Lithuania’s coalition stable, consistent – Seimas Speaker after ruling bloc’s meeting

Saulius Skvernelis, Viktoras Pranckietis
DELFI / Karolina Pansevič

“Members of the Seimas will work responsibly to ensure stability. We discussed improvement of the tax system, the budget, harmonized positions, and the positions are in line with the government’s program, therefore, there are no major disputes. We agreed to work in a stable and consistent manner together with the Social Democrats and other Seimas members ready to work responsibly,” the parliamentary speaker emphasized.

Andrius Palionis, elder of the Social Democratic Council, noted that the party’s council would decide on the coalition agreement, while the Social Democrats work in the framework of the existing coalition agreement and will seek to have their proposals in the 2018 budget, namely, higher children’s money, unchanged rate of tax-free income for people raising children, etc.

Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis delegated by the ruling Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Union said he had heard from the Social Democrats they wanted to stay in the ruling bloc. “I also heard that the main tasks for the fall session, when it comes to the improvement of the tax system and adoption of the state budget, if we’re speaking the same language, the Social Democratic MPs will support the government’s proposals in any case, as opposing would make no sense,” said the PM.

The Social Democrats, the smaller partner in the ruling coalition, started talking about their future in the bloc after LFGU signed a deal with the opposition conservatives on reforms of the forestry sector.

LFGU say they expect an answer from the Social Democrats by Sept. 10, while the Social Democrats’ leadership decided the position would be provided after Sept. 20 after hearing opinions of the party’s branches. The Social Democratic Party’s leader Gintautas Paluckas said LFGU breached the coalition agreement by signing deals with the opposition conservatives on their support to the forestry sector reform in exchange for support to a lower VAT tariff on heating. The Social Democrats opposed the reform.

LFGU political gorup has 56 members in Lithuania’s 141-seat parliament, while the Social Democrats have 19 mandates. The Social Democrats have delegated ministers of economy, foreign affairs and justice. Economy Minister Mindaugas Sinkevičius and Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius have recently said the Social Democrats should not leave the ruling bloc.

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