Lithuania’s interior minister enjoys sudden surge in popularity

Saulius Skvernelis
DELFI / Tomas Vinickas

However, the line-up is only valid if we look at the share of respondents who have a positive view of these politicians.

Vladas Gaidys, the head of Vilmorus, told LRT radio: “If we take in both the positive and the negative ratings, Algirdas Butkevičius would take the first place. The second place would be shared by Skvernelis and Grybauskaitė, who are tied with 57.2%. However, Skvernelis has a lower negative rating – only 11% as opposed to 25% for Dalia Grybauskaitė. Therefore, I would say, Skvernelis would take the second place.”

Gaidys notes that the story of Igoris Molotkovas, the detainee who triggered a massive manhunt operation after grabbing a police rifle and fleeing, has boosted Skvernelis’ ratings from 46 to 57%. He handed in his resignation to the prime minister the following day, but decided to stay a week later. Parliament Speaker Loreta Graužinienė, who was one of the biggest critics of how the minister handled the situation, has lost 4% in the positive rating and gained 11% in negative ratings. Her popularity is at the lowest since she assumed the position of the parliament speaker.

Gaidys says that the Liberal Movement leader Eligijus Masiulis has been in the fourth place for a long time. He is followed by Vilnius Mayor Remigijus Šimašius, with 43%, and Kaunas Mayor Visvaldas Matijošaitis, 42%. Moreover, Šimašius is positively rated by around 60 percent of people in Vilnius, while Matijošaitis has the support of three quarters of Kaunas’s citizens.

Foreign Affairs Minister Linas Linkevičius is in the seventh place and is above the Peasant and Greens Union leader Ramūnas Karbauskis.

Gaidys noted: “When respondents are asked who is doing the best job representing their interest, Dalia Grybauskaitė scores the most positive responses, but when it comes to trustworthiness, Butkevičius takes the lead. If we considered the balance between positive and negative ratings, then Skvernelis would take the first place.”

Regarding political party ratings, the Social Democratic Party is at the top with around a third of the respondents saying they would cast their vote for the current governing party. The Liberal Movement is second with 14% of the vote. The Labour Party has unexpectedly boosted its ratings from 12.5 to 13.2%. The Homeland Union – Lithuanian Christian Democrats is close behind the Labour Party, but the conservatives have lost one percentage point in their ratings. The Order and Justice follows with 10% and the Peasant and Greens Union, with 9%.

The survey has been commissioned by the Lietuvos Rytas daily.

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