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VILNIUS: Lithuania’s president yesterday vetoed a proposed coalition government, saying one of the three parties involved stood accused of serious voter fraud in a weekend election and was therefore unfit to govern.
President Dalia Grybauskaite’s surprise intervention cast a cloud of uncertainty over the aftermath of the election — which turned into a vote against austerity — setting up a possible standoff or new talks on forming a different government.
The party accused of fraud, the Labor Party, strongly denies wrongdoing. “The principle of the presumption of innocence must be kept to,” said Viktor Uspaskich, the party’s leader. “The will of the people must not be spat upon”.
The election put centre-left parties promising to ease the impact of austerity in pole position to form a new coalition, but the president’s gambit gave Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius an opening to stay in power or have a role in a new coalition.
The opposition Social Democratic Party, the Labor Party and the party of an impeached former president held a meeting in the early hours of yesterday to discuss a coalition.
But Grybauskaite said she refused to back a coalition which included Labor, which stands accused of buying votes during the two rounds of voting.
“A party which is suspected of gross violations in the election, which is suspected of false accounting and non-transparent activities cannot participate in the government’s formation,” the president told reporters.