Ousted Paksas says he will again seek Lithuania presidency

Rolandas Paksas, hours after his removal from power, has declared that he will seek to regain the presidency in the next election, now expected to be held June 13. His intention was relayed to journalists by his longtime closest supporter, Rolandas Pavilonis.

The idea has the support of the parliamentary fraction of Paksas' Liberal-Democratic Party, Pavilonis said. He also discounted the chances of election in the special vote of the former president, Valdas Adamkus, Prime Minister Algirdas Brazauskas and temporary head of government Arturas Paulauskas. 'Their chances are nil,' he said.

According to Pavilonis, Paksas has lost much support in the wake of his impeachment but retains a significant following among elderly voters. His support was described as weakest among young people.

Lithuanian Prime Minister Brazauskas, speaking on Lithuanian National Radio, called for the leading parties of the nation to agree on a single, strong presidential candidate. He said Paksas' political situation, in the light of his impeachment, would be 'complicated.'

Paulauskas, who is temporarily in charge of the Lithuanian government, also thinks the country now needs a particularly authoritative figure at its head. He said he would put himself forward as a candidate if Adamkus and Brazauskas do not run and if the ousted president, Paksas, does run.

After a meeting today of the senior figures of the legislature's various fractions, Chyaslovas Yushenas, the speaker of parliament, said the date of the presidential election would be announced after the Roman Catholic Easter celebrations of April 13-15. He also said it would be sensible to hold the vote on June 13, when elections are already scheduled for the Parliament of Europe.

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