After the elections: party triarchy without power

Gintautas Paluckas, Eugenijus Gentvilas, Ramūnas Karbauskis, Gabrielius Landsbergis
DELFI / Karolina Pansevič

Meanwhile, the rest of the list becomes more difficult.

Among parties, the TS-LKD gathered the most votes. However, it lost hopelessly in all five major cities and the largest city where a Conservative candidate will enter the second round (and not even as a leading candidate) is Mažeikiai. Meanwhile, in the 2015 municipal elections, the Conservatives earned a little over 15% of votes. Now they received a little more than 16%. The result is +1% votes. After four years in the opposition, where during the previous elections the party was still led by A. Kubilius and when almost all other parties were being battered, broke up, were taken to court and so on, when the Conservatives could take over those electorates… So much use of that renewal.

The Social Democrats took a little more than 13%. When some were already burying this party, it could seem to be an excellent results. However, in 2015 they received over 20% of the vote, a loss of seven percent. The party chairman and electoral roll in Vilnius were not even elected into the municipality. A number of citadels such as Mažeikiai were lost. In other terms, you cannot call such a result excellent, as it is early to call Mr. Paluckas the future prime minister, who currently cannot even enter Vilnius municipality. At the same time, a massively important role in the municipal elections went to the party’s strong branches and numerosity of party members and the Social Democrats were the party with the strongest branches and most members, while in the national elections, it is somewhat other factors that come into play such as strong leaders recognised on the national level and the party’s image overall. Thus, it appears that the Social Democrats will survive the current situation, but it is unclear if it will be a strong party.

The “Farmers“: it is a fact that they did not win these elections, as someone wanted. It is also a fact that voters did not send the “Farmers” into a knockdown, as some wanted. Really, when you consider that the “Farmers” are a very small party with only a little over three thousand members, 6 times fewer than the TS-LKD and Social Democrats, which is strongly reflected in namely the municipal elections, I would say the result is passable. On the other hand, if we compare to the 2015 municipal elections where the “Farmers” received 7% of the vote, the result now is +4% in votes and the “Farmers” are really becoming the only party, which managed to significantly increase its electorate since the last municipal elections. Conclusion – the “Farmers” will perhaps no longer be a dominant political power, however it now has its electorate, is rallying it and it appears it has come to national politics to stay.

Up next in the list: Liberal Movement in 2015 – 15% of the vote, now – a little less than 6%, Labour Party in 2015 – 9%, now – only a little over 5%, LLRA in 2015 – 8%, now – just a hairs breadth over 5% (alarming for the Seimas elections), Order and Justice in 2015 – 6%, now – not even 3% (looks like we can buy a funeral wreath).

Hence, it seems like we have a party triarchy where none of the leading parties has any stronger voter confidence, but currently will likely enter the next Seimas and we have four parties trying to stay afloat. And we have a vast number of voters, who do not trust parties at all. Thus, we can expect an interesting next Seimas elections.

Dominykas Vanhara is a lawyer. This comment was originally published on March 4, 2019 on his personal Facebook profile.

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