Was the love between Ramūnas Karbauskis and Saulius Skvernelis, which brought the “Farmers” success in the 2016 elections, blind or faked? In either case, the couple’s loud divorce is accompanied by a myriad of long-suppressed grudges, Tadas Ignatavičius writes in lrytas.lt
Tuesday saw the occurrence of something that has been predicted ever since the political marriage between R. Karbauskis and S. Skvernelis, who was placed into the prime minister seat by the “Farmers”, came about. The latter officially declared that he was withdrawing from the “Farmer” Seimas group.
Another nine politicians are leaving the group alongside S. Skvernelis. Furthermore, the new Democrat Group “In the Name of Lithuania” will also have three members of the mixed Seimas members’ group joining.
The sort of tensions prevailing within the “Farmer” group was revealed by Rima Baškienė, who felt no longer needed in the party. She openly spoke about how with the Seimas term winding down, R. Karbauskis promised to push her off the cliff if an opportunity presented itself. [Figuratively speaking]
Povilas Urbšys, who was one of the first last term to leave the “Farmer” Seimas group, is convinced that R. Karbauskis wouldn’t have hesitated.
“R. Karbauskis has the unique ability to clash with everyone. Even R. Baškienė, whose dedication to the leaders sometimes appeared incomprehensible, became a traitor.
R. Baškienė was held as being unreliable for some time now because, as Seimas vice speaker, she could also talk to the Conservatives, which supposedly threatened the “Farmers.” R. Karbauskis saw traitors and enemies everywhere.
He is now conjuring up legends of traitors, but he did everything himself to ensure that the divorce would happen. The tales are necessary for those remaining in the group, with some perhaps not seeing the situation quite the same as Agnė Širinskienė and Dainius Gaižauskas do. The former group need continued deception,” P. Urbšys told Lietuvos Rytas.
Could more people leave the party and its group after this schism?
There might not be any serious threat, but concerns that poor moods might carry over into the party’s branches – probably. This is because islets still remain in the party that aren’t necessarily entirely obedient to R. Karbauskis. However, I think that he is not threatened by anything in the party. It’s just that he will continue descending into a closed-off sect-like format and those thinking otherwise will be persecuted.
R. Karbauskis himself claims that the changes will prove beneficial – the group is distilled and will apparently be able to more effectively defend the values espoused by the party.
But he refuses to answer the question as to why the “Farmers” only had one member of parliament prior to the 2016 elections – R. Baškienė. Is it not a problem for the leader that up to S. Skvernelis’ arrival, the party was of no interest to voters?
Of course, the “Farmers” have already launched into political orbit and this rocket, even if you decouple the engine that got it there, will remain orbiting for some time. But this party will essentially become entirely Eastern with an oligarchic seasoning.
There have been murmurs for some time of concealed disagreements between the “Farmer” leader and the former prime minister. Why is S. Skvernelis withdrawing only now?
When S. Skvernelis was the prime minister, R. Karbauskis could not disregard his status. Furthermore, he had no choice.
Thus, it was initially a union born out of love. Only later did it turn into a union out of necessity.
It appears that the hope was that after last year’s Seimas elections, this union could persist. There were hopes that they might be able to remain in power. At least efforts were exerted to that end. Do recall how much money was spent on campaigning last year.
But after losing, a break happened – the curtains fell and clear differences surfaced between S. Skvernelis and R. Karbauskis, various suppressed grudges emerged.
Just think of the meaning of the formation of the shadow cabinet where S. Skvernelis was surrounded by solely R. Karbauskis’ people – it was essentially humiliation.
Such humiliation had happened before as well. Take how the “Farmer” leader decided unilaterally, without consulting S. Skvernelis, who to delegate to the opposition group council. Why did S. Skvernelis tolerate the humiliation so long?
After the presidential elections, he was fired up to assemble a separate group or even a new political entity. Remember that the prime minister’s rhetoric toward R. Karbauskis turned harder.
But then began S. Skvernelis’ illness and the “Farmer” leader seemingly exploited the then prime minister’s weakness at the time. In any case, S. Skvernelis’ illness played a key role in regard to their relations warming again.
Of course, the step could have been made previously, but even now, there is no answer to the question, which probably kept S. Skvernelis back all this time – what next?
What do you think S. Skvernelis will do – start creating a new party, link up with an existing one or will he be content with a Seimas group?
It appears that the aim might be a new movement, but the topic is currently seemingly avoided.
It’s unclear what niche he might try to occupy. I think that homework wasn’t completed over summer and so, they are trying to play tricks.
So far, they were only able to prepare for the group being introduced.
Nevertheless, the new group does have a significant liberal tinge.
R. Karbauskis will also push them in that direction. It could be that already during the first votes in Seimas, certain divisions might emerge between the new group’s members.
That group might have some five proponents of traditional values and it will not be as easy to come to terms as might be declared. R. Karbauskis will definitely not miss the opportunity to highlight these differences – he is keen on showcasing that the “Farmers” are the only consistent defenders of traditional values. The new party will probably aim more for centre-left voters.
Perhaps this is why the “Farmer” divorce has opened new opportunities for the ruling bloc to manoeuvre. Do you see any?
The schism of an opposition group benefits the ruling bloc in any case. However, I doubt that the new group will want to find itself in the coalition’s shadow. Of course, we will see more flexibility on S. Skvernelis’ part than the ruling bloc could have expected from him before.