Lithuanian actors, musicians, and TV personalities gathered on May 18 to form a new political group, the National Awakening Party. However, with only 687 delegates, far short of the 1,000 required to form a political party, the party's future is on hold until a decision by the Ministry of Justice next month.
According to a report in local media The Baltic Times on May 19, the National Awakening Party chose as its chairman 41-year-old TV producer/presenter Arunas Valinskas, who has a background in law.
Valinskas said that the party hopes to pass the 5% threshold necessary to gain seats in Seimas, the Lithuanian parliament, although the centrist party has no plans to alter Lithuanian politics or government. Its platform reads in part, "We will try to embody the attitude that commitments made to Euro- Atlantic, international partners, would be seen and implemented in Lithuania not as a burden, but an honourable duty ... We will seek to have Lithuania become a leader among the Baltic States." There was local speculation that some well-known personalities signed on only in order to attract votes.