Rolandas Paksas Biography

Rolandas Paksas, a prominent Lithuanian politician, has held various high-ranking positions in his career, including President, Prime Minister, and Mayor of Vilnius. Currently leading the Order and Justice party, he is also a Member of the European Parliament. Paksas has a diverse background, having been a member of both the national Lithuanian and national Soviet acrobatics teams, as well as a skilled stunt pilot. He founded a successful construction company called Restako and has been involved in several political parties throughout his career. Despite facing controversy and impeachment, Paksas continues to play an active role in politics, now serving in the European Parliament.

Quick Facts

  • Age: 67 Years, 67 Year Old Males
  • Family: Spouse/Ex-: Laima Paksienė, father: Feliksas, mother: Elena
  • Presidents
  • Political Leaders
  • Political ideology: Political party Communist Party (Before 1989), Democratic Labour Party (1989–1995), Homeland Union (1995–2000), Liberal Union (2000–2002), Order and Justice (2002–present)
  • Founder/Co-Founder: Order and Justice
  • Education: Vilnius Gediminas Technical University, Saint Petersburg State University of Civil Aviation

Childhood & Early Life

Rolandas Paksas was born on June 10, 1956, in Telšiai, Lithuanian SSR, former Soviet Union. His father, Feliksas Paksai, worked as a railway clerk and later in the wholesale grain trade, while his mother, Elena, was a nurse. Despite her family being deported to Siberia, they were not subjected to Soviet concentration camps. Paksas attended Zemaites High School and graduated in 1974. He then continued his education at the Vilnius Civil Engineering Institute, where he received his degree five years later. He furthered his education at the Leningrad Civil Aviation Academy, graduating in 1984. During this time, he also competed in acrobatics competitions and won several championships with both Soviet and Lithuanian teams.

Career

Paksas began his political career as a member of the Communist Party of Lithuania (LKP) and later joined the leftist Democratic Labor Party (LDDP), which was a successor of the LKP. In 1995, he defected to the Homeland Union, a conservative right party. He was elected to the Vilnius City Council and became the Mayor of the municipality in 1997. He also served as the Homeland Union chairman of the Vilnius branch. In May 1999, President Valdas Adamkus asked him to become Prime Minister after Vagnorius stepped down. He accepted the President’s proposal but was forced to resign five months later due to his refusal to agree to the sale of a major Lithuanian oil refining company. After stepping down, he served as President Adamkus’s Special Assignments envoy. He then joined the Liberal Union of Lithuania and became the Mayor of the Vilnius city municipality in April 2000. He served as Prime Minister again from November 2000 to June 2001 before founding the center-right Liberal Democratic Party and becoming one of its chairmen in March 2002.

Presidency and Impeachment

Paksas decided to run for President and won the election in 2003, despite opposition from major Lithuanian parties. His campaign was the most expensive in Lithuanian history and included a world record-breaking flight under a bridge performed by Paksas himself. As President, he focused on introducing the death penalty for drug traffickers, reducing poverty and income disparities, and shifting Lithuania towards a more market-based economy. However, concerns arose about his ties to organized crime, specifically the Russian mafia, after he granted Lithuanian citizenship to a donor of his campaign. The Department of Security began investigating his connections, and the Seimas (Lithuanian Parliament) initiated impeachment proceedings. In 2004, the Constitutional Court of Lithuania declared him guilty of violating the constitution and his oath of office. He was effectively removed from the position of President and barred from holding public office for five years. However, the lifetime prohibition was later ruled as a violation of the European Convention on Human Rights in 2011.

Personal Life & Legacy

Rolandas Paksas is married to Laima Paksienė, an engineer economist, and they have two children together. Their daughter, Inga Paksas, is a student at the Lithuanian Law University and International Business School, while their son, Mindaugus Paksas, is a student at the T. Liubertienes secondary school in Vilnius. Although he is barred from holding a public office, Paksas remains politically active behind the scenes.

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