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Row over President Impeachment Likely To Continue Until After EU Accession in May

The row over impeaching President Rolandas Paksas seems likely to continue until after EU accession in May, further damaging Lithuania's image abroad.

The Constitutional Court in its March 16th opening session of hearings to determine whether President Rolandas Paksas violated the constitution rejected a call from the president's lawyers that the court's chairman Egidijus Kurys and all its judges be dismissed, the daily Lietuvos zinios reported.

Paksas's legal team argued that Kuris cannot rule impartially on the case because he met in December with parliament Deputy Chairman Gintaras Steponavicius, who was involved in the court's previous deliberations regarding Paksas's granting of Lithuanian citizenship to his greatest financial supporter, Yurii Borisov.

The court also rejected a further request that all the court's judges be dismissed because they expressed their opinions of the current case when they announced their decision on Borisov's citizenship last December.

In addition, the court rejected requests by the president's lawyers to postpone the hearings to allow them to examine recently-received materials.

Parliament deputy Raimondas Sukys, one of parliament's advocates in the case, said the actions of the president's legal team were unconstitutional.

(NewsBase 19.iii.04)

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