Rolandas Paksas (born 10 June 1956 in Telšiai, Lithuania) was the President of the Republic of Lithuania from January 2003 to April 2004.
Rolandas Paksas was the only child of his parents, Feliksas and Elena. In 1974, he graduated from the Žemaitės Secondary School in Telšiai. In 1979, he graduated from the Vilnius Civil Engineering Institute (now Vilnius Gediminas Technical University) with a degree in Industrial and Civil Engineering. He then worked as a pilot instructor (from 1979 to 1985) and Director of Darius and Girėnas Flying Club in Vilnius (from 1985 to 1992). In 1984, he graduated from Leningrad (now Saint Petersburg) Civil Aviation Academy as an engineer pilot.
Duiring this period, he competed in aerobatics competitions. He won the aerobatics championship in Lithuania several times, the championship of Soviet Union twice and was the winner of international aerobatics competitions.
From 1992 to 1997 Rolandas Paksas was the President of the Construction Company Restako.
In 1997, Rolandas Paksas was elected to Vilnius City Council and became the Mayor of the City of Vilnius. In June 1999, he became Prime Minister of Lithuania, heading the ninth Government after the restoration of independence. Five months later, he resigned because of a disagreement over the sale of Mazieku Nafta, the Lithuanian oil processing company to American oil company Williams. After his resignation, he became an Adviser to the President of Lithuania, and Plenipotentiary of the President for Special Assignments.
In April 2000, he again became the Mayor of the City of Vilnius. Then, from November 2000 to June 2001, he was the Prime Minister in the eleventh Cabinet. After his government coalition falling apart, he became the leader of the opposition in the Seimas. In March 2002, Rolandas Paksas was elected chairman of the newly founded Liberal Democratic Party.
On January 5, 2003, Rolandas Paksas was elected President of Lithuania, after a surprise win over the incumbent Valdas Adamkus in a runoff. In the first round of elections, Paksas was the second, with 19.7% of vote but, in the runoff, he gathered 54.9%.
In early 2004, Lithuania's parliament started impeachment proceedings against him. On March 31, 2004, the Constitutional Court of Lithuania found him guilty of three actions rudely violating the Lithuanian Constitution: by leaking state secrets, rewarding a financial supporter with citizenship and illegally influencing companies. After this conclusion, the Seimas recalled his presidency on April 6, 2004.
After the impeachment, Paksas' political future is uncertain. He attempted to run for presidency again, in the early elections of June 13, 2004. His attempt ended on May 4, 2004 by Seimas amending the election law, prohibiting an impeached president from running for president for five years after the impeachment. Paksas' opponents are considering a possible criminal investigation.
Rolandas Paksas is married. His wife Laima is an economist. They have two children: daughter Inga and son Mindaugas.