Evaluation of Farmer’s situation: it will split, some of them will go to Skvernelis

Skvernelis and Karbauskis
Skvernelis and Karbauskis

The ruling Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Union no longer have its Speaker of the Parliament nor their Prime Minister, says Saulius Spurga. The situation of the Farmers and Greens is becoming more complicated: the party is likely to break up, according to an associate professor at the Mykolas Romeris University. Furthermore, some of its members may join a party possibly created by Saulius Skvernelis himself. lrytas.lt reported.

“The prime minister is openly critical of the ruling party and does not even hide the fact that he will be their opponent in the upcoming parliamentary elections in 2020. The situation of the Farmers is bizarre:  they do not have a prime minister who they can trust, nor a Speaker of the Seimas with whom they always argue. Making matters worse by signing the new Cabinet treaty, the Farmers have also given up ministers,” the political scientist told lrytas.lt.

The Farmers’ leader Ramūnas Karbauskis has conflicted with the Speaker of the Seimas Viktoras Pranckietis for some time already. Mr Pranckietis does not implement the agreement signed in the coalition agreement and does not give up his seat to the Lithuanian Social Democratic Labour Party.

Losing a position of power

Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis was very vocal in criticising the party leader and the entire Farmers party even the party delegated him.  The Prime minister not only supports Pranckietis but also insists that he will not become a member of the Farmers party until it renews itself.

Skvernelis also emphasises the lack of democracy in the Farmers party. He even not too sure if it is worth it to participate in the next Seimas’ elections on the Farmers’ ticket.

According to Spurga, this is a new situation. The ruling coalition is losing its position of power. They can control neither their own delegated Speaker of the Seimas nor the Prime minister.  The Prime minister who went to the elections under the banner of the Farmers.

According to him, Skvernelis’ criticism of the ruling Farmers in public is evident more often.   Furthermore, the conditions that he has raised for joining the party indicate that he is unlikely to go to the next Seimas elections with the Farmers.

“Especially so because he’s a very close ally, Vytautas Bakas. He left the Farmers political group in the Seimas, and S. Skvernelis supported this move which adds to the ruling party’s breakup,” the political scientist said.

Spurga believes that there are many signs that the Prime minister may go to the elections with opponents in the opposition.  He is very likely planning to take part in the new Seimas elections with a new political movement that he could create himself.

He will create his political movement

Bakas himself, Pranckietis, and some of those who do not belong to the Farmers party could join the movement, Spurga said.

“Most likely it will be a new political movement, likely belonging to S. Skvernelis himself. I’m not saying whether it’s a party or a political movement, but obviously, he’s already in the process of building his team. Skvernelis himself mentioned that the ruling Farmers political group in the Seimas is made up of members of the party and non-members. Hence, he gave a hint that those non-members could quickly become part of that new political force. Pranckietis could join. If the Farmers party splits, which is almost inevitable, then he will have no choice but to join Skvernelis’ part,” said S. Spurga.

True, according to the political scientist, the breakup of the Farmers, and the withdrawal of Skvernelis would be a considerable loss to them, since Skvernelis plaid a crucial role in their elections success. According to Spurga, a situation in which R. Karbauskis would give up the party chairmanship and leave his seat to someone else is doubtful. The party itself would have little benefit from this move.

“The problem of whether the Farmers are satisfied with Karbauskis or not, he is an indispensable leader. So for no prominent leaders who would be trusted by the public and who could lead the Farmers with new energy, have emerged. Both financially, morally, and in terms of the party’s brand, it certainly depends on R. Karbauskis

‘With this leader, the party will continue going under: slowly and boringly, “said the associate professor Spurga.

Who will become more successful?

According to Spurga, if S. Skvernelis will distance himself from the Farmers and takes away some of the non-party members with him, success will be with the current Prime minister. We should also remember that Lithuanians are more likely to choose a new political force and new saviours with it.

“I have noticed for some time already that even though the Farmers’ political ratings are still high, they are on the decline.  Besides, the recent election results were not as good as expected, or the Farmers themselves had expected.

Voters wish for something new, and the Farmers will have been in power for four years.  Skvernelis will quickly be able to show successful Government deeds. On the other hand, the Seimas has many controversies, many unpopular and incomprehensible decisions that affect various sections of society. In that sense, it will be much easier for S. Skvernelis to run the election campaign, “the political scientist explained.

Skirmantas Malinauskas, S. Skvernelis’ adviser, mentioned on Lietuvos rytas TV on July 23 that R. Karbauskis would not have much influence in the creation of the Cabinet of Ministers. “Mr Karbauskis is the chairman of the Lithuanian Farmers and Green Union. This political force is the largest political group in the Seimas, and there are quite a few non-partisan people in the group, who delegate the prime minister as well.

Of course, the Karbauskis influence during the negotiations and the formation of the Government is essential, but it is not very significant. Here one should also remember the Constitution.

No future with the current party

In any case, the crucial moment is to approve the Prime Minister’s candidacy first, and then the biggest question is about the programme. Everything else is a matter of agreement between the president and the prime minister,” he said.

Malinauskas also confirmed the Skvernelis’ statement that he does not see his future with the current Farmers party. “The prime minister has explained it in the past here, on Lietuvos Rytas television, and the interview has caused a lot of fuss. The question is obvious, whether he is planning to join the party – he does not intend to join a political force like the one in the current status. (…)

The Farmers party is not new to the Seimas elections. However, let me remind you that until the 2016 elections the Farmers had exactly one member in the Seimas.  That is Mrs Rima Baškienė, who was the leader of the Mixed Group of the Seimas back then.

The rise was from 1 MP to 56 MPs, and you have to understand what happened during that time and what factors led to it. I think that this fact probably remains a party issue and should not be commented on.  However this fact remains a fact, “said Malinauskas about Skvernelis’ influence on the results of the 2016 Seimas election.

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