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Presidential office: Lithuanian president never promised to appoint Gudziunaite

VILNIUS – Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite says she never promised Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis that his environment minister candidate Irma Gudziunaite was fit to assume this position.

But the president refrains from commenting on the prime minister's statements that the president had directly promised Gudziunaite to appoint her.

The presidential office's statement comes in response to the prime minister's claim that Grybauskaite rejected the pre-agreed candidate.

"Before the meeting with the candidate, there were no prior promises that she was fit to assume the position. There were none and could not have been," the presidential press service told BNS Lithuania on Thursday.

It also said that under the usual procedure, the prime minister, first, informally nominates a candidate without any negative indicators. The prime minister is then informed that he can officially nominate the candidate. Following the official nomination, the candidate undergoes law enforcement checks pursuant to the existing laws.

"If law enforcement has no objections, the candidate is invited to meet with the president. Only after meeting with the candidate, the president makes the final decision, just as the Constitution envisages," the presidential office said.

It states that Grybauskaite's decision was determined by the candidate's lack of necessary experience and failure to demonstrate necessary knowledge and competence to manage the environment sector.

Prime Minister Skvernelis claims the candidate for environment minister was pre-agreed with the president before the official nomination. He says several other candidates had been considered but were not officially nominated due to lack of presidential approval.

"Gudziunaite was nominated only upon the president's approval. The president was aware of the candidate as she's currently a vice minister of justice," the prime minister said, adding that "the president told the candidate during the conversation that the decision would be positive."

Speaking with BNS Lithuania, the presidential office refused to comment on the contents of the president's meeting with Gudziunaite.

The latter expressed her disappointment over the situation on Facebook.

"I am accepting the decision on (non)appointment the way it is. The only sad thing is that I probably misunderstood the words that were said to me. Nevertheless, I hope such political puzzles will not become the reason for young people, especially young women, not to choose politics," she wrote.

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