Address to the Nation by H. E. Mr. Rolandas Paksas 2004 04 05
Good evening, dear people of Lithuania,
Today the Seimas has begun the final stage of impeachment proceedings against the President. It may be as soon as today or tomorrow that the members of the Seimas will take the final decision on removing me as the President of the Republic.
Finally, everything has become clear with respect to allegations made against me during the five months of havoc. Not a single mention is made any more of my links with foreign criminals, of that slanderous allegation that was thrown at me on the first day of the scandal. Likewise, nobody talks any more about threats to national security.
Every day during these months, absurd claims were voiced to convince you that removal of the President is the only way for democracy to flourish and a new life to settle in Lithuania.
For long months the initial allegations, which are no longer heard today, have been disturbing your minds, spreading mistrust and splitting society. But more important than that is that they have done enormous damage to the standing of Lithuania in the world.
Now, after the Constitutional Court has published its ruling, each of you can assess the seriousness of wrongdoings that I as the President of the Republic have made. Have I committed offenses or made mistakes? I do not deny my mistakes. I admit making smaller or bigger mistakes. Guided by simple human feelings, I made an upsetting mistake recently. I have rectified it. I have dissociated myself from my former supporter. I once again extend my sincere apologies to you if any of my decisions or actions have hurt you.
As I acknowledge mistakes, which I failed to avoid, I still want to say that none of them was serious enough to cause damage to Lithuania. None of my decisions or actions inflicted damage on Lithuania or harmed the interests of its people.
My dear countrymen,
My presidential responsibilities have provided me with a unique opportunity to feel a strong bond with you. Your resolve, wisdom and dedication have helped to rebuild the Independent State of Lithuania. However, after fourteen years of freedom, you are still suffering from deprivation and are concerned about your future and the future of your children.
I want to apologise for failing to protect you from psychological tensions and injustice that you encounter while hopelessly trying to get back your savings or land and while hopelessly searching for justice in courts and in the corridors of bureaucracy.
During my meetings with you in towns and villages of Lithuania I have seen that you are experiencing hardships and that you have been left to fight your battles alone because most politicians turn to you only when they seek power and need your votes. However, they often forget you and your worries after they distribute posts in the government offices.
I know that you are hurt by the open cynicism of those in power and their implied suggestions that you do not know how to get a piece from the stateís pie whilst they know and can do it.
Dear people of Lithuania,
I want to thank you for your sincerity, your trust and your human kindness. I want to thank you for everything that I have experienced while being with you at my difficult hour. After each of my meetings with you I have experienced the feeling of guilt for not being able to help you much because the system that I was determined to fight as I took a decision to seek the post of the President is more powerful than you can imagine.
I have to admit that sometimes my team lacked professionalism or flexibility. But it has never lacked the desire to work. I am convinced that this scandal would not have erupted if my advisers and I had not attempted to destroy the corrupt system.
Today I pay a high price for this attempt to fight the system that I had to become a part of. But I did not want to play the role assigned to me. Therefore, I was attacked from the first day in office and I was subjected lately to the most ruthless and bitter humiliation, scorn and blackmail.
Many times I have been asked, urged and forced to resign. I was constantly reminded that I would lose the pension due to the President and other social guarantees if I refused to resign.
Resignation would be the easiest decision. However, I came to this post not because I wanted to gain from it or to get social guarantees or better accommodation. I sought this post in order to change together with you our life. I was guided by belief that the post of the head of state was the best way for reaching this goal.
My firm determination not to resign should encourage you, dear people of Lithuania. In any situation man should seek justice and defend his rights granted by the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania. I call on you never to give up and never abandon belief in justice.
Last week was a historic time for Lithuania. Our country has become a full member of NATO. On 1 May, we will join the European Union, which puts such values as human rights and freedoms as well as human dignity above everything else. Human rights and freedoms are the corner stones of modern democracy.
I believe that Lithuania will gradually become a genuine democracy free of double standards, à la carte justice and the supremacy of political decision over the letter of the law. There is no other option for us in Europe but to live according to the rules of modern civilisation.
Therefore I urge you not to get disenchanted with your own efforts and your own country, and to continue to believe in democracy and justice.
Dear people of Lithuania,
A year ago you elected me as the President of this country. Soon the members of the Seimas, whom you had also elected, will decide my fate as the head of state. You will say whether the members of the Seimas have expressed your will, as you will be voting for a new Seimas later this year.
I know that most of you are waiting with trepidation for the outcome of the impeachment proceedings. I have heard that some of you intend to demonstrate your position by gathering at the Seimas. I call on you to maintain peace under all circumstances.
Regardless of one or another decision taken by the Seimas, I will accept it with dignity. Though this artificially created scandal has done huge damage to Lithuania, it has uncovered the most painful sores of our life, which otherwise might have tortured us for a long time. We have to live through this dark period and cleanse ourselves.
I believe in you, dear people of Lithuania, and I want to thank all of you. I want to thank my wife Laima and my children, who were put to a difficult and ruthless test of fate, for their tremendous support that has been very important to me.
I call on you, dear people of Lithuania, to reiterate that the fate of our state is in your hands. At the same time, I want to assure you that in any post and under all circumstances I will pursue the goals that brought me to the Office of the President.
I will continue to fight against real and not made-up threats to national security. I will continue the fight against the impoverishment of people, corruption and the widening gap between the rich and the poor, misappropriation of the European Unionís funds, drug addiction and drug mafia, organised crime and self-imposed exile of those Lithuanians who leave for foreign lands as they try to escape unbearable poverty.
I believe that Lithuania will change. I congratulate all of you on this most serene holiday of spring. I wish you happy Easter. May the hope-bringing resurrection of Christ strengthen the belief that Lithuania, our Homeland, will also rise for a more just, more prosperous and more spiritually rich life.
I wish you to be active citizens of your state. I wish you good health, high spirits and bright days.
H.E. Mr. Rolandas Paksas, President of the Republic of Lithuania