“First of all, we stated that the damaged to the party were enormous. We said very clearly that we felt moral responsibility for the actions of our former colleagues. We stick to our stance not to disguise and pretend to be somebody else,” the party’s leader Remigijus Šimašius told BNS after the meeting of the party’s council.
“Whatever happens, our stance is clear. We remain and plan to remain. There are no plans B today. This cannot be used for disguise that we are someone else,” the Liberal Movement’s leader added.
In his words, the Liberals also agreed to hold their next council meeting in a month to possibly decide to hold the Liberal Movement’s congress ahead of schedule. The congress would elect a new leadership of the political force.
“We discussed whether we needed to hold the congress earlier than planned. It is now timed for next June and should elect a new chairman. Everyone – the board, the deputy chairmen and the chairman – need to recheck their mandate. For now, no decision has been made,” said Šimašius, mayor of the capital city.
The Liberal Movement’s vice-chairman MP Vitalijus Gailius, who had proposed moving the party’s congress to an earlier date and electing the party’s leadership again, believes that the current leaders need to check whether they can remain at the helm of the political force.
“This would be election of a new leadership. They would check their credibility in congress. This will be decided after receipt of feedback from all branches. The situation is not a simple one. We need to see whether the current leadership is still trusted and whether it acts correctly,” Gailius told BNS.
Last Friday, prosecutors brought large-scale bribery and influence peddling charges against the Liberal Movement as a legal entity.
Prosecutors do not link another suspect in the case – MP Gintaras Steponavičius who has suspended membership in the party – with benefiting the party.
The Liberal Movement was established in 2006 after the party’s then leadership separated from the Liberal and Center Union of Arturas Zuokas. Masiulis was elected to head the movement two years later.
After Masiulis left the party and the parliament amid the suspicions in May of 2016, Šimašius took helm of the party.
In the 2016-2020 parliament, the Liberal Movement has 14 mandates in the 141-seat parliament. Members of the party also head ten Lithuanian municipalities.