ELECTIONS 2016 Economics: Šilėnas: a spar between ratings heavyweights

Žilvinas Šilėnas
DELFI / Šarūnas Mažeika

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.

The President of the Lithuanian Free Market Institute Žilvinas Šilėnas found all parties to have performed similarly, giving 4 points to each. He praised the parties that voted to overrule the President’s veto on the new labour code for sticking to their guns and standing for the decision. The parties were found to have some similarities, with all of them believing it is necessary to simplify tax payment and reduce administrative burdens, the way this is to be done is where the details and differences start to appear.

“The Liberals are clearly for lowering all taxes. The Labour Party is also pro lower taxes, but focus on VAT exemptions. The Homeland Union focuses on simplified and more transparent procedures, but don’t appear too interested in lowering taxes. The Peasant Greens Union is in favour of VAT exemptions, against progressive taxation and for a plan of unifying taxes into one, just lacking time to explain it. The Social Democrats are in favour of stability and perhaps small changes to the tax-free income size. The perception of stability is, however, reduced by some sort of workgroup’s “soon” appearing analysis and the taxation of some sort of luxury property,” says Šilėnas.

Overall the Free Market Institute’s President found that all the suggestions were aimed in the right direction. “Everything will depend on ambition and coalition. The maximum programme is a tax cut and increased system transparency. The minimum programme is a raise of tax-free income size,” he told LRT.lt.

Šilėnas was pleasantly surprised by S. Skvernelis‘ performance, found the arguments between G. Landsbergis and A. Butkevičius unpleasant, while E. Gentvilas and K. Daukšys seemed to have lacked energy.

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