bnn.lv Latviski   bnn-news.com English   bnn-news.ru По-русски
Wednesday 25.04.2018 | Name days: Līksma, Bārbala
LithuaniaLithuania

Lithuania’s ruling LFGU party remains unscathed by scandals

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

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

Lithuania’s Peasant and Green’s Union (LPGU) party leader Saulius Skvernelis (R) and Lithuania’s Peasant and Green’s Union (LPGU) party Chairman Ramunas Karbauskis

Linas Jegelevičius for the BNN

It seems that, for now, Lithuania‘s ruling Farmers and Green Union (LFGU) has been nearly damage-proof despite the lambasting.

Yet not the LFGU, but the opposition conservative Homeland Union- Lithuanian Christian Democrats (HU -LCD) enjoys the biggest support of the Lithuanian voters now.

If parliamentary elections were held next weekend, the conservatives would secure 17.3 per cent of the vote and the LFGU would be supported by 15.4 per cent, according to the poll conducted by Spinter Tyrimai (Spinter Surveys) pollster.

The Social Democratic Party would come in third with 8.2 per cent of the vote, just ahead of the Order and Justice party with 7.7 per cent.

In multi-mandate voting, the Liberal Movement would be the last party to cross the required 5-per cent margin with 5.1 per cent of the vote.

The parties‘ sequence in other polls is similar. That the Conservatives top polls is not surprising as being in opposition means being less prone to vulnerabilities of the political life.

«If not for the latest scandal involving Conservative MP Mykolas Majauskas, who has been accused of sexual harassment recently, the Conservatives have avoided any major upset. The other parties, including the ruling Farmers and Green, have dealt with a set of controversies and scandals in the Seimas,» Vladas Gaidys, director of Vilmorus, a public opinion researcher, told BNN.

When it comes to the LFGU, the party’s chairman Ramūnas Karbauskis has been in fire for quite some time over his apparently shady land arrangements.

Although Lithuanian law forbids a company in Lithuania to acquire more than 500 hectares of land, Karbauskis, owner of Agrokoncernas, an agricultural giant, has bought up thousands of hectares of land through his family members.

The critics say the LFGU leader violated law, yet he defends himself, saying the arrangements were made in accordance to the letter of law. A prosecutorial probe has been started however into the dubious acquisitions.

For now, it seems however the land controversy is not affecting the party’s ratings, which are hovering in the range of 15 per cent. Yet Karbauskis himself is seen as one of the country’s least popular politicians.

«This situation is pretty unique (when the party is on top of polls and the party leader is on the bottom of the rankings). I reckon that the popularity of Saulius Skvernelis, the prime minister ( delegated to the post by the LFGU) who goes firmly second in the presidential polls, keeps the entire party high the ratings,» Gaidys pondered to BNN.

Of 47 names being mentioned by respondents asked who they want to see a new president in Lithuania in 2019, Skvernelis’ name is among the top three.

According to Gaidys, both the Social Democrats and the Liberals are weakened in the wake of the major shake-ups.

A dozen of heavyweight Social Democratic MPs decided last year to bristle against the party chairman Gintautas Paluckas’ decision to withdraw from the ruling coalition and in the wake set up their own party. Meanwhile, the Liberals’ former chairman Eligijus Masiulis awaits court trial on charges of bribery.

«The other conventional parties, Order and Justice and Labour, also are not through their best times, although the former is surpassing the electoral threshold of 5 per cent,» the Vilmorus head noted.

Asked to weigh in on the newest poll, Rima Urbonaitė, a political analyst, pondered that the Conservatives have «perhaps» hit the ceiling of growth in polls.

In her opinion, it is the Social Democrats which have to worry most following the split.

«The party struggles to reach the heights it used to enjoy a few years ago. Back in June, the Social Democrats’ support was at a comfortable 12,8 per cent, but it slipped to 8,2 per cent now. The fall is rather significant, especially that the Order and Justice Party with 7,7 per cent has neared to them,» Urbonaitė suggested.

That the ruling Farmers and Green Union retains the second position firmly in all the polls is quite «a good accomplishment,» she says.

«I think their high positions are due to the voters’ disappointment in all the conventional political parties…The voter sees that out of all evils the Farmers are the least harmful,» the analyst noted.

Artūras Jonkus, partner of public relations company «Agency 1323”, also acknowledged that the ruling party is not scathed virtually at all by the controversies, especially by Karbauskis’ land affair and the unpopular restrictions on alcohol sales in Lithuania.

«Indeed, it’s pretty phenomenal that the backlashes against the LFGU leader and the LFGU Health Minister (Aurelijus Veryga) over the new booze sale order do not affect the public opinion tangibly. I chalk it up to the party’s voters being mainly in the provinces, where the people appear less on the social media. Thence the criticism does not bend the LFGU ratings,» the analyst said.

He, however, notes that he wants to see new polls in a month or so, when the respondents will have taken into consideration the allegations of sexual misconduct for Conservative legislator Mykolas Majauskas and by when the conclusions of the prosecutorial probe on Karbauskis lanch purchases may be known.

Meanwhile, Ignas Zokas, head of Spinter tyrimai, a market research and polling company, notes that political scandals are part of Lithuanian politics and not all of them necessarily ill-effect the political parties.

«There is the understanding among the voters that they do not have many parties to choose from and that none of them is entirely «bad» or «good». Unfortunately, in Lithuania, we have this popular understanding that all the parties «steal», so it makes sense therefore to support that one which does not do it brazenly and which does some good for all the people,» the pollster noted.

This week’s feud between the Conservatives and the Farmers over the voting to strip Social Democrat MP Mindaugas Bastys of his parliamentary mandate also may sway the public support to one of the sides.

Karbauskis has accused the opposition conservatives for the parliament’s decision to keep the MP mandate for Mindaugas Bastys.

Karbauskis said he got suspicions after public statements by the conservative Homeland Union – Lithuanian Christian Democrats that they would not support Bastys the secret ballot held on Tuesday, March 13.

«I believe the conservatives had consciously plotted a provocation to accuse us now. The accusations now are very odd – after (conservatives’) Rasa Juknevičienė said in the Seimas hall that the party would vote unanimously, I got the suspicion and shared it in my comment made during the plenary that it seemed strange to say this before a secret ballot. How should this be viewed?» Karbauskis told journalists.

Karbauskis said he voted in support of stripping Bastys of his mandate, adding he only knew one LFGU member who had decided to vote otherwise.

The parliament failed to garner enough votes in a secret ballot on Tuesday to strip Bastys of his mandate despite the Constitutional Court’s ruling that the lawmaker had grossly violated the Constitution and breached the oath by concealing his ties with Piotr Voyeiko, a former KGB agent.

Angered by Karbauskis accusations, Gabrielius Landsbergis, chairman of the TS-LKD, has spearheaded the initiative of a new parliamentary election in the country.

Dismayed by the results of the secret voting on Bastys impeachment , Andrius Tapinas, the founder and host of «Laisvės TV» (Freedom TV), and a powerful face on the social media, has called on all to turn up in the square in front of the Lithuanian Parliament to protest failed impeachment.

Almost 8,000 people said on Facebook Wednesday afternoon that they planned to take part in the protest in Independence Square.

Ref: 020/111.111.111.5800


Leave a reply

Saeima speaker in Tallinn: EU and NATO cooperation in defence should be enhanced

Close cooperation between European Union and NATO in defence is now more important than ever. This is especially true for cyber security and hybrid-thread prevention, said Latvian Saeima’s speaker Ināra Mūrniece during a meeting of EU member states parliaments in Tallinn on Tuesday, 24 April.

Ministry avoids going against supporting parties; Ventspils City Council’s violations reported to court

Environment Protection and Regional Development Ministry has no influence at all, and sometimes it seems it has no desire to exercise its rights and perform its duties. This situation most likely appeared because the institution is led by a minister who represents a specific political party.

Warfare in Ukraine escalates, soldiers wounded

In the Donbas War that continues for the fifth year in the Ukrainian regions of Luhansk and Donetsk, Russian hybrid forces have this week conducted a total of 44 attacks, wounding five soldiers, the Ukrainian military reports.

Demand for mortgage loans grew 53% in March

Increased demand for mortgage loans with state guarantees was observed in Latvia in March. Nearly every other loan application filed last month was intended for housing purchase using Altum guarantee. The largest amount of interest came from families with children, as reported by Citadele Bank.

Most businesses in Latvia still not ready for data protection regulation

The majority of businesses in Latvia are still not ready for EU General Data Protection Regulation, which is due to come to force on 25 May, says KPMG lawyer and certified data protection specialist Sanita Pētersone.

Finnish prisoners found radicalising towards Islamic and far-right extremism

In prisons in Southern Finland, a study of radicalisation of inmates has been conducted and has identified dozens of inmates, who are moving into either radical Islam or into far-right violent extremism.

Ušakovs invites colleagues from Russia to attend centenary festivities in Riga

Mayor of Riga Nils Ušakovs has invited mayors from 56 cities to attend festivities organized for Latvia’s centenary. This includes mayors of Moscow and St. Petersburg, as confirmed by Ušakovs’ press-secretary Laila Ivāna.

Estonian President sees no return from e-governance

Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid has discussed with Christine Lagarde, the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, the Baltic country's experience in providing public e-services to the population.

Norway interested in developing cooperation with Latvia in tourism industry

«Latvia welcomes successful regional and economic cooperation with Norway. Our countries have common values and goals – developing Baltic and Nordic countries as a wealthy and secure European region,» said Latvia’s Economy Minister Arvils Ašeradens during his meeting with Norwegian State Secretary for Trade, Industry and Fisheries Roy Angelvik.

Finland not to continue its basic income scheme

The basic income scheme in Finland that has been tested in the Nordic country since 2017, will not be continued as the Finnish government has decided to look into other schemes for reforming the Finnish social security system

MEP: New Unity may be in the government with other parties that have similar goals

After Saeima elections, New Unity will cooperate with parties prepared to work with the association to accomplish specific goals, says leader of New Unity and member of the European Parliament Krišjānis Kariņš.

Canada experiences tragic attack on pedestrians in Toronto

In the Canadian city of Toronto, a driver has been driving onto pedestrians taking the lives of 10 people and injuring 15 more.

Latvian residents spend an average of EUR 81 on cosmetics every year

Latvian residents spend an average of EUR 81 on cosmetics every year, which is one of the lowest indexes in Europe. Compared to other Baltic States, Latvian residents spend less money on cosmetics, according to data compiled by Latvian Cosmetic Manufacturers Association.

Armenian Prime Minister Sargsyan resigns unexpectedly

The Prime Minister of Armenia, Serzh Sargsyan, has unexpectedly stepped down from office after ten days of protests in the Armenian capital Yerevan.

Baltic Express: Europe has already invented the bicycle; we just have to adopt it

13 March marked a historic event for Ventspils railway hub – for the first time in the history of Latvia’s railway a private cargo carrier – Baltic Express – delivered wagons to Ventspils 1st station and private infrastructure’s railway terminal. Why is this event so important and what is the future for Latvia’s cargo railway system? – Baltic Express chairman Māris Bremze told ventspilnieks.lv.

Reduction of employees in state administration went the smoothest in finance sector

Measures to reduce the number of employees in state administration last year went the smoothest for the State Revenue Service and the entire finance sector, said Latvia’s State Chancellery’s Director Jānis Citskovskis.

Alleged Paris terrorist Abdeslam convicted of attempted murder

The lone Paris attacks' suspect Salah Abdeslam has been found guilty of attempted terrorist murder of police, when taking part in a shootout with police in the Belgian capital Brussels in March 2016.

Rail Baltica’s infrastructure management model to be studied by British company

On 8 November 2017, RB RAIL joint Baltic company announced the winner in the tender for the study of Rail Balica’s infrastructure management model. The winner was British design, engineering and project management consulting company: Atkins and SNC-Lavalin Group.

Harmony and UGF have their sponsors, whereas Sudraba’s party relies on donations

Since the beginning of the week, Latvia’s political parties have received more than half a million euros in donations and membership fees. According to the database of the Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau, pockets fill up the fastest for political parties in power in the country and Riga.

Chemical weapons investigators have taken samples in Doma, Syria

In Syria, the scene, where according to the UK, U.S. and France, an attack with chemical weapons was conducted earlier in April, has after delays been visited by inspectors from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, who have managed to collect samples.

Estonia and Finland to share patient data over innovative «secure» data highway

The Estonian-developed international data exchange technology X-road, said to be hacker-proof is to be the basis for a new Estonia-Finland system of linked doctor prescription registers that would make prescriptions issued in one country available in pharmacies in the other.

Prime minister: Linužs’ dealings with offshore business warrants an investigation

Latvia’s Transport Minister Uldis Augulis refused to comment on information reported by De Facto programme one week ago – that Rail Baltica organized Andris Linužs had signed a deal with an offshore company based in Seychelles and used by influential businessmen from St. Petersburg. Prime Minister Māris Kučinskis, on the other hand, told the programme that «deals associated with state security had been recorded in the past and represent a matter that warrants an investigation».

Afghanistan hit by tragic terror attack

In Kabul, Afghanistan, a suicide bomber has killed not less than 57 people and injured 119 more as the attack with explosives targeted a queue of people outside a voter registration centre, Afghan officials have stated.

Armenia mass protests continue as opposition leader Pashinyan detained

In Armenia, mass protests against ex-President Serzh Sargsyan being elected as Prime Minister, have continued over the weekend marking over a week of protests in the capital Yerevan.

Weather in Latvia to be cold; air temperature to rise at week’s end

This week will be slightly colder for Latvia. Rain is expected in almost all regions every day. It will start getting warmer on Saturday and Sunday, when daytime air temperature is expected to rise again, as reported by State Environment, Geology and Meteorology Centre.