bnn.lv Latviski   bnn-news.com English   bnn-news.ru По-русски
Tuesday 25.07.2017 | Name days: Jēkabs, Žaklīna
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

Court dismisses Krums from the last of his supervised insolvency process

On Monday, 24 July, Riga Pardaugava Court dismissed the currently arrested insolvency administrator Ilmars Krums from the last one of the insolvency processes currently under his supervision, as confirmed by Insolvency Administration’s representative.

49 «quota refugees» away from Estonia for over 90 days

49 people of the refugees accepted by Estonia as part of the European Union's refugee relocation programme have exceeded the 90-day period of being allowed be away from the country.

Opinion: EU agricultural policy is not equal to all member states

Latvian Association of Agricultural Cooperatives organized a meeting with Agriculture Ministry’s and State Plant Protection Service’s specialists to discuss and search for solutions for opportunities to sow fermented summer rapeseed.

In pictures: Corsica hit by widespread forest fires

Fire-fighters in the French Mediterranean island of Corsica continued on the night to July 25 to battle forest fires covering an area of some 900 hectares.

Can Latvia expect a more rapid rise of excise tax for alcohol and cigarettes?

Finance Ministry has plans to raise excise tax on alcoholic beverages and cigarettes even more rapidly, according to proposals prepared by the ministry to the Excise Tax Law. These proposals have been submitted to the Saeima for approval in the final reading.

LCCI: e-health system will help reduce the number of dishonest patients

«Healthcare Ministry has to secure full integration of e-health system and form a policy for healthcare specialists that is aimed at returning labourers back to work as soon as possible, not issuing countless sick leave certificates,» as noted by representatives of Latvian Chamber for Commerce and Industry.

Swedish government admits «disastrous» data leak

The government of Sweden has stated that one of its agencies has committed a massive leak of sensitive data in 2015, when it organised an information technology outsourcing procedure.

Vucans: there are plenty of proposals for tax reform laws

Around 350 proposals have been received by the Latvian parliament in relation to tax reform laws. Last week, the Saeima supported tax reform laws in the first reading. This week, on the other hand, it is planned to review them in the final reading.

Greece to return to financial markets after three-year pause

Greece, which has been suffering from severe and prolonged financial problems, is expected to return to international financial markets to borrow funds.

Duda to veto Polish judicial reforms

President of Poland Andrzej Duda has stated he would not announce the controversial reforms of the Polish Supreme Court and the National Council of the Judiciary passed in the Polish Sejm that have also sparked mass protests in the country.

Dairy product prices not expected to decline in Latvia soon

Prices of dairy products in Latvia will either remain on the current level or increase even more in the next couple of months. With that, there is no reason to expect price decline in the near future, predicts head of Agriculture Market Promotion Centre Inguna Gulbe.

Five insolvency administrators suspended due to criminal processes in Latvia

Five insolvency administrators have been suspended because of several criminal processes, said Director of Insolvency Administration Inese Steina in an interview to LNT 900 seconds.

Family doctors may change the form of strike if need be

Latvian Family Doctors Association could change the form of its strike of need be, as confirmed by the association’s representative Solvita Olsena.

Baltic animal rights organisations turn attention to fur farming ban in Czech Republic

Following the fur farming ban passed by the parliament of the Czech Republic, Latvian and Estonian animal rights organisations turn the attention of communities in Latvia and Estonia to the increasingly the ethical attitude of European countries to animal rights.

Toyota sales in Latvia up 25%

5,735 new Toyota cars were sold in Baltic States in the first six months of 2017, which is 33% more than last year. Toyota’s total market share in Baltics is 14.2%, BNN was informed by the company.

Number of accidents caused by tractors and size of claims on a rise

Over the course of the past several years, the number of traffic accidents caused by specialized agricultural vehicles and the size of insurance claims has grown in Latvia, as reported by Motor Insurers' Bureau of Latvia.

Businessmen offer to help fund railway works in Estonia rejected by minister

Entrepreneurs in Lääne County, Estonia, have offered the state to help with funding the reconstruction of a railway section, by attracting private money, but the offer has been rejected by Estonian Economic Affairs Minister Kadri Simson.

International Baltic Bikini military exercises to be organized in Latvia

Baltic Bikini 2017 military exercises will be taking place in Liepaja, Latvia, throughout 24 – 28 July. More than 100 Baltic and American troops will be participating together with State Border Guard and Emergency Health Service to practice survival skills, as reported by Defence Ministry.

SRS: envelope wages will be a priority this year

More than half of Latvian employers pay their employees wages below the minimal monthly amount, said Director of the State Revenue Service Tax Control Office Sandra Karklina Admine in an interview to Rīta panorama on Monday, 24 July.

Latvians hesitant to use electronic means to request benefits

So far, Latvia residents have been rather slow in the use of electronic tools to request benefits from the State Social Insurance Agency.

Orbán promises solidarity with Poland as it approves controversial court reforms

Following the criticism Warsaw has received in mass protests and from Brussels on the approval of a controversial court reform, the Prime Minister of Hungary Viktor Orbán has pledged to defend Poland in the European Union.

New Conservative Party takes away one seat from Latvian Farmers Union in Kekava

The New Conservative Party has taken away one seat in Kekava council from Latvian Farmers Union, according to provisional data of the Central Election Commission on repeated elections in Kekava’s 785 election site.

17 journalists of Turkish newspaper charged with aiding terrorist organisation

In Turkey, 17 journalists of the opposition newspaper Cumhuriyet are to be tried over charges of aiding a terrorist organisation and, if found guilty, they face up to 43 years in jail.

Week to be warm in Latvia, but some rain is still expected

At the beginning of the week, weather in Latvia will be dictated by a small cyclone with its centre above Lithuania. The precipitation zone associated with this cyclone will bring about rain to south-east parts of Lithuania, as reported by State Environment, Geology and Meteorology Centre.

BNN summary of the week: Kucinskis in Ridzene’s room and government’s rushed decisions

BNN offers a summary of this week’s topical news in a variety of categories: Change; Fight; Truth; Business and Growth.