After a more than four-hour-long meeting with the Lithuanian Social Democratic Party’s branch in Druskininkai, Julius Sabatauskas, the chairman of the party’s transparency group and the party chairman’s deputy, confirmed that the party had lost its Druskininkai branch.
“The branch collapsed. People left the party, a lot of them. To be honest, I’m not sure what’s left, because we still have to count them. There hasn’t even been a temporary head appointed for the branch. All of our friends in the municipality with the highest posts and all of our members of the municipal council left the Social Democratic party today,” said Sabatauskas.
Sabautauskas claimed that the move could not have been made without the influence of Ričardas Malinauskas, the embattled mayor of Druskininkai who had left the party several days ago.
“He is influential there, very influential, and that shows in the electoral results,” said Sabatauskas.
“The conversation was very open. Nobody minced their words. There were no requests and no threats. Many laid out their griefs and their complaints. Complaints for the party’s leadership. They also stated their full support for mayor Ričardas Malinauskas,“ said Sabatauskas.
Sabatauskas said that Seimas member Kristina Miškinienė was one of the few of those in Druskininkai to remain in the party. Those that left the party included mayor Malinauskas, his deputy Linas Urmanavičius, the party branch’s acting leader and mayoral deputy Aivaras Kadziauskas, Druskininkai municipal administrative director Vilma Jurgelevičienė, and her deputy Violeta Grigorienė.
Malinauskas was linked to allegedly illegal construction in central Druskininkai and suspected of pressuring the environment minister to push through a government resolution lifting zoning requirements in recreational areas.
The Social Democratic Party considered suspending his membership in the party earlier this year, but Malinauskas survived the vote at the time.