ELECTIONS: The ‘List of Lithuania’ proposals evaluated

Darius Kuolys, one of the leaders of the List of Lithuania
DELFI / Tomas Vinickas

The expert highlights the party’s stances on direct democracy and socio-economic solutions. He notes that despite a number of flaws it is a party of intellectuals who have ideas, some of them noteworthy, albeit political analyst Ramūnas Bogdanas concludes that the party is cut from the same cloth as the Way of Courage Party, albeit in a more positive way.

Meanwhile the Investors’ Forum Tax group head Kęstutis Lisauskas highlights a key proposal of List of Lithuania which is to reduce the signature count needed for referendums from 300,000 to 100,000, while also expanding democratic voting processes. Among such expansions the party proposes the creation of four regional councils, each of which would have individual functions and funding. Unfortunately the party does not specify how, where, by who and why this would be done. Furthermore a 30,000 signature petition would be sufficient to initiate a parliamentary investigation. Lisauskas quips that we are not exactly ancient Athens, Sparta or Novgorod; modern countries are not governed through referendum. The expert notes that such proposals would lead to far higher government expenditure than currently, while the party itself is highly critical of the perceived excessive expenditures.

“Reading the List of Lithuania programme I feel that they have good intentions. They want to mobilise society, make it more civic minded and offers a way forward for it,” notes Bogdanas. He stresses that the party’s economic plans may be poorly thought out, but their general objective of bringing the people closer to government is positive. The expert stresses that such parties can be a source of positivism, with their sheer existence being an expression of civic activity. These entities, he notes, have various ideas in their programmes that could be adopted by larger political powers and refined into something that could have a beneficial impact on the state. He stresses the need to pose questions and raise ideas, albeit admitting that the means to accomplish this sometimes escape small parties.

Another peculiar proposal that caught the attention of experts is the pledge to ensure that wage differences in the public sector do not exceed five times. K. Lisauskas points out that with the minimum wage reaching €380, this would mean that the maximum wage could only be €1900. This would mean that the President would earn as much as a graduate specialist after employment in the private sector after 3-4 years. The expert concludes that this showcases the essential issue with the party’s recommendations, similarly as other parties, it has well sounding ideas that fail to go all the way under scrutiny.

Beyond that R. Bogdanas points to a suggestion of public appointment of judges as another problematic suggestion. The expert stresses that he has participated in the current process of vetting judges and such a change would actually be detrimental to ensuring the process is done smoothly and without interference. Meanwhile Lisauskas criticises the idea of a non-commerce bank which would be used for loaning to the state and municipalities, stating that “Such a decision would reduce interest rates for the state and the municipalities, but what does this mean? You would be lending from one pocket to the other.” Thus in the end the specialist finds such an idea to be a potential waste of funding as well.

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