Results of the confrontation: cabinet collapse could lead to another

Skvernelis and Karbauskis
Skvernelis and Karbauskis

How can you so confidently descended into a final confrontation when afterwards you lose it with such certainty? How can you not feel the impending loss, Lietuvos rytas asked in its editorial

Such questions arise after the secret ballot regarding the Seimas speaker’s fate, which was an indisputable loss for “Farmer” leader R. Karbauskis, who sought to unseat V. Pranckietis at any cost.

It is clear that R. Karbauskis was betrayed by his own – someone from among the “Farmers” or coalition partners. Furthermore, there was a number of traitors – 16.

In other terms, the “Farmer” leader, who promised with his usual bravado on the eve of the vote that this time they definitely have 71 votes against V. Pranckietis, miscalculated once again.

After the vote (on 25 October), R. Karbauskis, clearly confounded, explained that he was cheated in his belief of his companions and partners’ promises. Whatever it may have been, such naivety is surprising nonetheless.

The assumption thus presents itself that the “Farmer” leader simply chose to disregard the clear risk and decided to finally end this absurd, almost half a year-long story that has sullied Seimas – even at the cost of his own prestige.

That said, initially, R. Karbauskis seemingly confirmed musings that he, as someone, who does not forgive even the smallest slight, will seek to uncover the traitors and punish them.

The politician pledged to look his partners in the eye and overall find out whether the majority still is a majority.

Change of the tactics

The very next day, as is usual for him, the “Farmer” leader changed tracks. He claims that he did not intend to begin a hunt for any sort of traitors and was radiating such faith in the existence of a majority in Seimas that you would struggle to even believe he had ever doubted it.

According to R. Karbauskis, the majority will certainly support next year’s budget and no fewer than 80 MPs will vote in favour of it.

But here is another justified question: will the promises of the always calculating R. Karbauskis not fall apart once more?

Of course, we must admit that the budget is an incomparably more important matter than V. Pranckietis’ seat or R. Karbauskis’ prestige. After all, if you sink this, you sign a death sentence for both yourself personally and for the entire ruling coalition.

Furthermore, the shadow of snap Seimas elections looms.

This is namely why not just this, but also other terms’ Seimas would always vote for the budget fairly convincingly despite even the fiercest internal disputes.

However, the current situation is special. After all, as soon as the budget project reached Seimas, within the “Farmer” group arose an unprecedented wave of outrage.

Some politicians accused the cabinet and prime minister of intentionally harming the “Farmers” prior to the Seimas elections through new taxes, cutting exemptions to voter groups that are important to the party and also by not dedicating funds to lure in voters.

Shouts emerged in the group even calling to dissolve the cabinet.

Gaps between Karbauskis and Karbauskis

These were once more testament to the gap between the camps of R. Karbauskis and Prime Minister S. Skvernelis. It was namely this gap that led to a number of “Farmers” likely supporting V. Pranckietis during the secret ballot, with the speaker having the open support of S. Skvernelis.

But what is R. Karbauskis’ position?

On one hand, he agrees with those of his camp, who are not content with the budget project presented by the cabinet. On the other hand, the “Farmer” leader should understand well that the fall of the cabinet would lead to the fall of the budget.

Were this the case, the “Farmers” would be left mired in confusion without a way out and would land in the Seimas elections without their sole capable leader, namely a position that only S. Skvernelis could fill.

What is R. Karbauskis left with? Only to manoeuvre between the groups, drawing into the background and washing his hands of particularly critical situations.

Meanwhile, individual “Farmer” group members have already begun to register various proposals for the budget project, which would demand extra tens of millions that were not planned by the Ministry of Finance. We can only predict that there will be more such proposals yet.

Furthermore, during the budget presentation in Seimas, certain projects were rejected and returned to the cabinet that suggested increasing existing taxes or establishing new ones; without such measures, the budget would not be balanced.

Some Social Democrat Labour coalition partners even threatened to withdraw from the coalition if the children’s money increase they propose is not acceded to.

Karbauskis’ manoeuvres

One must admit that the cabinet did not receive support in Seimas less due to active “Farmer” resistance and more because of their passivity. Meanwhile, R. Karbauskis was manoeuvring again – explaining that the cabinet’s projects do not adhere to both the coalition agreement and his party’s expectations, all the while expressing hope that compromise can be found.

A much stricter response arrived from the cabinet though.

People from S. Skvernelis’ circle began to now openly express discontent that the situation in the ranks of the Seimas “Farmers” is supposedly intentionally left out of hand and that there is even a conscious effort to provoke the prime minister’s resignation.

S. Skvernelis himself also declared that he will resign and will urge to call snap Seimas elections if the parliament will spoil the budget project and will patch is based on its own desires.

Can the two clashing sides take their feet off the accelerator and stop in time?
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