Speech by Mr. Česlovas Juršėnas, Speaker of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania, delivered on the opening of the 9th (autumn) session (source: verbatim report)


10 September


My dear fellow Members of the Seimas,


Long ago philosophers established that every beginning has an end. Since our term of office did not begin from the nebula of nothingness but started in autumn 2004, and since according to the Constitution the duration of our term is four years, we may conclude that today we have gathered to the beginning on the end.    


The Members of Parliament who are tired or disappointed with politics probably feel delighted but professional politicians are filled with sadness of farewell. Our term of office in the Seimas will soon change its status from legal and political to historical. Historians will assess the significance of this term to the development of Lithuania’s statehood, and today, in particular on the eve of the elections, we are being judged by the media, political scientists, the electorate, and certainly, the parliamentary opposition, as well as the ruling parties of the Seimas. Lithuanians find it hard to say a word of praise. Our term of the Seimas has seldom heard praise too. By some the words used were even taken as swearwords. Indeed, there are people who criticize everybody but themselves. Therefore, we could ignore the comments posted on some websites and feel pity for their authors. But we must accept constructive criticism because we really deserve it. We have wasted much time for useless arguments, petty intrigues, and personal narcissism, which unfortunately has not enriched our political culture. The legislation that we have adopted has not always been perfect and some of it has had to be hastily amended. Nevertheless, this, my dear friends, does not belittle the great amount of valuable work done, including harmonisation of our legislation with the acquis of the EU, regulation of domestic economy, improvement of state administration, and development of democracy and social initiative.  


Dear colleagues, this term has been characteristic of some unique aspects. In the beginning of the term Mr. Artūras Paulauskas was elected Speaker of the Seimas, in the middle of the term Mr. Viktoras Muntianas took this post, and now the duty to conclude the term has fallen on me. Thus, we have set a record in the change of Speakers of the Seimas, which is not something that we should be pleased with. On the other hand, isn’t it nice that having started our term in the historic March 11 Hall we are concluding it in a modern plenary chamber? For this we should be grateful to the constructors, the economic division and the former leadership of the Seimas. During the entire term the parliamentary majority was shaking like leaves in the storm. The minority Government of Gediminas Kirkilas was in power with the right wing fiercely demanding from them to preserve the purity of social democratic ideology. It was for the first time in the modern history of Lithuania that to support this Government cooperation of eternal opponents, the Social Democrats and the Conservatives, was tested. Although, quite recently the patriarch of the Conservatives has argued that this cooperation was a self-injury to a leg, and yet who knows if they need not injure the other one. In any case this is the experience that may be considered when forming new coalitions just after the new parliamentary elections. One could find more interesting facts about our work; anyway, this is the last parliamentary session for quite a few of us. Some are not going to run for elections, some will not get a mandate from voters, yet others having disappointed their parties will be entered into party lists just on the off-chance. A number of us will realize that politics is unfortunately not necessarily a rewarding field of activity or perhaps there was too little work done to be rewarded. 


Dear friends, not long ago the Beijing Olympic Games were closed. We saw on several occasions that an athlete would win the contest by being the best in the final inches of the finish. I doubt whether a good finish of our term can help us win bronze at least. However, we still have chances to improve our image but we can tarnish it altogether by moving our election campaign to the plenary hall. Therefore, I invite you, dear colleagues, to focus on our work and to be as much productive so as to fulfill the tasks entrusted by our mandate, especially those that cannot be postponed. Thank you.              

 © Office of the Seimas, 2008