Artūras Zuokas

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Artūras Zuokas
Zuokas at Vilnius University , 2011

Artūras Zuokas (born February 21, 1968 in Kaunas ) is a Lithuanian liberal politician , journalist and entrepreneur , and leader of the party Lietuvos laisvės sąjunga (liberalai) . Until April 2015 he was the mayor of the Lithuanian capital Vilnius . From May 31, 2003 he was chairman of the then newly founded Lithuanian Liberal and Center Union .

Activity as a journalist

In 1986 Artūras Zuokas completed his training as an electrician with a high school diploma from the Jonava Technical College . In 1989 he founded the monthly magazine "Homo Sovieticus" and was its managing editor. From 1990–1991 he worked as a reporter for the daily newspaper “Respublika” and worked as a freelance worker and journalist for “Independent Television News Ltd.” in the crisis areas in Iraq , Iran , Azerbaijan , Georgia and Ossetia . In 1992 he founded the news agency "Baltijos naujienų agentūra" in Vilnius. 1992–1994 Artūras Zuokas was a journalist for "Worldwide Television News" and a correspondent for political news in Moscow , Nagorno-Karabakh , Chechnya and Abkhazia . In 1998 he graduated from Vilnius University with a degree in journalism .

Political career

His entry into the political career took place on its activities at the Rotary Club in Vilnius, he be included in the campaign staff of Valdas Adamkus for Lithuania's presidential election was the 1998th As a result, a steep ascent began, which made him one of the deputy party leaders of the LLS in the wake of Rolandas Paksas' entry into the Liberal Union (LLS) in December 1999. As a close confidante of Paksas he organized the successful election campaign of the LLS for the parliamentary elections in 2000 . In November 2000, at the age of 32, he was elected as the youngest mayor of a capital city in the world at the time, succeeding Paksas .

As a result, he made a name for himself as a dynamic, business-minded mayor and benefited from the general economic upturn in the country, which was particularly focused on the capital. After Paksas left the LLS in February 2002, he became the party's beacon of hope and after its merger with the Center Union and the Modern Christian Democrats on May 31, 2003, he became chairman of the newly founded Union of Liberals and Center ( Liberalų ir centro sąjunga , LiCS ).

At this point the first inconsistencies cast shadows over his public image. After the social democrat Gediminas Paviržis was elected as the new mayor on April 9, 2003, after the local elections in December 2002 , Zuokas, with the support of two defectors from the Polish election campaign , planned to reverse this election and to have himself re-elected as mayor. But at the crucial city council meeting, Zuokas unexpectedly missed the voice of his party friend Vilmantas Drėma. Zuokas was re-elected mayor of Vilnius seven weeks later on June 25, 2003 with 26 out of 51 votes after a court declared the election of Paviržis to be invalid. For the dubious events surrounding the failed first election in May 2003, Zuokas had to answer in court on charges of buying votes.

Zuokas continued in office and was re-elected as party chairman in February 2005. The battle vote and the positioning of the two candidates (651 votes for Zuokas, 442 for Gintaras Steponavičius ), however, prepared the later split in the party. In May 2005 rumors arose that Zuokas had been on the list of recipients of bribes from 2001-2003 in the black bookkeeping of one of the largest Vilnius construction companies, the Rubicon Group , and had received payments in the millions. As part of the public prosecutor's investigations, Zuokas went on an unannounced “business trip” to Warsaw in April 2005 , probably to avoid access by the public prosecutor , and subsequently left his post as chairman of the LiCS on hold (June 6th to July 12th, 2005 ). However, he always denied the allegations.

His adherence to the position of party chairman of the LiCS led to the party's split in 2005. After leading party members were expelled from the party in July 2005, they founded the Liberal Movement ( Lietuvos Respublikos liberalų sąjūdis , LRLS ) in October 2005 . At the end of 2005, an investigative commission of the Lithuanian parliament came to the conclusion that Zuokas was listed on the list of recipients of bribes under the code name abonentas . However, the attempt to subsequently elect him from the office of mayor failed in January 2006.

In the local elections in February 2007, the LiCS received 16% of the vote and 9 of the 51 seats in the City Council of Vilnius. This time, the coalition negotiations, which were protracted again, resulted in a new majority in the Vilnius City Council, which on April 15, 2007 elected Juozas Imbrasas to succeed Zuokas as the new mayor. Zuokas was then a simple member of the city council until November 2008.

The process of buying votes was resumed in 2007 after several acquittals for procedural errors and on March 20, 2008, Zuokas and two businessmen (including the head of UAB Rubicon ) were fined 12,500 litas (a good 3,600 euros) for attempted bribery . Zuokas, on the other hand, appealed, as did the public prosecutor, who spoke of bribery actually taking place, while Zuokas protested his innocence.

After the parliamentary elections in Lithuania in October 2008 , Zuokas became a member of the Lithuanian parliament, but he narrowly failed in the runoff election for a direct mandate in Vilnius. His party Liberalų ir centro sąjunga received a total of eight seats in the Seimas , is part of the ruling coalition of center-right parties led by the Conservatives and now governs jointly with the LRLS. Zuokas himself, however, was not granted a ministerial office.

From April 19, 2011, Zuokas was again mayor of Vilnius . 2014 he became a candidate for President of Lithuania in the Lithuanian presidential election, 2014 . In 2015 local elections in Lithuania , his party lost its ruling position. Against Zuokas, the liberal politician Remigijus Šimašius won the mayoral post in the second ballot. He then explained his intention to participate in the 2019 presidential election in Lithuania .


On July 30, 2011, Zuokas also became known through a staged PR campaign in Vilnius, where he rolled a BTR-60 armored personnel carrier over an incorrectly parked S-Class Mercedes and crushed it in order to respond to the reckless illegal parking of " Nobel Cars ”in the city, for which he was awarded the Peace Ig Nobel Prize.


Artūras Zuokas is married to Agnė Zuokienė . They have three children together.

Web links

Commons : Category: Artūras Zuokas  - Album with pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Allegations of corruption relating to the mayoral election in Vilnius, message from the Kauno Diena newspaper on May 3, 2003 (lit.)
  2. Message of the newspaper vakarų ekspresas , May 2, 2003 (lit.)
  3. ↑ The reason was the participation of three city council members who were also Seimas members - a fact that the Constitutional Court of Lithuania had classified as unconstitutional at the end of 2002.
  4. Zuokas' election as mayor of Vilnius, message on, June 25, 2003 (lit.)
  5. V. Martikonis: A. Zuokui V. Drėma kainavo 120 tūkst. Lt
  6. ^ Zuokas' re-election as party leader of the LiCS, message on, February 12, 2005 (lit.)
  7. ^ Opposing candidacy for Zuokas in elections for the party chairmanship of the LiCS in February 2005, message on, February 12, 2005 (lit.)
  8. Zuokas' adherence to the office of party chairman of the LiCS leads to a split in the party, message on on July 12, 2005 (lit.)
  9. Zuokas wins vote of no confidence, message on, January 26, 2006 (lit.) - Here, Zuokas had anticipated the opposition with his “own” vote of no confidence, knowing that not all members of the opposition would be present on the early date; In addition, the three Social Liberal MPs, who were actually located in the opposition camp, helped him to obtain the required number of participants after the opposition had declared the boycott of this early meeting. The vote of no confidence was rejected, with the result that Zuokas was protected from further motions of no confidence for a year.
  10. ^ Judgment of the district court against Zuokas for attempted bribery, message on, March 20, 2008 (lit.)
  11. Rejection of the appeal before the Supreme Court, message on of February 10, 2009 (lit.)
  12. Result of the parliamentary elections in 2008 in constituency No. 2, Vilnius Old Town
  13. Mayor Zuokas says he will run for president in 2019
  15. Archived copy ( memento of the original from November 15, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
predecessor Office successor

Rolandas Paksas
Gediminas Paviržis
Raimundas Alekna
Mayor of Vilnius
June 2000 - April 9, 2003
June 25, 2003 - April 16, 2007
since April 19, 2011

Gediminas Paviržis
Juozas Imbrasas