New (old) ruling coalition: trade without rules in the political market

Ramūnas Karbauskis
Ramūnas Karbauskis DELFI / Domantas Pipas

The parties that are forming a ruling coalition announced on June 20 they had concluded negotiations on supposedly the most important factors – programme points.

That said, this conclusion is somewhat odd. That is because at the same time, the negotiators for the “Farmers”, Social Democrat Labour, Order and Justice, as well as V. Tomaszewski’s Electoral Action of Poles stated they had not yet come to agreement on the most important factor, as far as public relations are concerned – the size of the so-called children’s money. This matter will be handed to the parties’ leadership, Vytautas Bruveris wrote in

The same V. Tomaszewski, who by the way is most insistent on supposedly too low planned children’s money, explained he does not yet know, what the party’s board will decide on joining the ruling coalition.

This sort of posturing looks like none other than raising one’s price before your negotiation partners. At the same time, it is also a signal to voters – with the Seimas elections nearing, they are told that “just in case”, V. Tomashevski and his party have nothing to do with it.

The negotiators have also not come to an agreement on fundamental matters – the distribution of offices and furthermore, PM S. Skvernelis, who returned from a holiday in Spain, repeated that he has yet to decide if he will remain in office.

Hold on then, how does all this work then?! When you declare that everything has been agreed upon, but the possibility remains that the PM will take everything and toss it out of the window, alongside his seat.

Of course, you could rush to seek some sort of backup option for the office of the prime minister, but this would be, to understate, unseemly.

On Skvernelis plans on the ruling coalition

Hearing such talks, all sorts of thoughts emerge: perhaps “Farmer” leader R. Karbauskis would like to be rid of a political rival or perhaps S. Skvernelis himself realises that there will no longer be any normal work?

Nevertheless, both in public and the backstage, there are claims that S. Skvernelis will remain in his chair because failing to unseat R. Karbauskis from party leadership and resigning, he would be on the fastest road to political oblivion.

In other terms, Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis’ declarations can be viewed as the unwillingness of a proud bride to agree too quickly. That is without dignity and perhaps even hoping to receive public calls to remain in the post, while also pressuring coalition partners to reduce their appetites.

It is still unclear, how things will proceed with Seimas Speaker V. Pranckietis, who is firmly hanging on to his seat.

No less and perhaps even more drama with grotesque elements – in the sharing of the remaining government pie slices.

Take how R. Karbauskis declared that no one would negotiate with parties, which do not have a Seimas group.

And what about Uspaskich and the ruling coalition ?

This was his response to Labour Party leader V. Uspaskich, who has two envoys in Seimas (V. Bukauskas and A. Mazuronis), expressing wishes to participate in the feast of forming a new ruling coalition.

A. Mazuronis also poured gas on the fire, declaring that the still undecided S. Skvernelis had personally spoken with V. Uspaskich regarding support.

Then, V. Uspaskich, in response to the multiple Naisiai checkers’ championship winner, made his own move – withdrew V. Bukauskas from the Order and Justice group, thus leaving it without the necessary seven members, in other terms – breaking it.

Of course, this does not dismantle the party coalition, however, the Naisiai grandmaster performed a combination, just in case – prepared to move a “Farmer” group member to Order and Justice. The piece is named V. Ąžuolas. Why? Well, what letter comes among the first in the Lithuanian alphabet?

MEP Viktor Uspaskikh
Viktor Uspaskikh DELFI (R. Achmedov)

Nothing surprising that in such stormy weather, even the ship of experienced negotiator, Social Democrat Labour leader G. Kirkilas started shaking.

With him accusing V. Uspaskich of seeing to dismantle not only the Order and Justice group, A. Mazuronis declared that he himself participated in secret discussions on creating a new Seimas group and those discussions were apparently led by none other than four Social Democrat Labour representatives.

Everyone is invited to join in

Talks really do exist that A. Butkevičius, P. Čimbaras, A. Skardžius, and A. Vinkus have been inviting seemingly everyone in all corners to their group. It is understood that if it came together, the potential Seimas majority would definitely fall apart and this mixed-breed group would become golden.

While these plans would appear to have simmered out, just them being considered is a show of what even the closest political companions are in the no rules market.

We will soon witness, what sort of mess will emerge in this market and this week, we almost found out, who would be thrown out of it like a fly from the soup. That would be President D. Grybauskaitė‘s protégé and right-wing opposition favourite, Minister of Transport R. Masiulis.

Having formed an image of a diligent fighter against left-wing nomenclature, R. Masiulis declared a few days ago that “the old beavers”, take this to be the Social Democrat Labour, would come for his head and seat.

‘Beavers’ might be kept away

However, G. Kirkilas retorted that the minister has been living with those “beavers” in the second cabinet now. According to the leader of Social Democrat Labour, R. Masiulis, who is known for self-praise, has not overturned mountains, thus it would be best if he would willingly relinquish his seat or else it would be stripped.

The majority’s interests are clear – this would be an excision of an arrogant foreign body from the cabinet and afterward, perhaps the important state companies worked on by the minister would be reclaimed. Ones such as Klaipėda seaport and Lietuvos Geležinkeliai.

After all, usually the splitting up of such companies is seen in secret protocols, which are not included among public coalition agreements with promises to increase children’s money.

The importance of these matters is eloquently described by events happening under the roof of “Farmer” led Ministry of Environment. The head of state forestry M. Pulkauninkas suddenly declared his resignation after the cabinet, despite his opposition, decided to sell lumber 20% cheaper. This will benefit the large lumber processers and harm the state.

Nevertheless, on Friday Minister of Environment K. Mažeika convinced M. Pulkauninkas to remain and rethink. Most likely up to the point when all dots are put on i’s and all t’s are crossed in the secret protocols.
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