The ranks of candidates for Klaipėda mayors are growing, R. Žemaitaitis and N. Puteikis will try their hand

E. Masiulis, who is currently in Klaipėda, told “Vakaru ekspres” that he is focused on judicial matters. The appeal process of his case begins in September.

“We need to prepare for the elections. There will certainly be many candidates this year, there will be plenty for Klaipėda residents to choose from,” says E. Masiulis.

Pauliaus Peleckis / 15min photo/Eligijus Masiulis

A. Vaitkaus’ decision – after a week

Arvydas Vaitkus, who came in second place in 2019, is mentioned as one of the most serious contenders in the upcoming mayoral elections.

“We will make an official announcement next week,” says A. Vaitkus.

Unofficially, it is said that A. Vaitkus will participate in the elections with his own committee, because all major parties have already nominated their candidates.

“The future mayor must be a person who understands the city’s economy well, so voters should look at the experience the candidate has,” says A. Vaitkus, when asked about his strongest quality as a candidate.

A. Vaitkus has headed the Port Directorate, worked in the Government and in private business.

Valdos Kopūštos / 15min photo/Arvydas Vaitkus

Valdos Kopūštos / 15min photo/Arvydas Vaitkus

“There is no first job. When we present the team, we will name what works we will undertake if we are in the ruling majority”, says A. Vaitkus.

He believes that the current policies in the city are socially insensitive.

“It is necessary to ensure that the money that is planned is used in the city, because tens of millions of euros of budget funds remained unused in Klaipėda during the last year”, says A. Vaitkus.

From ordinary people

The first publicly named candidate and until now the only female candidate for Klaipėda mayors was the member of the Seimas “countrywoman” Ligita Girskienė. She names A. Vaitkä as the main competitor in the mayoral elections.

“I consider my main advantage to be the fact that people put me forward, without any influence or hindrance. I am not a member of any hunting group. Although I asked, I am not even accepted into the Rotary club,” says L. Girskienė, who is a member of the Riflemen’s Union.

Personal archive photo/Ligita Girskienė

Personal archive photo/Ligita Girskienė

After becoming the mayor, he sees the liberation of the southern part of Klaipėda from unpleasant odors as his main task, and he also promises to make the management of Municipal companies more transparent.

“It is not normal when companies providing municipal services to citizens earn millions of profits”, L. Girskienė believes.

A view from the side

Member of the Seimas, chairman of the “Freedom and Justice” party Remigijus Žemaitaitis, according to “Vakaru ekspreso” data, is considering the possibility of participating in the Klaipėda mayoral elections.

“Party members are urging me to run,” R. Žemaitaitis confirms.

According to him, the main motive for candidacy is the view from the outside.

“I visit various cities in the country and can compare. I see how Klaipėda is abandoned”, says R. Žemaitaitis.

Lukas Balandis/BNS photo/Remigijus Žemaitaitis

Lukas Balandis/BNS photo/Remigijus Žemaitaitis

According to him, the locals may no longer notice cracked tiles and unmaintained bicycle paths, but upon arrival, it is an eyesore.

“Although a decade ago Klaipėda could be compared with Vilnius or Kaunas, today it can only be compared with Alytus”, says R. Žemaitaitis.

He sees that Klaipėda is not using its potential as a city by the water.

“Water transport is increasing in the region of Western Lithuania, you can freely get on a boat and come to Klaipėda to drink coffee, but there is not even a place to dock in the city,” says R. Žemaitaitis.

Administrative skills

The chairman of the Klaipėda branch of the Liberal Movement, Saulius Budinas, points out that the future mayor will also be the head of the Municipality administration.

Therefore, he singles out as his main advantage the fact that he not only has political experience as a member of the City Council, but was also the director of the Klaipėda City Administration during the previous term.

Julius Kalinskas / 15min photo./Klaipeda Municipality Administration Director Saulius Budinas with his wife

Julius Kalinskas / 15min photo./Klaipeda Municipality Administration Director Saulius Budinas with his wife

“It is difficult to single out one job, but today it is very important to ensure cheaper energy resources as possible. What depends on the city – heat, water. It is necessary to make them one of the cheapest in Lithuania in Klaipėda”, S. Budinas sees one of the main tasks of managing the city.

Artūras Bogdanovas, former director of Klaipėda district municipality administration, can be compared with him in terms of administrative abilities.

His candidacy in the mayoral elections is put forward by the party “Vardan Lietuvos”.

“There won’t be one outstanding job,” says A. Bogdanovas.

However, if he were elected mayor of Klaipėda, one of his first visits would be to the port manager.

Julius Kalinskos / 15min photo / Artūras Bogdanovas

Julius Kalinskos / 15min photo / Artūras Bogdanovas

According to A. Bogdanovo, some processes and investments stagnate, because the city and the port are artificially opposed.

“The port and the city can perfectly complement each other, solutions can be found regarding the general plan of the port and the city”, says A. Bogdanovas.

Non-partisan is an advantage

Romaldas Sakalauskas, the Social Democratic Party’s candidate for mayor of Klaipėda, told “Vakaru ekspres” that his main advantage is that he is non-partisan.

“Klaipėda needs a non-partisan mayor,” says R. Sakalauskas, the long-time head of the Republican Klaipėda Hospital, who currently heads the Kretinga Hospital and is not going to join any party.

“I don’t like to talk about works that haven’t been done yet, the works must speak for themselves,” says R. Sakalauskas.

According to him, managing the city is a never-ending process.

“The city needs to be managed in such a way that every year both citizens and guests can see what has been done and take away new impressions, instead of just enjoying the sea,” says R. Sakalauskas.

Kretinga district  municipality photo/Romaldas Sakalauskas

Kretinga district municipality photo/Romaldas Sakalauskas

He compares the upcoming mayoral elections in Klaipėda with sports competitions, where the subgroup is “very strong”.

Haven’t decided yet

The only Union of the Fatherland-Lithuanian Christian Democrats in Klaipėda cannot yet choose one candidate for mayor.

Among the three contenders to participate in the mayoral elections, two stand out: Seimas member Audrius Petrošius and businessman, Klaipėda council member Aidas Kaveckis.

“Enthusiasm and activity to carry out the started work to the end”, – says A.Petrošius, his strongest quality necessary for a city manager.

Žygimanto Gedvilas/BNS photo/Aistė Gedvilienė and Audrius Petrošius

Žygimanto Gedvilas/BNS photo/Aistė Gedvilienė and Audrius Petrošius

“Pollution reduction, continuity of yard maintenance in residential areas, and strengthening of Klaipėda University in order to attract young people to the city”, are the main tasks that he would first undertake after becoming mayor, A.Petrošius names.

He mentions L. Girskienė as the strongest competitor.

“Concreteness”, A. Kaveckis names his strongest personal quality.

According to him, the main job, if elected mayor, would be to get business and the city to work together.

“Business is the workplace of Klaipėda residents, if it is good for him, it is good for the city,” says A. Kaveckis.

A.Kubaičio nuotr./Aidas Kaveckis

A.Kubaičio nuotr./Aidas Kaveckis

He believes that all the candidates participating in the elections are strong and there are no favorites.

N.Puteikis returns

The chairman of the People and Justice Party, Petras Gražulis, confirmed to “Vakaru ekspres” the rumors that Naglis Puteikis will also participate in the Klaipėda mayoral elections.

Pauliaus Peleckis/BNS photo/Naglis Puteikis

Pauliaus Peleckis/BNS photo/Naglis Puteikis

“The party’s decision is there, it can be announced,” P. Gražulis said.

It was not possible to contact N.Puteikis himself, but the future competitors in the mayoral elections agree that his participation can greatly enliven the upcoming mayoral elections in Klaipėda.

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