„As soon as I have a free hour, I will address it immediately, because this is the second time this week. As I have already mentioned, according to the doctrine of the Constitutional Court, there can be political absences, but they must not become systematic,“ Šedbaras confirmed to lrytas.lt.
And again, no meeting
The meeting of the Committee on Law and Order, which started at 9 a.m., lasted only six minutes. The meeting was postponed from Wednesday to Friday because no opposition representatives were present then either. As a quorum was not present, the meeting could not take place and be finally adjourned after hearing the guests who had joined the meeting.
However, the situation is repeating itself. On Friday morning, only the representatives of the ruling party and a group of guests who were due to speak on the relevant issues joined the Committee meeting.
As Šedbaras began to count the members of the Committee, he noticed that all four opposition representatives were missing: the Social Democrat Julius Sabatauskas, Algirdas Stončaitis, a member of the Democrats' group „In the Name of Lithuania“, and the representatives of the Regions' group, Agnė Širinskienė and Česlavas Olševskis.
The latter two did not give any explanation as to why they were again boycotting the sitting. The Committee Chairman noted that Mr Sabatauskas, as Vice-Chairman of the Seimas, might not be present at the meetings, while Mr Stončaitis had been warned that he needed to see a doctor.
A few minutes later, Šedbaras was informed that Širinskienė had mentioned to her colleagues that she was going to her usual meeting with voters on Friday. However, her agenda indicated that she was attending a meeting of the Committee on Law and Order.
„It seems to me that a person in his second term as a Member of the Seimas should have read the Board's decision that the committee day is Wednesdays and Fridays and that he goes to see his constituents on Mondays,“ said the chair of the Committee.
He stated that „a lawyer who has not read the Board's decision should be given a moral reckoning.“
„I apologise profusely to the colleagues who joined. I see the Deputy Minister of Justice and representatives of the Attorney General's Office are present. Time is being wasted. However, after today's meeting, it will probably be necessary to turn to the Seimas Ethics and Procedures Commission to consider whether those Members of the Seimas who are absent from the meeting without being informed are not in breach of their oath of office,“ the conservative said.
After waiting a few more minutes, the Chairman of the Committee finally stated that the meeting would not take place again.
„Colleagues, we have after 9 o'clock. 6 minutes. Mr Olševskis and Ms Širinskienė neither warned nor joined the committee meetings. In that case, we will close the committee meeting. We will discuss the same issues again next Wednesday. We hope that there will be a quorum. I am very sorry for this behaviour of the Members of the Seimas,“ Šedbaras said regretfully.
The work of the Committee is paralysed
Later, the Chairman of the Committee told lrytas.lt that the work of the Committee was completely paralysed, as it was impossible to discuss issues of great importance without the opposition representatives being present.
„The Committee's activity is completely paralysed, and the issues are very important – the draft reform of the correctional institution's system has been pending since Wednesday. It would certainly be very necessary to adopt it in the spring session because the reforms are coming“, he explained.
Šedbaras pointed out that he would contact the Seimas Ethics and Procedures Commission on Friday to assess the activities of colleagues who do not attend meetings.
We recall that the opposition, furious with the ruling party, boycotted part of the committee meetings already on Wednesday, outraged by an unscheduled Seimas meeting held early in the morning that day, which was to decide on the interpellation of Agriculture Minister Kęstutis Navickas.
Opposition representatives, who had received notices of the meeting in the evening, did not attend it on purpose, and the Minister thus retained his post.
The opposition revolt continued on Thursday. On that day, the opposition learned that the renewed schedule for the June plenary sittings of the Seimas did not include any of their representatives. In response to this action, and after receiving an apology, the opposition left the Seimas Chamber and went off to work separately.
Later, it submitted a list of demands to the ruling party, failing which it threatened not to return to sittings until the autumn.