bnn.lv Latviski   bnn-news.com English   bnn-news.ru По-русски
Sunday 17.12.2017 | Name days: Teiksma, Hilda
LithuaniaLithuania

Fourth Lithuanian MEP clinches party honcho list

FaceBook
Twitter
Draugiem
print
(+1 rating, 1 votes)

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

Valentinas Mazuronis of the Labour Party

Linas Jegelevicius for the BNN

Lithuania’s political parties are exceptionally steered by MEPs: four out of six major Lithuanian political forces in the country now will be headed by members of the European Parliament.

The last to have jumped on the Vilnius-Brussels wagon is Valentinas Mazuronis, the new Labor Party leader, who followed into the footsteps of fellow MEP Gabrielius Landsbergis, who was recently elected chair of the Homeland Union- Lithuanian Christian Democrats (HU-LCD). Rolandas Paksas, the chairman of Order and Justice Party, which Mazuronis abandoned, is also on the MEP list, as well as Valdemar Tomashevski, the leader of Lithuania’s Electoral Action of Poles, who wraps up the MEP-Party honcho list.

Laborists have an edge

Mazuronis had been one of the Paksas party pillars before slamming the door amidst squabbles with the authoritarian chairman over a score of issues.

Now the questions many analyst raise first are these: will Mazuronis take revenge against the weakened Paksas and his party? How the Labourists and Order and Justice Party will get around virtually the same electorate? How damaging imminent departure of Mazuronis’ supporters from Order and Justice Party will be for it?

Majority concurs that the Mazuronis-led Labour Party now has a significant edge over the other in the survive-or-die duel before the electoral campaign to the Lithuanian Parliament (Seimas) in October next year.

«There is really something magnetic about Mazuronis. He, obviously, has a very charismatic personality, is a tough man and also a very intelligent person who can talk for hours on a range of most complex issues. But as he is still being carried mostly by the huge support and respect – even from the poachers relentlessly persecuted by him – he has amassed while heading the Environment Ministry, it remains to be seen if he will be able to reinvigorate the party,» Vytautas Dumbliauskas, a Lithuanian political analyst, told BNN. «I believe he stands a good chance.»

Other commentators, however, are less optimistic on Mazuronis’ magic, arguing the Labor Party’s downward spiralling will continue.

Meanwhile, the new Labour leader, surprisingly to some, has been taking cozily «uncomfortable” questions on abortion, homosexual partnership and euthanasia among the others.

Albeit no one expects a swift turn-around from «the tough guy» on, say, same sex marriage, still a taboo topic in the country mostly, but the new rhetorical colouring tinges on the contentious issues did not go unnoticed.

Party merger again in the air

With Mazuronis’ election to the Labour Party chair, the forgotten talk on merger of the Labor Party with Order and Justice Party has been rekindled and, no doubt, the subject will in the discussions for a while, especially so that Mazuronis is staunchly embracing the idea.

«I’ve always been a supporter of the two parties’ coalescence. If it had occurred a year ago, we would have set a strong political force. As it, because of the ambitions, did not happen, my moving to the Labour Party has not altered the ultimate goal: get the (parties’) voters and politicians united for the task. It is logic and consistent,» Mazuronis told Lithuanian media.

Asked whether the merger bid is not retaliation against Paksas and the abandoned party, Mazuronis inclined he has «no rebukes» whatsoever to the former party boss.

«I had just been voicing different approaches in the discussions on state’s development, geopolitics, the interior matters of the party,» he emphasized.

Analysts have been pointing out for a while now that Paksas has taken an anti-EU course over the last two years- bristled against the euro introduction, shale gas exploration and mining and «EU’s meddling in EU member states’ national issues.»

Mazuronis says he is not intending to leave the MEP seat and argues that the cushy MEP’s salary is not the reason for the decision.

«An issue of distance does not mean anything nowadays. It is possible to arrive from Brussels (to Vilnius) faster than from Klaipeda these days. On the contrary, I see some advantages of being in Brussels- fewer possibilities to get mired in interior trifles and other problems. I have a good team to pursue the strategic aims, so the kilometres are not an impediment neither for the work nor love,» the new party leader bantered.

Mazuronis says he will endeavour «changes» in the state, which, he says, he did while being the minister. But first he needs to make it to the Seimas in 2016, which might not be that easy.

«Party has set for itself ambitious goals and I believe that, next year, most of the voters will be voting for us,» he said convinced.

Different notions on the new leader

Inquired about the Liberals’ legislative initiative to pass an act on human rights, which would also involve a more liberal take on abortion and same-sex partnerships, Mazuronis told he is against abortion ban and, though supporting traditional marriage between man and woman, inclined that «some aspects» concerning homosexuals partnerships, like property sharing, for example, should be addressed.

Lithuanian political analysts, however, seemingly, got split over the prospects of the Mazuronis-led Labour Party.

«I do not see a prospect that, with the new leader now, the Labor Party will become more popular. It happens rarely that with a popular politician swapping parties the ratings of the party he comes to soars…I don’t think there is anything here what could persuade the voters that some changes are praiseworthy,» Mažvydas Jastramskis, a political analyst and lecturer at Vilnius University’s International Relations and Political Sciences, told tv3.lt

The afore-mentioned Vytautas Dumbliauskas says Viktor Uspaskich, the founder of the Labor Party and now its honorary chairman, has played a strong ace in the bid to put the party back on the track.

The Labour Party has notched up 29 MP mandates in the parliamentary election in 2012 and is part of the Ruling Coalition, but has been mired in lengthy judicial wrangling over shady book-keeping.

Dumbliauskas says it might be too exaggerative to call Mazuronis «the party’s savior», but, he insists, the man stands “perhaps a historic chance” to turn things around in the party.

«It is all about the personality he got. He’s obviously very well educated and can debate on complex issues for hours. He is very good at dealing with the grassroots and always has his ear ready for the people’s needs. He can relate with the masses in a fashion to be envied by most of the politicians out there. This is what singles out him,» the analyst pointed out to BNN.

Electorate base is shaky

According to him, Mazuronis had shown up himself «excellently» in the ministerial post, which, Dumbliauskas says, he left with his head «raised high.»

«Remember, even poachers, despite the draconian measures against them, were looking up to him,» he noted.

Still, the Labour Party cannot expect to repeat the 2012 success, he believes, so its key target now is to overcome the 5 percent barrier, giving the parties “party list seats” in the multi-mandate election constituencies.

«There are some quite loud voices out there insisting that the Labour Party will not make the barrier. But it will be a lot more problematic, I believe, for Order and Justice Party, which is feeling the consequences of Mazuronis departure and will (feel) for now,» Dumbliauskas emphasized.

It is «natural» to expect, he says, that part of the former party members will be swapping the sides, following charismatic Mazuronis.

The second thing the new chairman has to do, the analyst says, is try to get back the electorate that has been very shaky throughout the history.

«The numbers are up and down, in some election to stark degrees, which raises the question at the end of the day what the party’s electoral basis is,» the analyst underlined.

Analyst cannot grasp SD support for Labor Codex reform

Asked to weigh on the new leader of Lithuanian Conservatives, Gabrielius Landsbergis, Dumbliauskas said he has an ambiguous impression about him.

«I have apprehensions that despite his modernity he is trying to show he might lack political weight. In that regard, Gabrielius Landsbergis seems to be in a featherweight category in comparison to Mazuronis the heavyweight player,» the analyst noticed.

The Social Democrats, he believes, will be among the hardest to beat, but Dumbliauskas says he «cannot get» why the incumbent prime minister is rushing with the labour law core amendments.

«This is really unexplainable to me to see the party get through the contentious piece of legislation with just over a year till the election left,» he said.

A lot remains to be seen

Vladas Gaidys, a well-known Lithuanian sociologist and director of Vilmorus polling company, brought BNN’s attention to the fact that the Labor Party has squandered the support it had after the 2012 Seimas election.

«It is hard to tell whether a single man (Mazuronis) will be able to get the voters’ support back, especially that the party’s voter base is very unstable, varying perhaps from a UK and Ireland factory worker to a middle-class voter,» the pollster pointed out.

The party has evidently has been through a crisis lately, especially dealing hard with the leadership crises, so Mazuronis’ election, tackles the most acute issue the part deals with- the leadership’s.”

«To me, he resembles Dalia Grybauskaitė, who would swing by Lithuania from Brussels and scold all on the way here. He has assumed similar tactics,» the Vilmorus head noted.

«One leader can hardly make a big change. What he needs is a proper team to get the party changed from the core and re-energized, something they are talking about now,» Gaidys underscored. «Now the party seems pretty tired and, frankly, it is hard for me to see it revving up.»

Ref: 111.111.103.2557


Leave a reply

Week in Lithuania. Lithuanian doctors to offer voluntary test on alcohol habits

Lithuania's Health Minister Aurelijus Veryga has drafted a new scheme for residents attending health care institutions to fill out tests that would reveal whether the person's drinking habits signal a possible addiction.

Citadele Index: businessmen are more optimistic about economic growth

After a four-year gap, optimism has been noticed in all of Latvia’s business sectors. For the third consecutive quarter Citadele Index value exceeds 50 points. Businessmen are also positive about the country’s economy and their own finances, according to the final Citadele Index study for 2017.

Bank of Latvia increases GDP growth outlook to 4.7% for 2017

Bank of Latvia has decided in increase gross domestic product growth outlook from 4.2% to 4.7% for 2017, as reported by the bank’s governor Ilmārs Rimšēvičs.

Latvian residents’ opinion of government’s work remains negative

Latvian residents voiced the biggest degree of dissatisfaction about the development of the situation in Latvia and the work performed by the government. Although the previous evaluation of government’s work had increased by four points, it has since declined by two points, according to data from Baltic International Bank’s Latvian Barometer.

Eel fishing to be restricted in Baltic Sea for three months

European Union Fisheries Council has decided to restrict eel fishing for three months in 2018 in all waters, including the Baltic Sea. Although the World Wide Fund for Nature and environmental organization in Europe view it as a notable first step, these efforts are unlikely to have a major impact on the most important problem – eel population continues declining rapidly, as noted by WWF.

LCCI: increase of electricity bills for thousands of companies in unacceptable

Latvian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) categorically opposes increasing electricity bills for the majority of small and medium-sized companies due to mandatory procurement component’s differentiation. The organization believes that this would basically introduce a new additional tax, making them even less competitive.

Head of Latvian Association of Regions to spend Christmas thinking on remaining in the party

Dissatisfied with multiple decisions made by Latvian Association of Regions (LAR), Riga City Council member Mārtiņš Bondars will spend the holiday thinking about his place in this political party, as he mentioned in his interview to Rīta panorama or LTV.

Estonian fund permitted to purchase several Latvia energy production companies

Latvian Competition Council has permitted Estonian fund to purchase several energy production and agricultural companies.

Meat processing giant sees room for growth in ready-to-eat foods

Consumption in the meat market segment of ready-to-eat foods is growing quickly, evaluated Finnish meat processing group HKScan that is planning to invest eight million euros in its factory in Estonia.

To fight for national minority schools, Russian representatives promise to hold a referendum

Defenders of Russian schools in Latvia promise to organize a referendum for autonomy of national minority schools, said co-chairman of Latvian Russians Association Miroslavs Mitrofanovs in regards to the transition to education only in Latvian language.

Tax payment process from capital growth to change in Latvia

As part of the tax reform, changes will be added to the Personal Income Tax Law starting from 1 January 2018. One of the changes is associated with payment and declaration of income from capital growth. The tax rate and the term for submission of declarations on income from capital growth will change next year.

Tusk deems EU migrant quotas ineffective as some states oppose taking in migrants

Donald Tusk, the head of the Council of the European Union and chairman of this week's EU summit, has evaluated that mandatory EU-wide quotas are ineffective and that there is a split between east and west as regards asylum policy.

Riga City Council’s 2018 budget – poorly planned or well-developed?

As the vote for the 2018 budget of Riga City Council draws near, representatives of all opposition parties say they will not support it as long as politicians of the ruling coalition continue viewing the city’s most important financial document as good and aimed at development.

Euro area economy has grown quicker than expected, European Central Bank estimated

Growth has been at a faster pace in the eurozone prompting the European Central Bank to raise its economic growth forecasts.

Weekends in Latvia expected to be snowy

A layer of snow will form in Latvia’s central and western regions that will remain until the middle of next week, as reported by State Environment, Geology and Meteorology Centre.

Opinion: Latvia at risk of restricting healthcare to 300,000 people

Kustība Par! political party has sent a letter to Latvia’s President Raimonds Vējonis, asking him to return to the Saeima the recently approved law on healthcare funding legislative draft. According to the party, the law restricts healthcare for 300,000 people in Latvia.

Lithuania’s 2018 budget focuses on spending cuts, NATO commitment and social security

Lithuania's 2018 budget, approved this week by the Seimas, Lithuanian Parliament, makes history for being the first budget ever with fewer spending for the governmental sector, the commitment to NATO of earmarking 2 per cent of the gross domestic product to defence and bigger allotments for social security. The budget was adopted by 84 MPs, 29 voted against, with 15 abstentions.

EU member states have to strengthen measures against sexual abuse of children

Member states of the European Union have to take more serious measures and cooperate more intensely with Europol and information technology industry to better combat sexual abuse of children, as noted by members of the European Parliament.

Latvian parliament views initiative for changing VAT rate for food product

On Thursday, 14 December, Latvia’s Saeima made its decision on the collective application that proposes reducing VAT on everyday healthy food products and increasing VAT on unhealthy products.

Maxima: residents have become more conservative in their choice of products

In Q2 and Q3, a higher degree of conservatism was noticed in residents’ choice of products. The number of buyers who gladly purchase new products has declined, whereas the number of buyers who do not change anything in their purchasing habits has increased, according to results of a study performed by Maxima.

Civil processes to be sped up and simplified in Latvia

On Thursday, 14 December, Saeima supported amendments to the Civil Process Law in the final reading. Amendments propose several major changes to the process of review of civil processes to make court sessions quicker and more efficient.

State Auditor dissatisfied with parliament’s slow legislative process

Latvian State Auditor Elita Krūmiņa plans to inquire to the Saeima about the delay with the approval of the legislative draft on the expansion of authority of her institution, as she mentioned in an interview to Rīta panorama programme of LTV.

Aldaris commences exports to France, China and Netherlands

Aldaris concludes 2017 with three new export contracts, commencing exports of products to China, France and Netherlands. Until now Aldaris has exported products to eight markets, with the largest one being United Kingdom, taking up 78.71% from Aldaris export volume, as reported by the company.

Estonian budget passed with 0.25 billion-euro deficit

The Estonian Riigikogu with 55 votes against 41 has passed the country’s 2018 state budget bill planning to spend by 0.25 billion more than it is planned to earn.

AFSAL: loan requests in non-banking industry are declined in 69% of all cases

In the first six months of 2017 Alternative Financial Services Association of Latvia (AFSAL) issued a total amount of EUR 84.7 million in consumer loans. No increase is noted in this amount when compared with the same period of 2016. Increase did not exceed 0.2%, as reported by the association.

Newest comments

When do you go shoping for Christmas gifts?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Polls Archive



Category feed: Feed: