bnn.lv Latviski   bnn-news.com English   bnn-news.ru По-русски
Tuesday 17.07.2018 | Name days: Aleksejs, Aleksis
LithuaniaLithuania

Celebrity Interior minister steps down, doubts loom over his political durability

FaceBook
Twitter
Draugiem
print
(+2 rating, 2 votes)

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

Resigned Lithuanian Interior Minister Saulius Skvernelis

Lins Jegelevičs (Linas Jegelevicius)

Seemingly scratch-proof Lithuanian Interior minister Saulius Skvernelis, who has been for months Lithuania’s most popular politician enjoying 60 percent favourability, has taken a steep plunge – into uncertainty after announcing of his resignation from the post.

Order and Justice Party leader disposed of popular minister

Having been delegated to it by the Order and Justice Party, he has drawn the party leader Rolandas Paksas’ grudge with the announcement that he is joining the electoral list of the Peasant and Greens Union (LVZS), which has lately seen an enviable rise in the polls.

Although Lithuania’s Social Democratic Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevičius told in the wake of the Skvernelis announcement that he saw no obstacles for Skvernelis to continue the stint in his government, Paksas has managed to persuade the PM to change his position on it. As a result, Butkevičius asked the popular minister to step down and the latter handed his letter of resignation to the prime minister on Friday afternoon, with Order and Justice scrambling to find for him replacement.

Prior to the stepping down, Skvernelis, already a top-seed holder on the LVZS electoral list, was scolded on the parliament floor for failing to timely propose legislation that is necessary to extend the current Code of Administrative Offences.

Staving off the accusations coming from all the aisles, the minister, who was visibly distraught having found himself on defence, explained the lag was due to shortage of funding. But many parliamentarians resisted believing the explanation, although some MPs noted that Skvernelis’s «biggest fault» was his betrayal of the Social Democrats and joining LVZS.

Skvernelis will run for Seimas with Peasants and Greens

Several Social Democratic leaders had confirmed earlier that the party was in talks with the rising star, Skvernelis, over his joining the party. The minister’s decision to join the LVZS election list has come as a blow to the Social Democrats, who, rumours amounted, were offering him the second place on the SD electoral list, right after Butkevičius.

«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 LVZS party leader, Karbauskis, a week earlier.

Lithuania will hold a parliamentary election in late October this year.

With many guessing who will possibly replace the popular outgoing minister, Order and Justice Party announced it has «at least two candidates» in mind for the post.

One of possible candidates posted refusal on Facebook

One of the possible candidates, Kęstas Komskis, was quick to refute on Facebook talks that he has been offered the seat: «Take it easy, folks. I really won’t change my higher post to a lower one (which the capacity of Interior minister is). To speak about it seriously, I really do not see any sense to change anything with just a half year in the Seimas term left. That half-year would be a waste of time – neither the new minister nor the new deputy Seimas chairman will be able to do anything useful. Besides, my character is such that I do not like jumping from one seat onto another.»

Meanwhile, Povilas Gylys, the other named candidate, who is known, first of all, as the first Foreign minister of independent, post 1991 Lithuania, did not repudiate the Interior minister post.

«It is up to the leadership of the party. It knows best what candidate suits the post best. I do not want to circulate any further rumours on what can happen and what cannot (happen),» Povilas Gylys, now a MP, told BNN.

The former Foreign minister clinched the MP seat in the 2012-2016 Seimas on the electoral list of «Drąsiaus kelias», a political party founded in the wake of the far-reaching paedophilia saga in the country, but later flip-flopped to the Order and Justice Party.

Other candidate is a fiery critic of President

With the name of Gylys in limelight, some media outlets have gone even further, suggesting that Gylys will be the embattled party’s next leader.

Speaking to BNN, Gylys denied it, saying, «It is way too early to speak about it. Now we have quite another situation, so better let’s wait and see what happens next.»

Several key Order and Justice Party members have been fending off accusations of influence peddling.

Known as a vociferous critic of President Dalia Grybauskaitė, Gylys may see a thumb-down from the head-of-state if proposed by the party to take the post. A new appointee will need to get the President’s approval  for the job.

The candidate, however, remains defiant and insists that Grybauskaitė deserves criticism.

«I can just reiterate what I’ve told many times before: the President is too engaged in the activities of law enforcement. And furthermore: she does clout the decisions when she finds it necessary to do. That is something that should not be in a democratic state,» Gylys underlined.

What about the chances now?

He also cautioned that it might be hard for the party to make right selection (of minister) as Order and Justice has been under fire for quite some time.

«I reckon that some people might shun the capacity because some really powerful forces attack the party in an organized way. Nevertheless, I think there will people who, no matter what, will stand up for the party,» Gylys was quoted as saying by Lithuanian media.

With Skvernelis leaving the ministry, many political analysts’ forecasts for his political future have become far less rosy than they were just a week ago.

«Well, as the minister, amid the abundant guesses what party list he will join before the election, he has been a headline grabber for long. But left without a portfolio and void of mentioning-worth ideas, the newcomer of the Peasant and Greens Union risks of spilling points of popularity,» Lauras Bielinis, associate professor at the Institute of International Relations and Politics at Vilnius University and a renown political analyst, told BNN.

Yet the saga of Saulius Skvernelis as the Interior minister is not over yet, he believes.

«He might stay for quite some time in the post. It might take the Party of Order and Justice Party quite some time to find a suitable candidate to replace him. And importantly, get the President nodding to it,» Bielinis underlined.

Very popular but lacking ideas?

That Gylys, now seemingly the most probable candidate to take over the ministry’s reins, lambasts the President might be a factor in the decision-making, he says.

On the other hand, with roughly eight months for the Government left, the President might close eyes to her former lecturer’s harsh rhetoric and approve the candidacy.

«With Skvernelis on LVZS election list, the party’s ratings will likely edge upwards in short-term, but they might be declining in four or five months from now. Skvernelis will be an ordinary man to many as soon as he leaves the ministry. A lot can happen and much remains to be seen yet,» Bielinis told.

According to the analyst, with the hype tapering off, it can become evident that Skvernelis has not brought any ideas for the party.

«As of now, I haven’t heard of them,» the Vilnius University lecturer noted.

Asked what is the main reason for Skvernelis’ charm, Bielinis replied that the outgoing Interior minister was «very good» at relating himself with different layers of the society and communicating in «a simple, understandable to all» language.

«He was quite swift with some key decisions and that reverberated well with all the people,» the analyst pointed out.

Government should stay until end

With Skvernelis gone, the Government risks of being forced to pass vote of confidence in the Seimas, but Lithuanian analysts mostly believe that the Cabinet will stay in the office until the end.

Rimvydas Valatka, a prominent Lithuanian journalist and commentator, believes that, as a state, Lithuania lacks real leaders.

«Some ministers were appointed just because they had a good command of a foreign language, others, like Skvernelis, was simply picked up on the street. Not surprisingly therefore that most Lithuanian Cabinets did not last their entire tenure,» the analyst noted.

He, however, is convinced that the Government will stay until a new one is sworn in in the autumn.

Vladas Gaidys, a pollster, believes that Skvernelis will be riding high until the Seimas election in October.

«The LVZS party will find means to make him attractive. He might lose something without the office, but he will be the winner at the end: voters, most likely, will embrace him again, just because he has come to the election as quite an independent candidate,» Gaidys pondered.

Ref: 111.111.103.3354


Leave a reply

Will Latvians know who elects their president? Draft on open vote «on the move»

On Tuesday, 17 July, Saeima’s Legal Affairs Commission decided to submit for the first reading amendments to the Constitution of the Republic of Latvia that provide for holding election of the country’s president in the Saeima through an open vote, as reported by the parliament’s press-service.

Schengen information system to help prevent tractor theft cases in Latvia

Latvia’s Cabinet of Ministers has supported amendments to the Operation of the Schengen Information System developed by the Interior Affairs Ministry. The aim of those amendments is providing access to the system to ensure public order and security in member states, the ministry explains.

Ministry declares no more free plastic bags for shoppers

From 1 January 2019 onward supermarkets will no longer provide plastic bags to customers free of charge. This will not apply to very light plastic bags, as confirmed by Latvia’s Environment Protection and Regional Development Ministry.

EY auditor’s work in ABLV Bank’s liquidation will be managed by its Polish office

The work of EY work in ABLV Bank’s liquidation process will be managed by its Polish office, as confirmed by company’s representatives.

Estonia sees no geopolitical change after U.S.-Russian summit in Helsinki

Estonian Foreign Minister Sven Mikser has commented cautiously that the U.S.-Russia summit in Helsinki is unlikely to bring fundamental change in the relations between the West, NATO military alliance and Russia.

airBaltic carried record large number of passengers in June

Latvia’s national airBaltic airline carried 1,876,839 passengers to destinations in Europe, Scandinavia, Russia, CIS countries and the Middle East in the first six months of 2018. This is 20% more when compared to the same period of last year, as BNN was told by the company.

Police to investigate possible MPC fraud at Tukums DH CHP plant

One of the largest CHP plants in Kurzeme – SIA Tukums DH – may have been squandering produced heating energy for a long time, which is a serious breach of mandatory procurement component governing rules, TV3 news reports.

Estonian holidaymakers die in Ukraine, media report

Three Estonian holidaymakers in Ukraine, have been found dead in a hotel in the Black Sea resort town of Odessa last weekend, Estonian media report without identifying the three young men.

Languages «a must-have». An interview with ex-president about political market methods and communist approach

There are two ways a political market is realized during closed presidential elections: one involves approval of candidates in exchange for votes, and the other – for money. If it’s the latter, it is best for no one to know how elections are performed. Harmony, which now stays quiet about open elections, has always been against this proposal, because it does not allow for creating a political market – sale of votes in exchange for influence, which has been done before...

Migration from Baltics, Eastern Europe to UK lowest in years

Migration to the UK from the Baltics and other member states of the European Union has been the lowest it has been for nearly four years in 2017, Britain's official statistics show.

Putin in Helsinki denies U.S. election meddling, Trump doesn't object

At the Russia-U.S. summit Helsinki, a key development has been differences in the attitude by U.S. federal officials to Russian interference in the American election process. Days after Washington charged 12 Russians with hacking the computer systems of U.S. officials, U.S. President Donald Trump has accepted the denial of Russian responsibility expressed by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Stock exchange indexes showing varied trends; oil prices decline

Stock exchange indexes in USA and Europe showed varied trends on Monday, 16 July. Bank profit rise was reported for Q2.

Rezekne Council deputies will not be penalized for releasing newspaper in Russian language

The court has lifted fines previously applied by Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau on nine deputies of Rezekne City Council for releasing a newspaper produced by the council in Russian language in addition to Latvian.

Volume of imported petrol in Latvia down 2% in five months

The volume of motor fuel imported to Latvia in the first five months has declined 2% in comparison with the same period of 2017. The volume of diesel fuel has declined 14.9%.

Corruption watchdog ends case about Bi-2 concert in Riga

Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau ended in May the case regarding possible misuse of administrative resources on pre-election promotion by Riga City Council in the form of a free Bi-2 concert in Lucavsala.

Thailand's rescued boys honour casualty of 17-day rescue operation

In Thailand, a 12 boys trapped in a cave have been rescued in a rescue operation that lasted for 17 days and ended with one casualty, a rescue diver.

Latvian political party Progresīvie to nominate women as candidate list leaders

Latvia political party Progresīvie has revealed its list of candidates for 13th Saeima elections. Five women have been stated as leaders of candidate lists.

Estonia earns 150 000 euros from military evaders annually

Estonian compulsory military service is evaded by about 1 000 young men each year, who have to pay fines that annually exceed the combined total of 150 000 euros.

Chairman: FCMC’s competence should end with termination of licenses if banks are liquidated

In the event of liquidation or insolvency, Finance and Capital Market Commission’s competence should end with revoking affected banks’ license and without the need to appoint an administrator, says FCMC chairman Pēters Putniņš.

Minister: Latvia may terminate MPC system in the next three years

In the next three years or so Latvia could completely terminate the mandatory procurement component system, said Economy Minister Arvils Ašeradens in an interview to Rīta Panorāma programme of LTV.

In pictures: French victory in World Cup celebrated by tens of thousands in Paris

After the football World Cup was won by the French national team on Sunday, an enormous crowd of people gathered in central Paris to celebrate.

Another case of African swine fever infection recorded for domestic pigs in Latvia

African swine fever infection was recorded for domestic pigs in Tērvete on Monday, 16 July. 16 pigs were liquidated because of the infection, as reported by Food and Veterinary Service.

MEP Artis Pabriks becomes political party «Attīstībai/Par!» prime minister candidate

Latvian political party «Attīstībai/Par!» has picked Daniels Pavļuts, Juris Pūce, Ilze Viņķele, Artis Pabriks and Mārtiņš Bondars as its regional candidate list leaders. Artis Pabriks will also be the party’s prime minister candidate.

Russian-U.S. presidents meet in Helsinki

U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin are meeting on Monday in Helsinki.

Heat of up to +30° C expected in Latvia this week

Weather in Latvia will be warm and even hot at times this week, as air temperature reaches up to +30° C. At night, air temperature is not expected to go below +20° C. Many regions will likely experience thunderstorms closer to the middle of the week, Environment, Geology and Meteorology Centre reports.

Newest comments