bnn.lv Latviski   bnn-news.com English   bnn-news.ru По-русски
Tuesday 19.06.2018 | Name days: Nils, Viktors
LithuaniaLithuania

Lithuania’s 2016 Parliament election dark horse emerges

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

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

Linas Jegelevicius

The otherwise smooth, predictable and tedious Lithuanian political landscape has been visibly shaken up by the rise of a new, attractive and ambitious political force, Lithuania’s Peasant and Greens Union (LVZS), which is led by a millionaire businessman and generous patron of culture Ramūnas Karbauskis.

Social Democrats and Liberals failed to snatch coveted top-ranker

The party’s constantly-growing ratings are expected to spire after the much sought-after Saulius Skvernelis, the country’s Interior minister, currently enjoying record 60 percent favourability in the polls, has announced this week of participating in the Parliament election later this year on LVZS’s electoral list. He, however, will not join the party so far.

«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 party leader, Karbauskis.

The Interior minister had been courted by the Social Democrat Party and Lithuania’s Liberal Movement- they have admitted they were in talks with Skvernelis over his joining- so his decision to join the LVZS electoral list came as astonishment to many.

But many Lithuanian political analysts were not surprised by the decision and lavished Lithuania’s Peasant and Greens Union with praises.

Already dubbed as the nearing election’s «dark horse», LVZS has been constantly adding up a percentage-by-percentage to the growing public support, which has reached a record-high 6.7 percent now, and the coming of Skvernelis is expected to boost it to new heights.

Rise was slow but firm and stable

«The Peasant and Greens Union’s rise has been very slow but firm and stable. Quite astonishingly, the party was off radars of media until very recently, but now the situation has changed. It ended up being in the limelight, which will prop up the party,» Vladas Gaidys, the director of polling and market research company Vilmorus, told BNN.

He confessed he was caught «off guard» by the firm ascension of the Peasant and Greens Union onto the political stage over the last couple of years.

«Such formations as this makes the politics much more interesting,» Gaidys says.

Intrinsically to LVZS, its ascension was marked with the «conquering» of «many hearts» in the provinces, says the pollster.

«Other parties usually focus on their appearances in media as the main tool in growing the popularity. The Peasant and Greens Union has chosen quite another, unchartered by others path: helping out local communities, working with them and enjoying the accomplishments together,» the pollster underlined.

Karbauskis, the party leader, is known as a very successful agrarian businessman, who in his native village of Naisiai in Siauliai district has created an exemplary local community, with its own theatre, newspaper, radio and where all are said to be teetotalers.

He is also the spearhead and main patron of the Naisiai Theatre Festival, a major summer event in Lithuania, also held in Naisiai.

In the recent ranking of Lithuania’s most popular politicians, Karbauskis stands fourth, right after Skvernelis, President Dalia Grybauskaitė and Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevičius.

«The party and its leader have already long created a buzz in hinterlands. But the party has for long evaded media’s attention until now. But now it will be in the headlines. No doubts about it,» Gaidys told.

He believes that LVZS can take off with a well thought-out electoral campaign.

«The party is «not-feuding» and, therefore, remains as a second choice for many voters,» the Vilmorus head noted.

How to get around archaic word «peasant»?

The pollster, however, pays attention to the archaic word «peasant» in the party’s name, which, he believes, might ward off some voters.

«The word in Lithuanian sounds very archaic, so it remains to be seen if residents of urban regions will embrace it. I perhaps would not be very surprised if they decide to tweak the name a little bit,» Gaidys said.

The arrival of popular Skvernelis to the party election list will definitely serve as a boost, he agreed.

In the recent party ranking compiled by Spinter tyrimai, a polling company, LVZS in the popularity rankings is rights after the seasoned political heavyweights: Labour Party and Party of Order and Justice.

In the poll, with 10,5 percent of support, the latter stood fourth, behind the Social Democrats, Liberals and Conservatives (Homeland Union- Lithuanian Christian Democrats), and the Labourists were fifth with 7,4 percent. LVZS gas garnered a record-high 6,7 percent of support in the survey. The Electoral Action of Poles was awarded 4,8 percent of the favourability with MP Linas Balsys – chaired Lithuanian Green Union clinching the last spot in the ranking.

Party has a charismatic leader

The pollsters noted that people living in centers of provinces and those older in age sympathize for Social Democrats. Meanwhile, Liberals are more popular with city residents and those who are better educated and have higher earnings. For that electorate, they are vying with Conservatives, who have a bulky share of supporters in rural areas, too.

«There have not been any changes on top of the party rankings for long, but now the Peasant and Greens Union is set to shake it up», believes Mažvydas Jastramskis, a political analyst and lecturer at the Institute of International Relations and Politics at Vilnius University.

According to him, the party’s success should be chalked up to the charismatic leader, Karbauskis, who has earned respect in Northern Lithuania waging war against alcoholism, especially in his native Naisiai, and rooting it out.

«Besides, part of voters started looking for alternatives for the Party of Order and Justice and the labourists. As the alternative to many is LVZS, which has a certain base of values,» the analyst pointed out.

With Skvernelis on board, the Peasant and Greens Union will, very likely, will hit double-digits in polls, he is convinced.

«That will have a big impact on the balance of ruling coalition and opposition parties in the new Parliament. In other words, the spectrum of possible political coalitions expands with LVZS doing so well,» Jastramskis is convinced.

Speaking to BNN, he called LVZS «typical» to centre-oriented Scandinavian parties.

«I am pretty sure they can speak over a new coalition both with the Social Democrats, Conservatives and Liberals,» Jastramskis told.

Unlike pollster Gaidys, he does not find the party name« archaic».

«Many European parties’ names bear descriptions alluding the century-old history,» he underlined.

Some common values are shared

The analyst called the Skvernelis decision «not the one that could be called easily predicted», but speculated that the minister’s «rationality» has taken over in making up his mind.

«As a rational man and professional, he chose a political force that opens up big possibilities for him. The Social Democrats, who have also invited him to join the party, perhaps thought that he would not make it to top of the party leadership. When it comes to LVZS, it does not have many other outstanding personalities except Karbauskis, so in the party he will definitely be one of its leaders and will be able to have clout on it and its decisions,»  the analyst reasoned.

Regional politics and Karbauskis’s exhortation for a sober Lithuania will be among the topics of common interests between the minister and the rising party, Jastramskis believes.

Speaking to Delfi.lt, Bernaras Ivanovas, a political analyst and lecturer of Kaunas Vytautas Magnus University, pondered that with Skvernelis on the LVZS electoral list, the party’s ratings will «undoubtedly» go up. And the party’s muscling up will likely come at the expense of Labour Party as well as the Party Order and Justice.

«LVZS is coming out from a shadow, gaining popularity and, with such a popular man as Skvernelis on the list, it is set to strengthen,» the analyst said.

Ref: 111.111.103.3340


Leave a reply

Doctors unjustifiably charged fees for services worth 255,000 last year

Last year, authorities found that medical institutions that provide state budget-financed healthcare services had charged fees for services worth EUR 254,994, according to data compiled by Health Inspectorate.

Budget Committee picks Swedbank economist for Bank of Latvia Council

On Tuesday, 19 June, Saeima’s Budget and Finance Committee unanimously decided to submit to the Saeima a decision project regarding approval of Mārtiņš Kazāks for the post of member of the council of the Bank of Latvia, as confirmed by Saeima’s press-service.

Farmers Saeima proposes declaring state of emergency in Latvia’s agriculture sector

Farmers Saeima association has sent a letter to Latvia’s State Chancellery, Agriculture Ministry, Finance Ministry and Latvian Association of Local and Regional Governments, detailing a request addressed to the Cabinet of Ministers and Saeima to declare a state of emergency in the country’s agriculture sector because of the lasting drought.

IT specialist’s lawyers appeal client's arrest in recent restaurant case

Lawyers of Edgars Štrombergs, who is the accused party in the Vairāk saules restaurant cash register data manipulation case, have appealed the security measure applied to him, as confirmed by sworn attorney Mareks Halturins.

Russian and Belarusian arms control experts hosted by Lithuania

Russian and Belarusian arms control inspectors have been hosted by Lithuania as NATO forces trained across the Baltic states and Poland in exercise Saber Strike 2018.

Latvia’s ports suffer freight volume decline in first five months of 2018

Latvian ports handled 27.072 million tonnes of freight in the first five months of this year, which is 7.5% less when compared to the same period of last year, according to data compiled by Transport Ministry.

Bicycle rickshaws in Tallinn will need safety belts from July

Seeking to regulate the provision of bicycle rickshaw services in the Estonian capital, the Tallinn City Council has is to more particular bicycle rickshaw regulations that would align the services closer to car taxis.

158 election sites to open in Riga during next Saeima elections

A total of 158 election sites are planned to be opened in Riga for this autumn’s Saeima elections, as confirmed by documents prepared by Riga City Council.

30% of Latvian residents are dissatisfied with their family’s financial state

Residents’ overall mood has declined considerably across all survey positions. Residents have become the most negative about Latvia’s economic situation – 31% of them believe it has worsened. When asked to voice their outlooks for Latvia’s economy in a year from now, 17% of respondents said it will have improved, according to results of Baltic International Bank’s latest Latvian Barometer.

Apple fined 5 million euros for customer rights violations in Australia

A court in Australia has ruled that U.S. tech firm Apple has to pay a fine of 5.7 million euros refusing to repair iPhones and iPads that had been serviced by third parties as those actions breached consumer law.

Latvian coalition still torn about attracting highly-qualified guest workers

Because of differences in opinions among ministries, Latvia’s government is unlikely to support and view the proposal to ease the issue of EU blue card to highly-qualified guest workers without appropriate higher education, says Prime Minister Māris Kučinskis.

Corruption watchdog requests criminal prosecution of Bank of Latvia head

Latvia’s Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau has sent materials of a criminal case to the prosecutor’s office with a request to commence criminal prosecution of Bank of Latvia governor Ilmārs Rimšēvičs and businessman Māris Martinsons.

Riga City Council votes to add Vidzeme market to Riga Central Market’s capital

Riga City Council’s City Property Development Committee has voted in favour of adding Vidzeme Market to AS Riga Central Market’s capital. Opposition members voted against this during the meeting.

Police dismantle criminal group specialising in storage and transportation of excise goods

Officers of Latvia’s State Revenue Service discovered a suspicious shipment during a routine inspection of a vehicle at Riga Passenger Port. With help from State Police, officers found more than 2.3 million illegal cigarettes and 960 litres of spirit, as confirmed by police.

airBaltic receives its ninth Bombardier CS300 aircraft

On 17 June, Latvia’s airBaltic airline received its ninth Bombardier CS300 aircraft. The airline plans to expand its existing aircraft fleet with 14 CS300 aircraft before the end of the year.

Employment agency invites employers to apply for new job support programme

Employers will be able to apply for participation in a programme of the European Social Fund to help create subsidized jobs for unemployed people. Eighteen offices of Latvia’s State Employment Agency will be offering registration until 27 June.

Programme: government continues working on MPC plan’s cancellation

The disproportionate mandatory procurement component costs have become one of the biggest political scandals in Latvia since autumn last year. Attempts to put an end to the MPC system are continuing alongside the search of those responsible for the dysfunctional system. The government’s work group say it is impossible to completely cancel the system, as reported by Nekā Personīga programme.

De Facto: ABLV Bank’s self-liquidation – controlled or not so much?

«Controlled self-liquidation» – this is the undefined procedure Finance and Capital Market Commission has picked for ABLV Bank. This decision came after three months of document assessment, discussions with politicians and active media campaigns, as noted by De Facto journalists.

Latvia police investigate link between murdered insolvency administrator and missing businessman

Latvia’s State Police have begun an investigation of a possible link between the murdered insolvency administrator Mārtiņš Bunkus and the missing businessman Andris Bojārs, as confirmed by police representative Ilze Jurēvica.

Hundreds of migrants rejected in Italy allowed to leave ships in Spain

Migrants taken on rescue ships in the Mediterranean Sea and turned away by Italy and Malta have arrived in Spain's port of Valencia as three ships arrived in the harbour, including the Aquarius, which rescued the 630 migrants the week before.

Monday expected to be exceptionally hot in Latvia

Cool masses of air will flow into Latvia at the beginning of the week. Wind speed will increase as well. Several rain-cloud zones will pass through the country. Monday is expected to be the hottest day of this week in Latvia, as air temperature will likely reach +23° C… +26° C in most of the country. South-east regions of Latvia may even experience air temperature of +29° C.

Week in Lithuania. Lithuanian Railways joins European train system Interrail

Lithuanian state railway company Lietuvos Geležinkeliai has joined Interrail, a European train system that allows passengers to buy cheaper tickets for train travel across Europe.

Zolitūde tragedy lawyer criticises Latvian laws as favourable to insolvency administrators, not business owners

Outspoken Latvian lawyer, Aldis Gobzems, who defends in civil trials the victims of the Zolitūde supermarket collapse, where 54 people died and dozens suffered injuries, has joined the KPV LV party for the parliamentary election and is pointing to perceived political support to a few successful insolvency administrators.

Eurozone simulation with monthly billions to be quit in 2018

The European Central Bank has stated it would quit end its massive programme to stimulate the eurozone economy by buying bonds for 30 billion euros each month in December.

Human traffickers in Hungary sent to prison for 71 people dead in meat truck

For the deaths of 71 migrants, who suffocated in a sealed meat truck in Hungary in August 2015, a Hungarian court has sentenced four men to 25-year jail terms after finding them guilty of people-smuggling.