On the evening of September 13 a political debate featuring the top five largest Lithuanian parties was broadcast on LRT Television. The topic of the debate – economics. The debating parties were the Lithuanian Social Democrat Party (LSDP), Homeland Union-Lithuanian Christian Democrats (TS-LKD), Lithuanian Peasant and Greens Union (LVŽS), the Labour Party (DP) and the Liberal Movement (LS). LRT.lt interviewed a number of political, economics, business, law and public relations experts and asked them to rate party performance from 1 to 5.
“Emotion, verbal sparring, trying on new roles and the leaders’ reaction to the fly were the most interesting accents,” stated the public relations agency Nova Media Communication Specialist Arijus Katauskas, noting that he felt more inclined to snack on popcorn rather than assign plusses or minuses for ideas and suggestions.
The expert focused on body language and bearing in his examination. While he noted that G. Landsbergis, speaking for the Conservatives, seemed to have been seeking the title of most talkative and loudest participant, he looks to have been working to gather the votes of those against the current coalition government with his aggressive and energetic bearing, something of a déjà vu moment from 2008. Nevertheless he may have missed some opportunities to imprint some of the most important and clear messages to several audiences thus earning 4 points. The Liberals also earned 4 points with E. Gentvilas staying himself and trying no new roles in the debate, focusing on the fatherly, liberal and calm image. That said his strengths only truly came into play in the second half when the politician could be sure his colleagues’ scandalous loans and investigations would no longer surface in the discussions.
The Social Democrats’ Butkevičius seemed to have been prepared for a sprint rather than a marathon, starting off strong, but making more and more mistakes and lacking energy toward the end. The PM successfully displayed the LSDP’s achievements of the past 4 years, albeit not bringing out anything surprising. Notably the PM was the only one to bring out visual aids to contribute to his statement. With this the Social Democrats earned 4- points.
Both the “Peasants” and the Labour Party earned 3 points each, with Katauskas citing unimpressive performances from both. K. Daukšys was seen as struggling to match his predecessor V. Uspaskich’s charisma, with the Labour Party seeming to perhaps be fishing for coalition opportunities rather than an actual victory. Meanwhile the “Peasant’s” S. Skvernelis was found to be a non-presence, despite being an intriguing contender leading up to the debate. “He may not have lost the debate, but he certainly did not win it. You could call it an average debut in the professional league,” said A. Katauskas.