. However, Paksas was accused with a number of serious charges,
including improper awarding of Lithuanian citizenship to a rich Russian financial backer,
divulging state secrets and improper business dealings. Paksas was impeached by parliament
and was removed from office in April this year. In the election that followed Adamkus got
the largest number of votes in the first round, but not enough for an absolute majority.
In the second round he ran against Kazimiera Prunskienė, who had been Lithuania's first
Prime Minister after reestablishment of independence in 1990, and won by a comfortable
margin of 5%.
President Adamkus and Mrs. Adamkus,
after winning the presidential election on
June 27, 2004, with the presidential flag.
Photo courtesy "Kauno Diena"
The re-election of Adamkus has finally resolved the long drawn out presidential crisis,
which arose with accusations against Paksas in November 2003. Paksas is the first European
head of state to be removed from office by impeachment in modern times. It was a testing
time for Lithuania's democratic system, through which Lithuania came through with flying
colours. Lithuania demonstrated its democratic maturity by carrying out the impeachment
process entirely peacefully, with strict adherence to the rule of law. There was no
violence, riots or any significant public disorder.
American President Bush and
Lithuanian President Adamkus,
during President Bush's visit
to Vilnius in November 2002.
Photo courtesy "Lietuvos Rytas"