The leaders of political parties participated in a sort of lottery – drawing the numbers their parties will be listed by on the electoral ballots. Famous fugitive Neringa Venckienė entered the limelight with this, drawing number one for her party, Eglė Šepetytė wrote in TV3.lt.
That said, the Central Electoral Commission (VRK) has dampened N. Venckienė’s overwhelmingly positive mood. It could be that having lost her Seimas mandate through impeachment, the former judge will be removed from the electoral lists. How the how other politicians fared in the lottery – we will tell you soon.
The Seimas political group leaders for the coalition parties all gathered for a coalition council. While awaiting their colleagues, the “Farmer” list leaders had time to discuss the plans of their rivals the Conservatives or at least rumours about them.
The meeting was called by Social Democrat Labour leader G. Kirkilas, calling to evaluate the infamous declarations of Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania members Z. Jedinski and W. Tomaszewski, which most perceived as defending the A. Lukashenko regime’s violence in Belarus. G. Kirkilas apparently even expressed doubt whether the coalition can continue cooperating with W. Tomaszewski’s party for the remaining month and a half.
It appears that W. Tomaszewski knows what he’s saying. As one could have expected, after the meeting, Kirkilas no longer had any doubts on either the Electoral Action of Poles or the coalition’s future.
“It wasn’t even planning to fall, the coalition is operating firmly. There were numerous misunderstood statements, we reached an understanding. The most important matter is a unified foreign policy,” G. Kirkilas says.
“The interpretations that the Electoral Action of Poles has a different opinion in regard to Lithuania’s foreign policy toward Belarus are incorrect,” “Farmer” leader Ramūnas Karbauskis says.
W. Tomaszewski continues to refuse to answer whether he believes that A. Lukashenko is the legitimate leader of Belarus: “I won’t repeat myself, everything was stated in the resolution.”
The politician explains that on Facebook, Z. Jedinski was writing not about Belarus, but about their eternal opponents, the Conservatives:
“These are speculations because the statement was aimed at our domestic policy, remembering the bad deeds of the Kubilius cabinet. […] Our opinion has been stated more than once, we have denounced the violence in Belarus.”
Political experts have no doubt that by calling such meetings, Social Democrat Labour seek to appear principled and draw voters’ attention.
“How many will vote based on what parties or the coalition says about foreign policy questions is a major question. The voters of these parties are more concerned with social matters, welfare levels and healthcare,” sociologist Rasa Ališauskienė states.
The ruling coalition’s council meeting was followed by an even greater commotion. A whole group of current or potential politicians gathered for a sort of lottery. Soon, they drew for their parties numbers, which indicate their ordering on the voting ballot.
This year, there are 17 electoral lists in the Seimas 2020 elections: it will be a competition between 3 main rating leaders, one more than four years ago. Due to the threat of the coronavirus, the event was held in a large space, but nevertheless, it was packed full. For some, protective measures present a challenge.
Among those gathered you could also see N. Venckienė. Having been a fugitive in the United States for more than six years, the former judge looked to remain out of sight behind others’ backs. Nevertheless, when it was her term, she was able to draw the most desirable number – number one on the ballot.
“Not everything is all bad in life. As planned, I drew number one,” Path of Courage leader N. Venckienė said.
That said, this does not necessarily mean that N. Venckienė will definitely appear on the electoral list.
“An impeached member of Seimas cannot participate in the Seimas 2020 elections. The VRK will evaluate the whole situation,” VRK chairwoman Laura Matjošaitytė says.
The Central Electoral Commission has to make a ruling on this by September 11.
Then comes time for “Farmer” leader R. Karbauskis to draw their lucky number.
He says that the devil’s dozen  is not unfamiliar for him: “For me, it is the luckiest [number] because for my whole life, I wore the number 13 on the basketball court.”
“Back in 2016, we were at the top of the ballot, but finished poorly. This year, we, more modestly, decided to start from the bottom,” Social Democrat chairman G. Paluckas explains.
The Conservatives landed the number five.
“I like the number five, it has a playfulness to it, it’s an open palm and a sign of openness, at least to me personally,” Conservatives chairman Gabrielius Landsbergis states.
Number two on the ballot page went to the “three musketeers” or otherwise the trio who finished off “Order and Justice” to create a new party. That said, they have no illusions of being second in the elections. And even up to then, they aren’t intent on acting all that knightly.
“We will massively pester people, trying to get into people’s hearts through air vents, chimneys and all other possible places,” Freedom and Justice party chairman Remigijus Žemaitaitis spoke.
How many votes do the party leaders expect?
“A constitutional majority. I kid. I do not know, but I expect for it to be a good result,” G. Landsbergis says.
“The most. We hope for the most,” G. Paluckas answers.
“I would really like for there to be more, but the people will decide,” R. Karbauskis states.
“A hundred thousand votes, we hope for at least a hundred thousand votes from among the Lithuanian people,” Freedom Party chairwoman Aušrinė Armonaitė responds.
“You know, I don’t know,” N. Venckienė says.
So far, the ratings show that first-second places are shared within the margin for error by the “Farmers” and Conservatives. In third and behind by a significant margin – the Social Democrats. However, the final and fiercest struggle for voters’ sympathies awaits in namely September.
“This will be the struggle of the three main ratings leaders. But it is unclear how the Liberal Movement and Labour Party will fare. Many things could turn upside down,” political scientist Rima Urbonaitė says.
Sociologist Rasa Ališauskienė observes that COVID-19 could become a sort of x-factor in the Seimas 2020 elections. Research shows that older individuals are particularly afraid of it and they comprise the largest segment of voters.
“These are the voters of the “Farmers”, the Social Democrats and, to a smaller extent, the Homeland Union. If they do not turn up out of fear for their health, the game could turn in a very different direction,” sociologist Rasa Ališauskienė explains.
The first round of the Seimas 2020 elections is due on October 11.