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Valdas V. Adamkus Edit Profile

President

In Lithuania, the President's tenure lasts for five years; Adamkus' first term in office began on 26 February 1998 and ended on 28 February 2003, following his defeat by Rolandas Paksas in the next presidential election. Paksas was later impeached and removed from office by a parliamentary vote on 6 April 2004. Soon afterwards, when a new election was announced, Adamkus again ran for president and was re-elected. His approval ratings were high.

Background

Valdas Adamkus was born on November 3, 1926 in Kaunas.

During World War II (July 1944), together with his parents he moved to Germany, but in a few months he returned to join "a group of the motherland defenders", that fought against Soviet troops. But soon Adamkus finally moved to German and in 1949 the former Lithuanian President Kazys Griniusa helped him to emigrate to the U.S. He got a job there. He worked in an automobile factory in Chicago, and later as a draftsman.

Career

In the U.S. he becomes actively involved in the activities of the Lithuanian diaspora, taking part in the protest against the occupation of Lithuania. In the 1970s Adamkus works in the United States Environmental Protection Agency.

Since 1972, the future president periodically visits Lithuania several times a year, participating in projects for environmental monitoring. Being a coordinator of U.S. assistance to the Baltic states, he arranges training visits of the Lithuanian academic institutions to the United States.

In 1991, Valdas Adamkus returned to Lithuania and in 1993 he headed the presidential campaign of a candidate - Stasys Lozoraitis, in 1996, he was among the most active participants in the parliamentary election campaign.

In 1998, Adamkus won the presidential election. While being in power he contributed to the modernization of Lithuania, and aimed the country to the integration with NATO and the EU.

In 2002, Valdas Admkus was defeated by Rolandas Paksas.

In 2004, after the presidential scandal, when Paksas was impeached, the special election was announced. Adamkus ran for the presidency again and won.

For a man who has lived a huge part of his life in the U.S., the winning of the presidential election in the former Soviet republic is a great achievement.

Achievements

  • Valdas Adamkus, doesn’t strive to take over the presidential control of the government and ministries. At the same time he stands for the need to eliminate unnecessary bureaucracy. The main goals for the president are: harmonization of relations between Lithuania and countries which are in the European Union, and the establishment of a full-fledged middle class, Lithuania's accession to the euro currency zone and the accession to the Schengen Agreement in 2007.

    To ensure the competitiveness of the Lithuanian economy, according to the president, additional investments in education and in the scientific community, promoting the production of high-tech products are needed. Adamkus thinks that Lithuania should not put its competitive advantage on the basis of cheap labor, but first of all it must use educated labor force. Also he considers it necessary to conduct land and tax reform, reform of the health system, while maintaining its social orientation.

    The President of Lithuania stands for strengthening cooperation and collaboration between the three Baltic States, considering that these countries should focus on the coordination of political activities and make a common economic vision for the whole region.

    Valdas Adamkus believes that Russia as a successor of the Soviet Union has to pay compensation to Lithuania for the years of occupation, as Germany does.

    The Lithuanian president lives retired and gets the pension of civil servant, which he receives from the United States and his presidential salary transfers to charity. After the inauguration he canceled the banquet, saying that it is important to save money.

Politics

Valdas Adamkus said: "Democracy is not the final result. – It’s a process. It should be protected and preserved all the time."