Lithuania in “medium-sized” political crisis but coalition likely to remain

The Special Investigation Service
DELFI / Karolina Pansevič

Numerous high-ranking officials and ministers from several parties in the ruling coalition have been implicated, to various degrees, in a number of corruption and other criminal investigations. Recently published phone transcripts of conversations between Minister of the Environment Kęstutis Trečiokas and Druskininkai mayor Ričardas Malinauskas have led even president Dalia Grybauskaitė to doubt whether the minister is fit to serve in his post, and Rolandas Paksas, the former impeached president and current leader of the Order and Justice party, is being investigated regarding allegations that he may have accepted a bribe of €15,000.

According to Ramūnas Vilpišauskas, the director of the Institute of International Relations and Political Science (TSPMI) at Vilnius University, Grybauskaitė has recently been more prone to making compromises than before. According to him, this could be due to the president’s agreements with the ruling coalition and with the fact that she, as the country’s leader, wants to avoid a collapse of the ruling coalition until the Seimas elections come around.

“I don’t think that this whole situation might lead to a serious inter-institutional crisis or the government’s resignation,” said the expert. “The president is probably looking to avoid the political crisis that would occur if the coalition were to fall apart and the Government were to crumble. In that case, most of the responsibility would fall on her, and the initiative to form a new coalition would fall on her shoulders. That would not be an easy job, considering the current situation and the approaching elections.”

“The coalition will survive, because it would be hard for the Social Democrats to become a minority in the Government before the elections… In the meantime, the Order and Justice party and Labour party will also want to stay in the coalition, because staying in the ruling coalition gives these parties publicity,” said Mindaugas Jurkynas, a professor at Vytautas Magnus University.

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