bnn.lv Latviski   bnn-news.com English   bnn-news.ru По-русски
Ceturtdiena 18.01.2018 | Name days: Antis, Antons
LithuaniaLithuania

Celebrity Interior minister steps down, doubts loom over his political durability

FaceBook
Twitter
Draugiem
print
(+2 rating, 2 votes)

Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RU

Resigned Lithuanian Interior Minister Saulius Skvernelis

Lins Jegelevičs (Linas Jegelevicius)

Seemingly scratch-proof Lithuanian Interior minister Saulius Skvernelis, who has been for months Lithuania’s most popular politician enjoying 60 percent favourability, has taken a steep plunge – into uncertainty after announcing of his resignation from the post.

Order and Justice Party leader disposed of popular minister

Having been delegated to it by the Order and Justice Party, he has drawn the party leader Rolandas Paksas’ grudge with the announcement that he is joining the electoral list of the Peasant and Greens Union (LVZS), which has lately seen an enviable rise in the polls.

Although Lithuania’s Social Democratic Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevičius told in the wake of the Skvernelis announcement that he saw no obstacles for Skvernelis to continue the stint in his government, Paksas has managed to persuade the PM to change his position on it. As a result, Butkevičius asked the popular minister to step down and the latter handed his letter of resignation to the prime minister on Friday afternoon, with Order and Justice scrambling to find for him replacement.

Prior to the stepping down, Skvernelis, already a top-seed holder on the LVZS electoral list, was scolded on the parliament floor for failing to timely propose legislation that is necessary to extend the current Code of Administrative Offences.

Staving off the accusations coming from all the aisles, the minister, who was visibly distraught having found himself on defence, explained the lag was due to shortage of funding. But many parliamentarians resisted believing the explanation, although some MPs noted that Skvernelis’s «biggest fault» was his betrayal of the Social Democrats and joining LVZS.

Skvernelis will run for Seimas with Peasants and Greens

Several Social Democratic leaders had confirmed earlier that the party was in talks with the rising star, Skvernelis, over his joining the party. The minister’s decision to join the LVZS election list has come as a blow to the Social Democrats, who, rumours amounted, were offering him the second place on the SD electoral list, right after Butkevičius.

«I’ve made up my mind to participate in the election with people, who base their works, ideas and thought on values. With those who cherish the ambition to change the state (for better) and create other kind of politics, which is human, honest and based on decency and keeping the word,» Skvernelis told at a joint press conference with the LVZS party leader, Karbauskis, a week earlier.

Lithuania will hold a parliamentary election in late October this year.

With many guessing who will possibly replace the popular outgoing minister, Order and Justice Party announced it has «at least two candidates» in mind for the post.

One of possible candidates posted refusal on Facebook

One of the possible candidates, Kęstas Komskis, was quick to refute on Facebook talks that he has been offered the seat: «Take it easy, folks. I really won’t change my higher post to a lower one (which the capacity of Interior minister is). To speak about it seriously, I really do not see any sense to change anything with just a half year in the Seimas term left. That half-year would be a waste of time – neither the new minister nor the new deputy Seimas chairman will be able to do anything useful. Besides, my character is such that I do not like jumping from one seat onto another.»

Meanwhile, Povilas Gylys, the other named candidate, who is known, first of all, as the first Foreign minister of independent, post 1991 Lithuania, did not repudiate the Interior minister post.

«It is up to the leadership of the party. It knows best what candidate suits the post best. I do not want to circulate any further rumours on what can happen and what cannot (happen),» Povilas Gylys, now a MP, told BNN.

The former Foreign minister clinched the MP seat in the 2012-2016 Seimas on the electoral list of «Drąsiaus kelias», a political party founded in the wake of the far-reaching paedophilia saga in the country, but later flip-flopped to the Order and Justice Party.

Other candidate is a fiery critic of President

With the name of Gylys in limelight, some media outlets have gone even further, suggesting that Gylys will be the embattled party’s next leader.

Speaking to BNN, Gylys denied it, saying, «It is way too early to speak about it. Now we have quite another situation, so better let’s wait and see what happens next.»

Several key Order and Justice Party members have been fending off accusations of influence peddling.

Known as a vociferous critic of President Dalia Grybauskaitė, Gylys may see a thumb-down from the head-of-state if proposed by the party to take the post. A new appointee will need to get the President’s approval  for the job.

The candidate, however, remains defiant and insists that Grybauskaitė deserves criticism.

«I can just reiterate what I’ve told many times before: the President is too engaged in the activities of law enforcement. And furthermore: she does clout the decisions when she finds it necessary to do. That is something that should not be in a democratic state,» Gylys underlined.

What about the chances now?

He also cautioned that it might be hard for the party to make right selection (of minister) as Order and Justice has been under fire for quite some time.

«I reckon that some people might shun the capacity because some really powerful forces attack the party in an organized way. Nevertheless, I think there will people who, no matter what, will stand up for the party,» Gylys was quoted as saying by Lithuanian media.

With Skvernelis leaving the ministry, many political analysts’ forecasts for his political future have become far less rosy than they were just a week ago.

«Well, as the minister, amid the abundant guesses what party list he will join before the election, he has been a headline grabber for long. But left without a portfolio and void of mentioning-worth ideas, the newcomer of the Peasant and Greens Union risks of spilling points of popularity,» Lauras Bielinis, associate professor at the Institute of International Relations and Politics at Vilnius University and a renown political analyst, told BNN.

Yet the saga of Saulius Skvernelis as the Interior minister is not over yet, he believes.

«He might stay for quite some time in the post. It might take the Party of Order and Justice Party quite some time to find a suitable candidate to replace him. And importantly, get the President nodding to it,» Bielinis underlined.

Very popular but lacking ideas?

That Gylys, now seemingly the most probable candidate to take over the ministry’s reins, lambasts the President might be a factor in the decision-making, he says.

On the other hand, with roughly eight months for the Government left, the President might close eyes to her former lecturer’s harsh rhetoric and approve the candidacy.

«With Skvernelis on LVZS election list, the party’s ratings will likely edge upwards in short-term, but they might be declining in four or five months from now. Skvernelis will be an ordinary man to many as soon as he leaves the ministry. A lot can happen and much remains to be seen yet,» Bielinis told.

According to the analyst, with the hype tapering off, it can become evident that Skvernelis has not brought any ideas for the party.

«As of now, I haven’t heard of them,» the Vilnius University lecturer noted.

Asked what is the main reason for Skvernelis’ charm, Bielinis replied that the outgoing Interior minister was «very good» at relating himself with different layers of the society and communicating in «a simple, understandable to all» language.

«He was quite swift with some key decisions and that reverberated well with all the people,» the analyst pointed out.

Government should stay until end

With Skvernelis gone, the Government risks of being forced to pass vote of confidence in the Seimas, but Lithuanian analysts mostly believe that the Cabinet will stay in the office until the end.

Rimvydas Valatka, a prominent Lithuanian journalist and commentator, believes that, as a state, Lithuania lacks real leaders.

«Some ministers were appointed just because they had a good command of a foreign language, others, like Skvernelis, was simply picked up on the street. Not surprisingly therefore that most Lithuanian Cabinets did not last their entire tenure,» the analyst noted.

He, however, is convinced that the Government will stay until a new one is sworn in in the autumn.

Vladas Gaidys, a pollster, believes that Skvernelis will be riding high until the Seimas election in October.

«The LVZS party will find means to make him attractive. He might lose something without the office, but he will be the winner at the end: voters, most likely, will embrace him again, just because he has come to the election as quite an independent candidate,» Gaidys pondered.

Ref: 111.111.103.3354


Leave a reply

Betsafe: To Latvia from the Heart has laughable chance of entering next Saeima

With declining ratings, Inguna Sudraba’s party To Latvia from The Heart has been left with laughable chances of entering the next Saeima, Betsafe bookmakers say.

EU Affairs Committee: EU Digital Single Market motivated Latvia to perform reforms

European Union’s Digital Single Market strategy offered new opportunities for Latvian businessmen to actively present their services in other member states. The strategy also served as an impulse for the business environment and state administration. The strategy motivates our government to walk the road of reformation more actively and clean up messes that have remained for a long time, said chairperson of Saeima’s European Affairs Committee Lolita Čigāne on Wednesday, 17 January.

Expert: Zhdanok’s decision to leave EP was carefully calculated to revive Latvian Russians Union

The decision made by member of the European Parliament (EP) and leader of Latvian Russians Union (LRU) Tatyana Zhdanok, in accordance with which she intends to leave the European Parliament to instead focus on LRU’s election campaign, was a carefully calculated step to reanimate the party, said dean of Social Sciences Faculty of the University of Latvia Juris Rozenvalds.

Maxima Latvia expects price decline up to 15% in 2018

Following Maxima Latvija’s decision to reduce prices for nearly 1,000 important goods, it is expected that a similar step will be made by other players in the industry. This could mean prices for everyday goods could decline by up to 15%, as BNN was informed by the company.

Latvia’s economy reaches highest peak since 2015

Residents’ mood has improved for most positions of the study. Residents were positive the most about ongoing changes for Latvia’s economy, the value of which has reached its peak since July 2015. In spite of optimistic changes, however, 30% of respondents are critical about ongoing economic changes in Latvia, according to results of the latest Baltic International Bank’s Latvian Barometer.

Riga exchange hopes for new securities issuers this year

There are hopes to see new Latvian businesses release shares on the stock market this year, says chairperson of Nasdaq Riga Daiga Auziņa-Melalksne.

Latvian universities to offer students an innovative grant system

To help develop students’ innovative and business abilities, Latvian Education and Science Ministry has developed a new student grant system, which will focus mainly on supporting innovative projects and research and further improve cooperation between universities and leading businesses to attract human resources, the ministry reports.

Russian sociologists fear closure, quit publishing election polls

Russian leading independent polling organisation Levada Center has stated it has quit releasing results of polls on the country’s spring presidential election citing concern that the authorities could close it down for what they see as meddling in politics.

Court maintains pledge on former LAR leader’s bank accounts and owned property

Court has applied pledge status on property and bank accounts owned by Riga City Council member Mārtiņš Bondars to enforce EUR 15 million from him as part of Latvijas Krajbanka criminal case, as reported by TV3 News.

McDonald’s to use unrecycled packaging for 7 more years

World’s largest catering chain McDonalds has set the aim of ensuring that by 2025 all its packaging would be from either from recycled or renewable materials, which would be an increase current proportion of a half.

Saeima speaker: Judicial Affairs Council’s work should be more apparent

Work performed by the Judicial Affairs Council should be made more apparent, said Saeima speaker Ināra Mūrniece during her meeting with Supreme Court chairman Ivars Bičkovičs.

Mass protests in Greece do not hold back new bailout reforms

The parliament of Greece has adopted a large set of reforms pushed for by international creditors in return for more bailout money, despite approximately 20 000 people protesting outside the parliament and brief clashes with riot police breaking out.

Foster families in Latvia to receive larger benefits

Municipal administrations have a duty to pay larger benefits for child care when children are put in foster families, Latvian Welfare Ministry reports.

Government plans to improve anti-doping measures in Latvia

During a meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers, a legislative draft developed by Healthcare Ministry on adding changes to the Sports Law for the improvement the country’s anti-doping measures was approved.

Only 12% of workers know their organization’s IT security policy

Businesses around the world still suffer from a catastrophically low level of awareness for IT matters, according to a study performed by Kaspersky Lab and B2B International.

Parents let children on ice in spite of temporary restriction

On Sunday, 14 January, officers of Riga Municipal Police observed with video-recording equipment how two people were skating on the surface of Victory Park’s pond. Because it is banned for people to remain on ice of large bodies of water in Riga, officers were sent in.

Czech President to be determined in duel between Zeman and Drahoš

In the Czech presidential election, no candidate has garnered a half of the votes and its result will be determined in a run-off between the current eursceptic President and a pro-European academic.

Aldaris: non-alcoholic beer market in Latvia grew 9% in 2017

Aldaris concluded 2017 with a significant increase in their non-alcoholic beer category of products. Demand for non-alcoholic beer has increased across all of Latvia – market growth was 9% in 2017, as reported by the company’s representatives.

Politician reports meddling with e-health system; prime minister parries

Last Thursday, 11 January, e-health system ‘suffered malfunctions’, which suggests that it may have been hacked, Saeima’s Social and Employment Matters Committee head Aija Barča mentioned in an interview to Latvijas Radio.

Pension fund cautious about 500-million-euro bridge project to Saaremaa

Commenting on the idea that Estonian pension funds could invest into the ambitious project of building a bridge from mainland Estonia to the country’s largest island, Swedish Swedbank has expressed caution.

Study: more than half of Latvians do not trust other people

52% of Latvian residents believe most people cannot be trusted. Only 5% of residents are ready to trust their fellow man. Less than one-fifth of Latvian residents trust decision-makers, according to results of a study performed by SKDS.

Economic expert: 2018 expected to be good for investors

«This year promises to be good for investors, because global economy is on a rise and profits of businesses have a tendency to grow,» says Luminor economic expert Gints Belēvičs.

Estonia counts more residents for 3rd consecutive year

Registering an increase in the Estonian population for the third consecutive year, Estonian statisticians have estimated that the population has increased by 3,070 people to 1,318,700 residents. They have also warned that this is preliminary data, which could still change considerably as unregistered immigration has not been included.

Russian school struck by teenager knife attack

In a knife attack on a school in Perm, Russia, eleven children and a teacher have suffered injuries.

NA: city council has to consider new partnership approach for Agenskalns market

Riga City Council members have to decide what is more important for Agenskalns market’s development: rate or quality. There are two options: force a closed market development with an auction of long-term lease or consider public private partnership option. Such a proposal was submitted to Riga City Council’s City Property Committee by the faction of the National Alliance.

Would you be ready to boycott something in your life?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Polls Archive



Category feed: Feed: