Latviski English По-русски
Tuesday 20.03.2018 | Name days: Made, Irbe

Lithuanian political parties gets engulfed in «refreshment» frenzy

(+1 rating, 1 votes)

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

Gabrielius Landsbergis

Linas Jegelevičius for the BNN

Lithuanian political establishment is seeing something yet unseen: the silver-haired chairmen of major Lithuanian parties are nodding nearly in unison to youth, and if not for it, so definitely for change.

The powerful Lithuanian Conservative Party, known as Homeland Union- Lithuanian Christian Democrats (HU-LCD) is still cosying up with the new chairman, a boyish looking 33-year-old Gabrielius Landsbergis, the grandson of Vytautas Landsbergis, dubbed the patriarch of the party and post-Soviet Lithuania’s politics. And the others mull following the Conservatives’ footsteps.

SDP may see young leader soon, too

Don’t get duped by the pretty face lines of Gabrielius: the man sits as an MEP in the European Parliament and his drawn stern EU-Russian relations strategy amid the new geopolitics has drawn awe across the aisles. Oh, yes, Gabrielius is a father of four, a tangible embodiment of the Conservatives’ family policies.

Following the shake-up of the HU-LCD top (most of the new chair’s deputies are thought to be in their late thirties-early forties), the ruling Lithuanian Social Democrat Party (SDP), the other pillar of Lithuanian political establishment, has also scrambled to talk of the party’s «refreshment».

Obviously, it has to start off with the leaders, so, catching with the tune, Algirdas Butkevičius, the SDP chairman, said on Thursday, April 30, he wants to see a young politician replacing him.

Well, not just yet, but high public support enjoying Butkevičius insisted he will «bring up» the subject at the party’s convention this Friday, April 1.

And furthermore, the social-democratic Lithuanian PM lined up potentially new herdsmen of the party: Mindaugas Sinkevičius, the mayor of the Jonava Municipality, Gintautas Paluckas, Vilnius deputy mayor, Juras Požėla, a parliamentarian, Justas Pankauskas, Butkevičius‘ advisor and Ramūnas Burokas, the leader of Lithuania‘s young Social Democrats.

The laborists also beat the chord of «refreshment», but, unlike the Conservatives and Social Democrats, they are courting Valentinas Mazuronis, an agile sexagenarian, MEP and one of the former fulcrums of the Order and Justice Party that he left in disagreements with the party chairman, Rolandas Paksas.

If the grassroots does not bristle against the plan, stitched up hurriedly to salvage the Labor Party by its Honour Chairman Viktoras Uspaskichas,Mazuronis should start orchestrating the Laborists already in summer.

To remind, the country’s Liberal Movement, showering lately in the dazzling popularity in the polls, have long been rubbing shoulders with youth: Eligijus Masiulis is 41 like the new Vilnius mayor Remigijus Šimašius and Antanas Guoga, the Liberals‘ star, currently a MEP and an expected Liberals’ candidate in 2019 presidential elections, is 42.

«New topics are necessary»

But in the limelight for now is still G. Landsbergis, with the commentators often going to extremes in their analysis on yet until recently pretty much unknown politician.

Yes, the underlying argument is still there the same: the junior Landsbergis reaps the brownies of his grandfather’s prominence. This is hard to deny and the argument of «Landsbergis dynasty» will obviously jaunt the Conservatives’ new star.

«The reasoning on the topic will taper off or perhaps stop when he (Gabrielius Landsbergis) after warming up in the HU-LCD chair seat will start outlining his policies, especially if he comes with some big ideas, reverberating across the party and the society in general. Shortly, he still has to make name for himself, but as soon as he starts doing it, the ancestry thing will dim,»predicted Rimvydas Valatka, a well-known Lithuanian analyst.

As if echoing, G. Landsbergis has already pointed out after the election that besides the «traditional subjects», which like state security, state defence and energy security, have always been important for the party, a«wider spectrum of themes» must appear.

Among the new themes for the parliamentary election next year, he said, could be social welfare, education, emigration and striving to get the thousands of Lithuanian emigrants back home.

Gabrielius Landsbergis garnered 5192 votes in the election runoff, leaving Irena Degutienė, the runner-up, with 4094 votes in her favour.

By the way, when elected, G. Landsbergis offered her the deputy chairman’s position, which Degutienė accepted.

In his one of the first in-depth interviews to the daily Lietuvos Rytas, G. Landsbergis explained his resolve to lead the party and seek a seat in Lithuanian Parliament next year by the reason that it gives more «self-realization» and allows do more.

«The review of the party’s results to the European Parliament and municipal councils gives an impression the HU-LCD skids off and does not move forward unable to cohere. It seems there are leaders and all have ideas and clear provisions of the programme, but, obviously, there is a need for renewal- a fresh view, new energy and new ideas,» G. Landsbergis told.

He is set to continue his stint in Brussels and has said he will step down from the stint before the parliamentary election campaign is kicked off.

This has drawn some irk from some of the Conservative Party’s stalwarts –Jurgis Razma, who also contended for the HU-LCD chairperson seat, rebuked G. Landsbergis the further stay in Brussels might be against the party’s « best interests.»

New HU-LCD head to touch up party image

In the interview, G. Landsbergis admitted that there is «perhaps» some «arrogance» in the party, also « moments of judgmentalism»

«People tend to vote for politicians with whom they can relate themselves and see their reflection in them. It is hard to relate yourself with someone who portrays himself of herself as mistake-proof, someone who condemn,» the 33-year-old noted.

Gabrielius Landsbergis believe he can present himself differently.

«But obviously joint efforts are needed in the regard, I hope I will be able to convince my colleagues that we have to be more understanding,» he said.

He suggested he disagrees with those who insist that the party’s so-called «Talibs», preaching the fundamental, Christian religion-based views within the party, may try to break away.

«I believe that the party will remain united and stable. All the flare-ups of emotions have to fizzle away, in fact, all the social media has been triggering them quite a lot. But now we all ought to look forward, not backwards,» G. Landsbergis said.

When faced with the example of the British Conservatives’ leader, David Cameron, who has been quite liberal on some hot social issues, like same-sex partnerships, the new HU-LCD leader suggested «inner discussions» are necessary for issues like this.

«I believe that, first, we have to let to weigh on the issue like this to experts of social affairs, also hear the party leader and all the grassroots. I’d stick with the single approach in the party,» G. Landsbergis emphasized.

HU-LCD likely to be in Liberals’ shadows until Seimas election

Rimvydas Valatka says the HU-LCD has been «forced» by the «circumstances» to let the new party leader «jump over several generations”, which is seen as a “drastic step.”

«The result of the shuffle remains yet to be seen and can be predicted neither by the Conservatives themselves, nor us, the public. It might work and it might not. The gist is not about age, but the capability to govern others. So in that sense, it won’t be easy at all for Gabrielius Landsbergis to reign up the different layers of the party,» Valatka told BNN. He added: «There are quite a few influential Conservatives in the party who will be willing to weigh in on the party’s management.»

The analyst notes G. Landsbergis is «very little known» until now: «There have been few public appearances by G. Landsbergis even before the EU Parliament election.»

At the moments, the Liberals, he says, are «a lot more likeable» than the other parties, including the HU-LCD, and the latter’s staying in the Liberals’ shadow might last for quite some time.

«The Liberals have won already against the Conservatives and the former are likely to be rolling high until the parliamentary election in 2016. A sinister omen for the Conservatives,» Valatka said.

Still, junior Landsbergis has got « an advantage»

Tomas Janeliūnas, a political analyst and associate professor at Lithuania’s International Relations and Political Sciences, told BNN that the «first half-year» of the chairmanship will define Gabrielius Landsbergis’ leadership skills and potential.

«It will be hinged much on how much time he will have for direct meetings with the party’s branches. I don’t think that his stay for now in Brussels could make any harm to the party. Look, no asks the question how the Brussels stint by Rolandas Paksas affect Order and Justice Party he’s been chairing for over a decade,» Janeliūnas said.

He says that the advantage of G. Landsbergis is that he has nothing to do with the legacy of the HU-LCD, which, according to the analyst, would often« haunt» the party from one election to another.

«The former party leader (Andrius Kubilius) has dealt a lot with his legacy as prime minister and often it worked against him,» the analyst noted.

He downplays the argument that junior Landsbrgis is carried by his famous grandson.

«It has helped, but that would have been not enough if he appeared unattractive to the voters,» the analyst said.

Janeliūnas, however, suggested that the current stagnation within the party can hardly get shaken off before the election to Seimas next year.

«In the light of the surge of Liberals and high support for the Social Democrats, it forebodes nothing good for the Conservatives,» he predicted.

Ref: 020/

Leave a reply

France's ex-leader Sarkozy in custody over links with Libya

French ex-President Nicolas Sarkozy has been taken in custody on March 20 and was held in custody on Tuesday and interrogated amid an investigation into whether late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi added funds to his 2007 election campaign.

KVV Liepājas metalurgs’ steelworks bought out by Austrian Smart Stahl

The auction for the sale of the insolvent KVV Liepājas metalurgs rolling mill equipment concluded with the victory of Austrian Smart Stahl GmbH, as confirmed by insolvency administrator Guntars Koris.

Entomologist: at least 5% of ticks in Latvia are infected with encephalitis

There have been cases of tick activity during the winter period in Latvia this year. As air temperature increases, ticks become active and start popping up. This means residents should seriously consider vaccination to avoid getting encephalitis from tick bites, entomologists say.

Rail Baltica station’s construction at Riga airport will cost EUR 4.5 million

Creation of a separate railway station and related infrastructure at Riga International Airport as part of Rail Baltica project will cost EUR 4.5 million, says the project’s manager in Latvia and board member of European Railway Lines company Andris Linužs.

Norwegian minister steps down to keep minority government in power

In a move to avoid the collapse of the Norwegian minority government, its Justice Minister Sylvi Listhaug resigned amid a political storm she had caused by blaming an opposition party of not being harsh enough toward terrorism suspects.

Political party calls for immediate action to resolve «over-salted Riga» problem

Member of For Latvia’s Development political party’s Riga City Council faction Ansis Ansbergs urges the administration to find a quick solution to the excessive use of salt during the winter season because it has a negative impact on both human and animal health, as well as the state of buildings, cars and plant life in the capital.

MEP: fair competition should be secured for all European farmers

Sixteen members of the European Parliament from Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and Poland submitted a joint proposal on Monday, 19 March, for a resolution regarding the future of the Common Agricultural Policy with a request to equalize the level of direct payments across all of Europe starting from 2021.

Estonia prison sentence upheld to Syrian man for causing burns to wife

In the Estonian criminal case, where a Syrian man has been convicted to 10 years in prison over causing corporal damage to his wife by setting her on fire, Estonian Supreme Court has rejected his appeal.

Olainfarm’s sales volume increased by 16% over the course of the year

Provisional consolidated data from Olainfarm for February 2018 shows that product sales volumes have reached EUR 10.69 million, which is 33% more when compared with the same period of 2017.

Minister: it is not impossible for banks to reduce number of risky clients to 5%

It is not impossible for Latvian banks to reduce the number of risky clients to 5%, says Finance Minister Dana Reizniece-Ozola.

Syrian Afrin left by 220 000 civilians, Turkish-supported rebels loot town

After seizing the northern Syrian town of Afrin from Kurdish militia, Syrian rebels supported by Turkey have been looting properties, journalists have reported. The town has been left by estimated 220 000 civilians.

Ministry orders Riga City Council to lift restrictions on questions

Latvia’s Environment Protection and Regional Development Ministry has asked Riga City Council to act and fix violations of democratic principles in the newly approved rules for deputies.

Observers of Russia election see lack of genuine choice, numerous irregularities

Official results of the Russian presidential election showed that Vladimir Putin received in a competition of eight candidates over 76% of votes and European observers have found the election has been conducted efficiently, but that there has been a lack of choice.

Olainfarm: tax law does not allow applying for tax discount in investment projects

Rushed changes to the Corporate Income Tax Law, approved as part of the expansive tax reform, do not allow businesses with prior permission from the government to apply for CIT discounts in investment projects to receive said discounts if their historic profits are not divided into dividends.

EU agrees to UK's transition period before Brexit

In a breakthrough in the Brexit talks, the UK gave its consent on Monday to an agreement with the European Union that a tangible border would not be established between British-ruled Northern Ireland and Ireland to have the bloc agree to retain most EU advantages for close to two years leaving the union.

Latvia experiences one of the most rapid export rises among EU member states in January

In January 2017, Latvia experienced one of the most rapid export increases among EU member states when compared to the same month of the previous year, according to data published by Eurostat on Monday, 19 March.

Russian citizens living in Latvia provided more support to Putin than citizens in Russia

During the presidential elections in Russia last week, support provided to President Vladimir Putin by Russian citizens living in Latvia turned out considerably larger than it was in Russia.

Every third illegally downloaded software programme – infected with a virus

Data compiled by International Data Corporation shows: every third illegally downloaded software programme is infected with malicious software. Nevertheless, 69% of consumers and 33% of businesses in Europe procure computers with software from unsafe sources.

Russian economy has grown stable along with oil prices

Higher prices of oil have allowed the Russian economy to recover despite European Union's and U.S. sanctions and in time to benefit the Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has secured his next term in office.

Number of vacant jobs in Latvia grew 17.9% in 2017

In 2017, there were 17.0 thousand job vacancies in Latvia, which was 2.6 thousand vacancies or 17.9 % more than in 2016. In public sector there were 6.1 thousand job vacancies van in private sector 10.9 thousand vacancies.

Latvian cosmetics producers exports goods worth approximately 20 million euros

Cosmetics producers in Latvia export products worth EUR 20 million every year. Volumes increase 5% every year. The main export partner states are located in Europe. Still, there has been a significant increase of export volumes to third countries – to some countries this increase was as large as 60% -70%, according to data from Latvian Cosmetic Manufacturers Association.

US Chamber of Commerce worried that Latvia’s political culture has not changed since Ridzene talks

American Chamber of Commerce in Latvia (ACCL): «We are concerned that Latvian society’s and its government’s political culture has not changed much since the publication of information detailing events associated with Ridzene talks in 2009-2011. The state capture detailed there may still be possible...

Latvia’s prime minister open for talks regarding MPC system’s liquidation

Prime Minister Māris Kučinskis is prepared to discuss the possible liquidation of the mandatory procurement system, but not for all businesses at the same time.

Air temperature in Latvia to remain mostly positive throughout the week

On Monday, 19 March, weather in Latvia will change, as a low atmospheric pressure area together with an atmospheric front will approach the country from the north. The day will be sunny for the most part, but the amount of clouds will increase as hours go by, as reported by State Environment, Geology and Meteorology Centre.

Ukraine: British diplomats expelled from Moscow could work in Kyiv

In a reaction to Russia's announcement that it would expel 23 British diplomats from Moscow as part of the UK-Russia argument over poisoning of double-agent in an English city, Ukrainian Foreign Minister has suggested to his British counterpart that the 23 diplomats could now work in Ukraine.