With the “Farmers” negotiating on a new coalition with other parties, the seat of Seimas speaker Viktoras Pranckietis is also on the table. Ramūnas Karbauskis has been urging the current head of parliament to resign, while Pranckietis clings to his post and casts criticism at the “Farmer” leader, Vilmantas Venckūnas wrote in tv3.lt
Experts contacted by the tv3.lt news portal did not have a unanimous opinion on whether V. Pranckietis is a strong politician or a high demand “goods” on the party market.
In a memorandum signed by the Lithuanian Farmer and Greens Union, the Order and Justice party and the Lithuanian Social Democratic Labour Party is stated that the post of Seimas speaker is to go to Social Democrat Labour. Ramūnas Karbauskis has warned the current head of Seimas that if he does not willingly step down, he may be evicted not just from the office, but also from the “Farmer” party.
Could be the end of a career
Vilnius Institute of Political Analysis [VPAI] media programme head Donatas Puslys told the tv3.lt news portal that V. Pranckietis has a political future, however, everything is in his own hands.
“Much depends on whether the man himself wants to continue his political career, or whether he sees prospects elsewhere. We cannot calculate everything through a theoretical mechanism, we must keep in mind his own political will,” D. Puslys spoke.
The director of the Policy Research and Analysis Institute [PTAI] Marius Ulozas stated that he is skeptical regarding the current Seimas speaker’s future.
“I do not see [a future] because he wasn’t a politician before [all this],” M. Ulozas said.
According to him, V. Pranckietis lacks strong support in the regions, thus it is hard for him to expect support in the single-mandate district in Seimas elections or if he were to try his luck in the municipal and mayoral elections.
“It was a short stint on the political arena and that’s the end of his political career,” M. Ulozas is convinced.
Pranckietis – a trophy
M. Ulozas also does not see a party that could shelter V. Pranckietis. According to the director, there is significant internal competition within parties, thus he does not believe that they would compete for the current head of Seimas.
“I do not believe that he has much political value or that anyone is particularly interested in accepting him. Perhaps Naglis Puteikis’ movement, which is becoming a shelter for the no longer desired, but I doubt that as well,” the director of PTAI spoke.
D. Puslys disagrees with such a view, stating that there would be parties that could take V. Pranckietis onboard. According to him, this would benefit the political powers themselves.
“It would be a public relations move, stretching out a helping hand to a man, who resisted. I believe that Pranckietis would be in demand, some parties could want him as a trophy,” D. Puslys spoke.
Popular uniting figure
While the Seimas speaker makes fewer media appearances than Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis or “Farmer” leader R. Karbauskis, V. Pranckietis is viewed more favourably than these two politicians.
Based on the most recent Vilmorus survey, V. Pranckietis is received positively by 30.9% of respondents, only behind Kaunas Mayor Visvaldas Matijošaitis, President Dalia Grybauskaitė, and Minister of Transport and Communications Rokas Masiulis.
M. Ulozas states that V. Pranckietis high ratings are aided by him being a peace-making, not antagonising figure.
“In terms of ratings and evaluations, when a person takes a certain position, they become visible and their evaluations improve. If he loses the office of Seimas speaker, most people will not remember him,” he remarked.
D. Puslys believes that V. Pranckietis always sought to manoeuvre in situations that divide the public and presented himself as a politician, who seeks dialogue and consensus.
“This also appeals to people because there is exhaustion in the public from polarisation and a desire to seek common ground,” the VPAI representative said.
He also mused that people could have been fascinated by V. Pranckietis’ clash with R. Karbauskis and the difference in their opinions that emerged a number of times.
“People like it when a politician is not just a yes-man or some sort of cog in the machine, instead of having his own will, his own views and is unafraid to express it,” D. Puslys stated.
“Farmers” could break apart
According to D. Puslys, in this situation, it is far more important not whether V. Pranckietis has a political future, but how overall the conflict between the Seimas speaker and R. Karbauskis will end.
“If Pranckietis resigns, there will be less internal democracy in the party and less counterbalance to Karbauskis. He is trying to establish a culture of one man, one political truth in the party,” D. Puslys spoke.
M. Ulozas believes that the “Farmers’” unity has been on the breaking point for a while now, thus V. Pranckietis and R. Karbauskis’ conflict could spur on the party breaking into two or even three political powers.
“Perhaps there’s a chance one of them could be led by Pranckietis. But he lacks the traits of a leader or financial resources that could back him in the creation of a competitive political party. I would view his chances skeptically,” M. Ulozas stated.
With the three-party memorandum being signed, the post of Seimas speaker is to be handed to the Lithuanian Social Democratic Labour Party. There are talks that the position could go to the party’s leader Gediminas Kirkilas. With V. Pranckietis refusing to willingly step down, R. Karbauskis has been considering organising a motion of no-confidence in V. Pranckietis.