bnn.lv Latviski   bnn-news.com English   bnn-news.ru По-русски
Monday 22.01.2018 | Name days: Austris
LithuaniaLithuania

Political parties on a bragging spree ahead of New Year, which will sort out true winners and losers

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

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

Lithuania’s picturesque Trakai castle

Linas Jegelevičius for the BNN

As Lithuanian political parties are set to ring in the New Year, the buzz is not so much about the changeover as it is about the nearing political campaigning for Seimas election in late 2016.

Although the parties are already measuring up against one another and flexing up muscles, boasting of the year’s highs and putting a gloss on the lows, the true winners and losers will crop up only in a year.

Ongoing renovation is TT’s success

«I really hope that the population will acknowledge our party’s efforts done to push forward the renovation of the country’s apartment blocks. The process has been literally in a stalemate for four or five years, and thanks to the ministers delegated by our party, it has considerably moved ahead this year,» Remigijus Žemaitaitis, a parliamentarian of the ruling Order and Justice Party (TT), told BNN.

He chalks off the success to former TT deputy chairman and minister-turned-MEP Valentinas Mazuronisand his successor, Kęstutis Trečiokas.

That the former has left the party this year amid a set of rows with the party leader and MEP Rolandas Paksas he considers«a temporarynuisance to some», but claims TT has reeled off well from the shake-up.

«Some political observers tend us to constantly write off, but we, every time, tend to come back even stronger. That tells a lot about the party’s depth,» the MP insisted.

Among the other party’s gains in 2015 he sees addition of three new Seimas legislators to the party ranks.

«Both Stasys Brundza, Valdas Vasiliauskas and Povilas Gylys are seasoned politicians, who, unlike some of the analysts, certainly believe the party has a future,» Žemaitaitis claimed.

Will Roland Paksas vote fiasco haunt TT?

Speaking of the party’s biggest losses this year, he singled out the ruling coalition’s failure to bring Paksas, the party leader, back to the domestic political stage.

In 2004, the Lithuanian Parliament, or Seimas, ousted Paksas less than 14 months after he took the President’s office, voting on three counts that he violated his oath and the Lithuanian Constitution through his dealings with a Lithuanian-Russian businessman suspected of links to Russian organized crime.

In 2011, Paksas heard a favourable verdict from the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), which said that the legislative measure against him- a life-long ban from any oath-requiring office- is too excessive and that he needs to be given a right to seek such office again.

The Lithuanian Seimas, however, has failed this winter to pave way for his comeback through adoption of necessary Constitutional amendments.

«It is definitely our legislature’s- and our party’s- failure,» says Žemaitaitis. «Paksas will be barred from the domestic political stage until Loreta Graužinienė (Seimas’ chairwoman and one of the stalwarts of the Labour Party) and Valentinas Mazuronis (Labour Party chairman) are around,» the legislator is convinced.

Another setback, he says, is the resignation of Interior minister Dailius Barakauskas, who was forced to step down amid a corruption scandal.

Too a big LNG terminal and shady waste management

That Lithuania has a LNG terminal which maintenance costs are very high and that Lithuania fails to find buyers for nearly half of the gas stored in the facility is also TT’s relative defeat, believes Žemaitaitis.

«It means we failed to convince all the colleagues on the Seimas floor and the society that we do not need such a big terminal. Now we therefore see the rising prices of gas and eventually the costs of heat and electricity,» the legislator admitted.

Asked about personal wins in the politics this year, Žemaitaitis says he’s proud of having initiated amendments to the Tourism Law, which, he says, have helped revoke licenses of some shady tourism agencies in the country.

«I also chalk off to my achievement the decision to exempt some new investors in Kaunas Free Economic Zone from the so-called public service obligation, i.e. a tangible surcharge for the electricity service,» the MP noted.

A loss, he says, also could be the inability to get amendments to the Law on Waste passed.

«Unfortunately, the lobbyists and those who, on the municipal level, manage, often non-transparently, to shun landfill taxes have won. As a result, waste recycling continues to stall and continues being a fortune to those who manage to take advantage of the legislative loopholes. In a word, Lithuania failed to step up waste management in 2015,» Žemaitaitis pointed out to BNN. He added:«I’ve been appointed to head Seimas Delegation in the NATO Parliamentary Assembly. It is a big acknowledgment to me.»

Inquired how Order and Justice Party can possibly do in Seimas election next year, he replied «many in the ranks» would be glad if the party could grab eight or ten seats.

«Now we have 13 members in our fraction. I don’t think we can do much beter than that. Let’s be realistic,» Žemaitaitis told.

He says he will run in the election if the party wishes.

Key energy projects stand out

For Gediminas Kirkilas, one of the big shots of Lithuania’s Social Democratic Party, the party’s biggest gains in 2015 were about the successful completion of major power projects.

«The grid interconnectors with Sweden and Poland and signing the deal on laying a gas pipeline to Poland are defining-moments for Lithuania’s energy sector,» the politician told BNN.

That the Social Democrats end the year enjoying record-high support in the polls is also a joyful fact for the party, says Kirkilas.

«It means the party’s programme has been a success. People value the economic stability and are hopeful of the future. People are still perhaps mindful of the unpopular former Conservatives-led coalition and their decisions,» the SD senior member and vice-chairman of the Seimas said.

He says if the party manages to win 40 or more seats in 2016 Seimas election, it will definitely be a success.

Replying to the question on the Social Democrats’ failures this year, he mentioned the stalling adoption of a new social model.

«Now it is put off till the spring session, but I wish we had passed it by now. With the piece of legislation still waiting endorsement, there’s a possibility that some voters can turn away from us in the run,» Kirkilas shared the concern.

Asked about the New Year’s resolutions, the seasoned politician answered he did not have any, but confessed he wants to put out a new book in 2016.

«About the politics, sure,» he told.

Conservatives snub polls, expect to come victorious in 2016

Andrius Kubilius, former chairman of the Homeland Union and Lithuanian Christian Democrats (TS-LKD), known as Lithuania’s Conservatives, praised the party for the work that led to the implementation of the afore-mentioned energy projects.

To the remark that the Social Democrats see themselves behind them, Kubilius sneered at the key political rivals, saying that Social Democrats boast of hitching a ride on the train that was put on the tracks by Conservatives.

«We cannot forbid themto have some joy from the ride,» former TS-LKD chief quipped.

He also sees the party behind the significant bolstering of Lithuania’s defence capabilities this year.

«We have always kept repeating that we should ramp up our defence. However, not always others listened to us. That Lithuania reinstated conscription this year is alsosomething that we have started,» Kubilius noted.

The results in the municipal council elections, held in March, were not bad, he says, but, notably, the elections have spurred some change in the party’s leadership, which is «a very good thing», says Kubilius.

«I really believe we can do well in Seimas election next year, although the polls may not be in our favour now. But they are something that we do not pay attention a lot to. Remember, in the European Parliament election, Social Democrats were heavily favoured, but we came on top,» the Conservative MP reminded. «I am pretty sure we may see the same outcome in 2016.»

A peaceful year matters for Labourists

Kęstutis Daukšys, deputy chairman of Lithuania’s Labour Party, believes namely the Labourists are behind the raise of minimum wage, pensions and hike in teachers’ pay.

«That has always been in our programme. Frankly, I cannot come up with anything what you call «Labour Party’s loss», the politician told BNN.«I hope 2016 will be a good year for our party. The most important thing is to have a peaceful new year.»

Raimondas Imbrasas, chief secretary of Lithuania’s Liberal Movement (LLS), calls the party’s gains in 2015 «big.»

«The party has significantly increased the number of mandates in the municipal councils and Liberal Movement has effectively become a second party in the country, right behind the Social Democrats. That’s big,» Imbrasas told BNN.

He says the party’s ranks grew by around one thousand new members in 2015.

«If we can win over 30 seats in Seimas after the election next year, it will certainly be a success for Liberal Movement,» LLS chief secretary told.

Ref: 020/111.111.111.3066


Leave a reply

Week in Lithuania. Fake news on Lithuanian Defence Minister planted on news portal

The Tv3. lt news website was hacked on Thursday, January 18 - a fake news story about Lithuanian Defence Minister Raimundas Karoblis was posted claiming that Karoblis allegedly harassed Ridas Jasiulionis, a journalist at the Žinių Radijas radio station, and admitted being gay.

BNN summary of the week: final report on Oligarchs case and ordered attacks on e-health

BNN offers a summary of this week’s topical news in a variety of categories: Change; Fight; Attack; Growth; Decline; Opinion; and Study.

Economist: the most important reform has to happen in people’s heads

«Of all the clever things taught to us in school about psychology, one thing that has stuck with me over the years is the idea of internal/external control point. There are people who believe they make their own fate. There are also people who believe our fate depends on external powers. I suspect people in Latvia explain successes and failures with external factors much more than people in Switzerland or any other country that has enjoyed its freedom longer than Latvia,» comments Luminor Bank’s economist Pēteris Strautiņš.

Minister promises bigger wages for working people and support for country’s industry

«Latvian Economy Ministry’s priorities for 2018 include increasing wages for working people and providing support to the country’s industry. For Latvia’s centenary year, every resident should have the right to experience the increase of the personal and state welfare,» promises Economy Minister Arvils Ašeradens.

Latvenergo: electricity price has declined 30% in the past three years

Average electricity price in Latvia has declined in recent years. The average price of electricity has declined by 30% at Nord Pool exchange between 2014 and 2017, allowing end user costs to decline, says Latvenergo.

Alcohol sellers in Estonia to be checked by little «police»

To find shop assistants illegally selling alcohol or tobacco to minors, Estonian police introduces the method of sending minors as police aides to retail shops to try to purchase the products banned to them.

EY study: cyber security has become a priority to banks this year

Over the course of the year, priorities of banks around the world have switched from reputation and risk management to data security matters, as concluded in the latest EY Global Banking Outlook 2018.

Political association: UGF and Harmony are covering up state capture

«Parliamentary investigation of Oligarchs case has shown what is what in the Saeima of the Republic of Latvia. Green farmers are in full harmony, covering up Aivars Lembergs and the fact of state capture. They and Inguna Sudraba have made the parliamentary investigation into a farce. Unfortunately, the power in those people’s hands is no farce – rather misfortune for all of Latvia. I hope citizens will take all that into account when they go voting,» says leader of Kustība Par! Daniels Pavļuts.

Tallinn-Helsinki tunnel plan lacks ambition, says «Angry Birds» game maker

While Finland and Estonia work on plans of an under-sea tunnel from Tallinn to Helsinki, the construction of which could start in the 2030s, a Finnish businessman, previously involved in development of Angy Birds video game, has presented plans to finish the massive construction project in 2024 already.

Experts: healthcare financing law will deny healthcare to the least protected

In a discussion regarding healthcare, experts said that Latvian President Raimonds Vējoņis’ proposed Healthcare Financing Law is economically unjustified and ineffective. The document lacks principles of a socially responsible state, because healthcare is becoming less accessible, which will likely worsen public health indexes, says Kustība Par! political party.

Branded «aggressor state», Russia says Ukraine buries Minsk peace agreements

As the Donbas War continues, the parliament of Ukraine has passed the so-called Donbas reintegration bill after three days of debates defining territories controlled by pro-Russian separatists in the east of the country as temporarily occupied by Russia.

Weather to remain winter-like in Latvia during the weekend and next week

On Friday and Saturday, no major increase of snow is expected. Air temperature will increase slightly, but colder masses of air will slow into the country on Sunday, as reported by Latvian State Environment, Geology and Meteorology Centre.

Winter storm in Netherlands and Germany turns tragic

A powerful winter storm in western and central Europe has claimed the lives of eight people.

Lithuanian bishops: skipping fasting on February 16 this year is not a sin

In an unprecedented move, the Conference of Lithuanian Bishops, the governing body of the Lithuanian Catholic Church, said that meat dishes okay for the people of faith on February 16, which marks the 100-year anniversary of Lithuania's statehood and the Lent Friday, which is traditionally a day of fasting for religious Catholic people.

Coincidence? Votes from Harmony and UGF ensure Sudraba remains the head of Oligarchs case committee

On Thursday, 18 January, the majority of Saeima members voted against the proposal to dismiss Inguna Sudraba from the post of the head of parliamentary investigative committee in charge of the review of the infamous Oligarchs case.

Kaljulaid criticised over involvement of acclaimed, but unrestrained director in centennial reception

As Estonia readies for the presidential reception to honour the 100th anniversary of Estonia, its President Kersti Kaljulaid is being criticised in an open letter for trusting Tallinn’s NO99 theatre, whose director physically assaulted a female colleague.

22.1% of Latvia’s residents subjected to risk of poverty

In 2017, 425 thousand persons or 22.1 % of Latvia population were at risk of poverty in 2016 – 0.3 percentage points less than in 2015. Equivalent income of this part of the population were below 330 euros monthly.

LAAC: Latvia’s milk market can be sorted out by joining forces in exports

Latvian Association of Agricultural Cooperatives (LAAC) has received support and praise for the public discussion regarding rapid milk procurement price changes, which is something that has recently affected the majority of agricultural cooperatives. This has helped cooperatives band together in order to sort out the milk market. This idea came from the example set by grain producer cooperatives, which did the same thing fifteen years ago, as reported by the association’s representatives.

Forevers announces its decision to exit from Latvian Federation of Food Companies

Forevers meat processing company has decided to exit from Latvian Federation of Food Companies (LFFC). The contract between two parties will be terminated in January.

Saeima’s Oligarchs case investigative committee hastily approves final report

In spite of objections, grammatical errors, criticisms about lacking effort, as well as Inguna Sudraba’s unfit status to lead the committee, members decided to move the meeting from 11:00 to 08:00 and approve the final report in a rushed vote.

Removal of 1 and 2 euro cent coins from circulation suggested by Bank of Estonia

Estonian central bank is willing to follow the eurozone trend of limiting the circulation of euro 1-cent and 2-cent coins and in time to remove them entirely from circulation in the Baltic country.

Cert.lv: attacks on e-health system and LETA were likely ordered

Attacks on e-health system and LETA agency were likely ordered, said Cert.lv deputy manager Varis Teivāns in an interview to Rīta Panorāma programme of LTV.

As Catalan parliament reconvenes, it elects pro-independence speaker

The Catalan regional parliament has in its first sitting since its ousting and snap December election elected a separatist-minded politician as its Chairman, which indicates that the attempts to break the region away from Spain would continue.

Latvia’s National Armed forces receive new Harris tactical radio equipment

In 2017, Latvia received tactical military radios worth USD 10.5 million from American Harris Corporation. Procurement of radio equipment will further improve command function and help develop a lasting communication system with other NATO member states, as reported by Latvian Defence Ministry.

MEP: Europe continues strengthening its energy independence

«The European Parliament has voiced strong support towards Europe’s energy independence and moving its energy policy away from Russia’s monopoly by investing in energy efficiency and renewable energy resources,» said MEP Krišjānis Kariņš after the vote on Clean Energy Act’s first reading in Strasbourg.

Would you be ready to boycott something in your life?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Polls Archive



Category feed: Feed: