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Last Updated: Tuesday, 16 December, 2003, 20:13 GMT
Lithuania set to impeach leader
President Rolandas Paksas
President Rolandas Paksas denies any wrongdoing
Senior politicians in Lithuania say they have enough signatures to impeach President Rolandas Paksas.

Prime Minister Algirdas Brazauskas and parliamentary speaker Arturas Paulauskas said at least 85 members supported impeachment in parliament.

Thirty-six were needed to start proceedings in the 141-member chamber.

Mr Paksas is accused of violating the constitution and having links with organised crime - he has denied the allegations and vowed to stay on.

The impeachment document says Mr Paksas posed a threat to national security, leaked state secrets, obstructed the work of state institutions and let top aides abuse their office.

Belgian cool

To oust the president, a majority of 86 deputies is needed.

Officials say impeachment proceedings could start on Thursday and last up to six months.

The scandal comes as Lithuania prepares to join the European Union and Nato next year.

In recent weeks there have already been big demonstrations in the capital Vilnius, calling for Mr Paksas to resign.

However the president - a former Soviet aerobatics champion - has resisted the calls.

"I'm as calm as a Belgian," Mr Paksas recently said, using a traditional Lithuanian phrase.




SEE ALSO:
Report slams Lithuania president
01 Dec 03  |  Europe
Shock result in Lithuania poll
05 Jan 03  |  Europe
Country profile: Lithuania
16 Nov 03  |  Country profiles


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