How will scandal affect Liberals’ voters and potential coalition partners?

DELFI / Domantas Pipas

It is still anybody’s guess how voters will react to the corruption scandal of former Liberal Movement chairman Eligijus Masiulis. Until the scandal broke, polls showed the Social Democratic party, the Liberal Movement and the Peasant and Greens Union as Lithuania’s most popular parties.

These polls were done by Spinter Tyrimai on 19-25 April before the “black thursday” on which Masiulis was accused of accepting a bribe of more than €100,000 from the MG Baltic business group. According to the poll, 14.7% of those polled would like the 2016 Seimas elections to form a coalition similar to the one currently in power, which includes the Social Democrats, the Labour party and the Order and Justice party.

13.6% of those polled wanted a coalition formed by the Social Democrats and the Liberal Movement, while 11.6% wanted a coalition with the Social Democrats and the Peasant and Green Union.

Vilnius University International Relations and Political Science Institute professor Mažvydas Jastramskis said “It seems that, until the liberals’ scandal, three parties (the social democrats, the liberals and the peasants) were most consistently valued by the electorate, while the conservatives are somewhat more disliked by voters, who’ve rarely indicated that they’d like the conservatives to be part of a coalition. It’s hard to say how things will look after the liberals’ scandal, but numerous scandals with the social democrats have failed to change the fact that they are fairly often mentioned as members of potential coalitions.” Jastramskis also pointed out that the liberals’ scandal had implicated its leadership, which could cause the situation to have a greater impact.

“Speaking of the Liberal movement, if the stories we’ve heard are not related to the party itself, if the party won’t be accused, we can then consider the possibility of working with that party. If there will be accusations against the party itself, our reaction will be the same as for the Labour party and the Order and Justic party – that it would be impossible to work together,” said Ramūnas Karbauskis, chairman of the Peasant Greens Union.

Conservative politician Rasa Juknevičienė said “most of the liberals remain as potential partners, but much of that depends on them.”


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