Challenge from Skvernelis to Karbauskis: he can use his main trump card

Saulius Skvernelis, Ramūnas Karbauskis
DELFI / Andrius Ufartas

Minister Saulius Skvernelis is the most popular politician, the latest opinion poll confirmed this. At the same time, the situation regarding ratings is much worse for Social Democrats.

As commissioned by DELFI to public opinion and market research company ‘‘Spinter research‘‘, a conducted survey shows that when asked about which politician or public figure is most suitable to be Prime Minister, the name of S. Skvernelis is mentioned by 40.6 per cent in March.

Mažvydas Jastramskis, a professor at Vilnius University‘s Institute of International Relations and Politics, said that high ratings for S. Skvernelis is one of the factors that mean his popularity. Formally he does not belong to a party, but has to refer to Farmers and Greens Union at the Parliament and because of this, the public increases his authority in the party, which is dominated by Ramūnas Karbauskis.

„One of the main sources of his authority in the diverse political group is his popularity. If it fell, it would be more difficult for him to to be involved in open conflicts with important members“ said M. Jastramskis.

Recently S. Skvernelis has been involved in a battle: he was dissatisfied with the decision regarding higher education which was initiated by Eugenijus Jovaiša, who is in charge of Education and science committee. This is because the committee ignored the Governments request to wait regarding the merge of universities. It means an indirect conflict with the people of R. Karbauskis and an attempt to answer the question: who makes the policies.

According to M. Jastramskis, ratings have more impact for a politician when the structure of a party is unclear and the party is weak. „All in all, the situation is strange: the leader of the Government is not a leader or even a member of the party“ – stated the political scientist.

A question arises: can a non-party Prime Minister request of something from the Farmers and Greens party in the Parliament?

Vincentas Vobolevičius, professor at ISM University of Management and Economics, said that stable and high ratings provide a negotiating power for a politician: it is especially useful for S. Skvernelis, who is not a party leader, head or even a deputy.

At that the higher the ratings, the more space for action can he fight for with R. Karbauskis.
„The main question is, where the members of the party gravitate towards: they if they stay loyal to R. Karbauskis, the ratings won‘t help for S. Skvernelis and he will not gain power. But if they think that the lead of the party is S. Skvernelis and not R. Karbauskis, then his power if very real“ – said the political scientist.

Who would people vote for it the elections were imminent?

According to a survey, if the elections took place on the upcoming Sunday, 22,4 per cent would vote for R. Karbauskis Farmers and Greens Union. A month earlier the number was slightly lower – 21,9 per cent.

Their largest competitor is Homeland union – Lithuanian Christian Democrats led by Gabrielius Landsbergis. They would be picked by 11,2 per cent of voters. In March, however, they had 12,9 per cent of fans.

The partners of Farmer political group Social Democrats are not very popular at the time. In March, 7,8 per cent voters were favoured by them, while a month ago the number was at 7,7 per cent.
At the time there are led by their old leader A. Butkevičius, but for the first time they are conducting direct elections for a leader of the party at the start of April. The main participants are: vice-mayor of Vilnius Gintautas Paluckas, Minister of Economy Mindaugas Sinkevičius, Parliament members Andrius Palionis and Atrūras Skardžius and a former Member of Parliament Mantas Varaška.

Liberal Union, led by Remigijus Šimašius, mayor of Vilnius, maintains the popularity of 7 per cent. A month ago their popularity reached 6,4 per cent.

The rest of the parties do not reach the popularity of 5 per cent, which is the line of elections; Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania – Families of Christians would get 3,6 per cent of votes, Party Order and Justice – 3,3 per cent, Lithuanian Greens party – 3,3 per cent.

Another 6,3 per cent respondents mentioned other parties, 18,9 per cent said that are not going to vote and 16,8 per cent did not give an answer.

Ratings of S. Skvernelis surpass 40 per cent

Prime Minister S. Skvernelis is the most popular politician. His popularity is higher than A. Butkevičius in 2013, even though the leader of Social Democrats also had high ratings, but their popularity does not have dramatic differences.

Ignas Zokas, the director of “Spinter research” said that statistically there is a huge difference in ratings and highest approval when asked which politician is the most suitable for a post of prime Minister.

The best competition for S. Skvernelis would be G. Landsbergis, but the gap is massive. When asked who is more suitable for the post of Prime Minister, S. Skvernelis is mentioned by 40,6 per cent, G. Landsbergis – 8,3 per cent.

Further potentioal candidates are: Social Democrat A. Butkevičius (4,3 per cent.), Economist Gitanas Nausėda (3,9 per cent.), leader of Farmers and Greens R. Karbauskis (3,4 proc.), head of Liberal political group Eugenijus Gentvilas (2,8 per cent.), Social Democrat Europarliament member Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (2,7 per cent.), Conservative Andrius Kubilius (2,3 per cent.), head of the Liberal Union, vice-mayor of Vilnius Remigijus Šimašius (2,2 per cent.), former Minister of Finance Ingrida Šimonytė ( 2 per cent.).

The popularity of S. Skvernelis can be seen by „Vilmorous“ data. The Prime Minister is positivelly seen by 72,5 per cent in March, negativelly by 9,4 per cent.

At the same time R. karbauskis is seen positivelly by 38,8 per cent in March, negativelly by 34,6 per cent.

The Goverment is seen in a positive light

According to a survey, S. Skvernelis Government‘s activity is seen rather positivelly.
Positivelly his cabinet wrk is seen by 7,8 per cent, more positivelly than negativelly by 32,9 per cent.
Negativelly the Govenments work is seen by 14,4 per cent, more negativelly than positivelly – 35 per cent, while 9,9 per cent refused to answer the question.

Market research and public opinion company „Spinter research“ on March 16-23 of 2017, commisiooned by DELFI, did a public survey. The respondents were 18-75 years old. The survey was conducted by a standartized interview.

The survey was conducted in the teritory of Lithuania, selected 65 points, which were spread to represent the whole territory. At the time, 1004 respondents were interviewed. The survey is proportionate to the number of citizens in the regions of Lithuania.
A possile deviation is 31 per cent.

About Egle Samoskaite 31 Articles
Rašau vidaus ir užsienio politikos temomis. Domiuosi darbo santykių reforma Lietuvoje, procesais politinių partijų viduje. Užsienio politikos srityje rašau apie santykius su Rusija ir JAV, taip pat Vidurio Rytus, ypač daug dėmesio skiriu politiniams procesams Turkijoje. Labai domiuosi musulmonų bendruomenių gyvenimu Europoje. Vilniaus universitete esu baigusi Tarptautinių santykių ir politikos mokslų institutą, žurnalistinę karjerą pradėjau naujienų agentūroje BNS.
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