Former Seimas’ speakers on Pranckietis conflict with Karbauskis and what this yields to Skvernelis

MP Ramūnas Karbauskis congratulate the new Seimas Speaker Viktoras Pranckietis
MP Ramūnas Karbauskis congratulate the new Seimas Speaker Viktoras Pranckietis, DELFI / Andrius Ufartas

Former Seimas speakers Loreta Graužinienė and Arūnas Valinskas believe that the current head of parliament Viktoras Pranckietis has become a hostage of Lithuanian Farmer and Greens Union (LVŽS) chairman Ramūnas Karbauskis‘ political game and now any action he makes could lead to his personal loss. They speak about Pranckietis conflict with Karbauskis and both commenters agreed that he should take this to the end, Agnė Černiauskaitė writes for

L. Graužinienė is convinced that such a conflict between the “Farmer” leader and the Seimas speaker is most beneficial to Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis, who could take power in the party from the weakening R. Karbauskis.

G. Kirkilas takes the lead

Following the presidential elections, the ruling “Farmers” took to reforming the ruling coalition and last week, they signed a coalition memorandum with the Lithuanian Social Democratic Labour Party (LSDDP) and the Order and Justice party (TT). The parties also await the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania – Christian Families Union (LLRA-KŠS) to join them as well.

The coalition memorandum outlines that S. Skvernelis would be nominated to the office of prime minister once again, while the Seimas speaker’s office would go to Social Democrat Labour. “Farmer” delegated Seimas Speaker V. Pranckietis has, however, refused to resign.

According to L. Graužinienė, in these negotiations, R. Karbauskis has lost his authority as a leader, which is why the conditions are now dictated by LSDDP leader Gediminas Kirkilas. According to her, R. Karbauskis’ authority began to plummet following scandals with Greta Kildišienė, however, he managed to recover back then. The situation is different now.

“Leadership was cunningly overtaken by G. Kirkilas and today everything mostly depends namely on his, whether he really wants to make a deal. G. Kirkilas has a fairly high position in Seimas. […] This is the last chance for him as party chairman to try and pull his party through the Seimas elections. R. Žemaitaitis understood this as well,” L. Graužinienė spoke, emphasising that the latter is “now playing second fiddle.”

According to the former head of parliament, G. Kirkilas and R. Žemaitaitis have nothing to lose right now, from the Pranckietis conflict with Karbauskis so their demands are very large and they are trying to negotiate for as many positions in parliament and cabinet as possible. She added that for G. Kirkilas, joining the majority may be the last chance to pull his party through the 2020 Seimas elections and even if he fails to take the office of Seimas speaker, he definitely has a plan B and C.

Aces no longer with the “Farmers”

Commenting on Pranckietis conflict with Karbauskis, A. Valinskas stated that he would do the same in the latter’s shoes and would not yield the seat of Seimas speaker easily. He recalled the situation where V. Pranckietis was once R. Karbauskis’ lecturer.

“The lecturer had enough of being demeaned by his student for the nth time in a row. When it was begun to push him around as if a checkers piece, for 2.5 years he manoeuvred in Seimas quite well, but now he has understood and felt that he is no longer a person that can be held like a card anymore. I do not understand, why this card was at all entered into the negotiations deck,” A. Valinskas was surprised.

He added that while the “Farmers” still have more cards in their hands, the aces are no longer theirs.

“You have to assemble 71 votes in favour [of V. Pranckietis being dismissed]. The vote will not be on whether the Seimas holds confidence in the Seimas speaker, but whether the ruling coalition really holds the largest Seimas group. It will be a vote for either V. Pranckietis or for R. Karbauskis. He likely has 7-12 people in the group, who will not support the dismissal during a secret ballot. R. Karbauskis knows this,” the former head of parliament said.

L. Graužinienė mused about how V. Pranckietis’ firm stance is beneficial to everyone except the “Farmers” and himself because in the long term, it will not increase his ratings and the people will quickly cease pitying him. The situation is apparently also beneficial to G. Kirkilas, where he can either become the speaker or simply withdraw.

Conflict benefits S. Skvernelis the most

That said, according to L. Graužinienė, in the end, this conflict is most beneficial to S. Skvernelis, who, watching the situation from the side, can exploit the weakening of R. Karbauskis’ authority.

“This situation benefits S. Skvernelis because all that is happening just makes R. Karbauskis weaker as a leader and when he weakens, a new leader will be needed. There are two sufficiently notable people in the party: the current Seimas speaker and the prime minister. What is a different matter is that he has not answered whether he will uphold his word [regarding resigning]?

His answer could change the situation in various ways and the processes happening in Seimas could just lead to nothing,” L. Graužinienė explained, emphasising that all the main positions could remain unchanged even after the coalition was formed and reshuffling may happen perhaps only for a few ministers.

According to her, it is currently very difficult to contain the situation and the “Farmers” have sentenced themselves in the next Seimas elections, in which their positions will have significantly weakened. L. Graužinienė expressed pity toward V. Pranckietis, who according to her, landed in a trap.

“I really do pity the Seimas speaker in this situation because we all understand that it is not that easy a position to hold. The tension always unbalances even mundane tasks. I also pity him because he does not understand, he is a very honest man, he says what he thinks, but he does not yet think in political steps ahead of time and in this situation, he has become a hostage of these processes.

He is in a situation where he can neither turn back, neither remain nor resign. He is left responsible and guilty of everything. If he resigns, he treads on his principles and will feel very bad. Every person has their ego, the limit of how far they can be taken,” she said.
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