Lithuania's ruling party seeks snap election amid expenses scandal, says government may resign

Lithuanian parliament moves online due to COVID-19 situation, in Vilnus

By Andrius Sytas

VILNIUS (Reuters) -Lithuania's ruling Homeland Union party said on Friday it will propose a snap parliamentary election and that the government may resign if the assembly turns down the request.

The proposal caps a week of media allegations that several Lithuanian politicians, including three cabinet ministers, misused expenses while working as municipal councillors.

Education and Sports Minister Jurgina Siugzdiniene handed in her resignation on Thursday, but Gabrielius Landsbergis, leader of the centre-right Homeland Union, said removing her alone would amount to "lynching".

"The norms of proper behaviour (for expenses reporting) are set so high that they are simply unattainable ... I don't think this can be solved in any other way than a full reset of the whole system," Landsbergis told reporters.

The allegations against Siugzdiniene include failing to provide a detailed breakdown and invoices for expenses claimed in 2019-2020. The minister said the municipal rules did not allow her to file the invoices.

Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte said on Tuesday she was satisfied with Siugzdiniene's explanation, and trusts her.

Homeland Union, also known as the Conservatives, dominates the 141-seat parliament with 50 seats. The next national election is scheduled for October 2024.

(Reporting by Andrius Sytas, editing by Terje Solsvik, Kirsten Donovan)