Sees a need to replace ministers, but Šimonytė might fear a chain reaction

I. Šimonytė and G. Landsbergis. Photo R. Danisevičius

The new political season launched with a struggling ministerial cabinet and an opposition weakened by the “Farmer” divorce portal writes.

Social Democrat Seimas group elderly Algirdas Sysas is convinced that the sort of cabinet composition that is currently present cannot continue working. However, he does not rule out that Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonytė fears a chain reaction, which could occur if she were to dismiss even a single minister.

Meanwhile, in terms of the opposition groups’ relations, A. Sysas said that the Social Democrats are not going to enter any opposition entities, though not dismissing a new agreement between radical members of Seimas.

Unsatisfactory work by ministers

During the Saturday Lithuanian Social Democratic Party (LSDP) board meeting, the party’s chairwoman Vilija Blinkevičiūtė showered the cabinet with criticisms – ranging from the pandemic to the management of the migrant crisis.

Seimas Social Democrat group elderly Algirdas Sysas said on the Lietuvos Rytas show Nauja Diena that the opposition is not satisfied with what, according to him, doesn’t satisfy a part of the Lithuanian populace either.

“Both the minister of healthcare and minister of interior affairs make for very various opinions in terms of their work. It is namely these ministers who are most likely to need replacing.

This is because the containment of persons crossing the Lithuanian border illegally was very odd and the minister’s comments – even more so, as well as the struggle with the pandemic.

We are already beginning to near the third or fourth wave, we hear every day about ever greater numbers of fatalities and infections despite there being enough vaccines to go around. Something slipped by,” A. Sysas is convinced.

The Social Democrats MP could not say whether Minister of Healthcare Arūnas Dulkys being replaced could ameliorate Lithuania’s epidemiological circumstances. However, he is convinced that things cannot continue as they have.

“I can’t say what could salvage the situation, but, as many people say, this cannot continue. No one can say – perhaps the new minister would be fantastic and would handle everything, convince everyone, pat them on the head, everyone will come running for vaccinations. If you don’t try – you won’t know.

In this case, you need only look at results. If the cabinet set out to achieve certain results and these measures have failed to yield the results, someone has to answer.

I do not blame any specific minister in this case, but it is not enough to just be a good person to also be a good leader and handle emerging problems,” A. Sysas argued.


Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonytė said on Friday that she views the work done by A. Dulkys and A. Bilotaitė positively, noting she saw no basis to dismiss either minister.

A. Sysas emphasises that the cabinet is formed by three parties and so, arranging for new ministers would lead to numerous problems and headaches, something that anyone in I. Šimonytė’s position would like to avoid.

“Clinging to the last limit as long as possible and then, if need be, you can replace. I think that’s what might happen,” the Social Democrat MP spoke.

A. Sysas does not dismiss the possibility that I. Šimonytė might be wary of a chain reaction where, after dismissing a single minister, others could fall as well.

“Looking at the ministers’ ratings, you won’t find the aforementioned ministers [A. Dulkys and A. Bilotaitė] among the most unpopular – there are even worse received ministers. Of course, the house of cards could collapse,” the Social Democrats group elderly explains.

Nevertheless, the Social Democrat does not see any tragedy in the replacement of ministers. Quite the contrary, A. Sysas is convinced that changes in the cabinet could reduce public tensions.

“I think this would serve to reduce some tensions. Look at the demands made by the protesters, whom they criticise, whom they demand to be replaced. There would simply be no arguments left or even fewer of them.

Recall what S. Skvernelis did when there were many problems with the minister of education – he removed two ministers as a means of prophylaxis. This neither harmed the cabinet nor did the state collapse,” A. Sysas recalled.

“If there is a persistent rise in COVID-19 deaths, in infections, I think that the prime minister will be forced to turn to these solutions,” he added.

Not joining a combined entity

That said, the situation in the coalition is unenviable as well. Last week’s divorce in the “Farmer” group has brought in even more chaos in an already infirm opposition.

A. Sysas believes that the Social Democrats’ board decided to continue the tradition and not join any opposition entities.

“We are not attracted by the post of opposition leader – you can do work even without holding such a position,” he explained.

A. Sysas does not rule out that other opposition powers such as the “Farmer”, Labour and Region groups could come to an agreement on the opposition leader and on working together.

Nevertheless, he does not think that S. Skvernelis’ new group will join the above group – the Social Democrat MP does not believe that R. Karbauskis and S. Skvernelis could talk terms.

“If they could, they wouldn’t have split up – that’s clear. No one wades through a river twice when their initial crossing was tough, leaving their feet cold. They won’t get in again.

However, there are three other groups with especially odd perspectives, odd representation. It could be a conglomerate of radical forces and radical members of Seimas, starting with the overseer leading from outside [refers to R. Karbauskis],” A. Sysas mused.
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