New Parliament and new beginning for Lithuania
Most of the important events in the modern Lithuanian history are taking place during the cold season. Those events in the most of occasions they played positive role in Lithuania’s development. Let us begin with both declarations of Independence. Today, according to the weather forecast, the winter weather is arriving to Lithuania. Simultaneously two significant events are taking place; a newly elected parliament has convened, and the Lithuanian citizens can start travel to the USA without visas.
The first event will have a huge impact on Lithuania’s life in practical terms; the second has a huge significance in moral terms.
The USA elected a Democrat candidate as their president (which could be argued is more to the political left) and in Lithuania’s elections the centre right parties received a majority. Nevertheless, in the last two terms the Americans preferred to see the Republican president. On the other hand the Lithuanian Parliament for the last two terms was dominated by the skilful Social Democrats.
Hence, what could be said about the Lithuanian Parliamentarian election results? First of all, only some 48 per cent of all voters came to vote. A referendum for extension of the Ignalina life span, which was held on the same day, did not attract additional voters. Since less than half of those eligible to vote turned up the referendum it did not happen.
Secondly, some of the Western observers hastily announced that the populists have won again. If one would only count votes alone this might be a right assumption – 41 out of 141 MPs belong to the populist parties. However, it is far from enough from forming a government. Moreover, the three parties which are casted as populist are divided. Two of the older ones began mentioning a possibility of uniting their forces in future even though one of them Order and Justice declared that they will be in opposition, and the Labour party would support some of the ruling coalition’s decisions. The other, newly created Nation’s Resurrection Party already before elections announced that the party would under no circumstances work together with the Order and Justice.
The new Resurrection party is unknown in the Lithuanian politics even though it is created by one of the most recognizable faces in Lithuania. The majority of the party consists of the TV show bizz representatives. The party managed to get 16 seats in the new parliament and will be in the new centre right coalition. The leader of the party Mr Valinskas (the new Seimas Speaker) is the best paid Lithuanian TV producer and the most famous TV personalities. It is unclear who is behind the creation of the party, even though there are some assumptions that the party is a political project created by Social Democrats or the largest business group VP Market.
According to this theory the Resurrection party should join the government and support the Conservative government during the economical crises and then ‘switch’ the sides when it is convenient for the Social Democrats. Moreover, it is unclear on what side of the political spectrum this party belongs to. The Party leader Valinskas mentioned few times that there are no political left or right, the correct direction is to move forwards, that this is what his party will do. Another party’s role was to ‘steal’ some votes from the other populist parties, which it did.
One more surprising outcome was that two centre left former populist parties did not make it to the parliament at all neither did their leaders. On the other hand it is surprising that the two divided liberal parties made it to Seimas.
Today, the four parties Conservatives, Resurrection Party, Liberal Union and the Centre and Liberal Union have signed a coalition agreement and more likely will form a new centre right majority government.
The government-elect, is called a crises government and is ready to undertake a huge task of reducing the looming economical crisis’ effects. The most encouraging factor is that the PM-elect Kublius has a lot of experience in taking Lithuania out of crises and laying out sound foundations for the future Lithuania’s development. He undertook Premiership after Lithuania felt the most severe economical crises which followed 1998 Russia’s default. Hence, it seems that Lithuania, at least for the time being is in experienced hands.
There are still some the Constitutional stages to be passed in order for the new Government to be officially sworn in but this should happen in the first third of December.