With Skvernelis and Karbauskis’ marriage already breaking at the seams, new intrigues await

Skvernelis and Karbauskis
Skvernelis and Karbauskis DELFI / Tomas Vinickas

Since the Skvernelis and Karbauskis marriage is breaking, no matter how the distribution of ministerial seats will end, we can already guess that both the Seimas majority and its cabinet will be even more fragile than thus far.

Nothing surprising – some long intensifying tensions erupted, others, having simmered out, will threaten to re-emerge. This will be fuelled by next year’s Seimas elections Tadas Ignatavičius writes in lrytas.lt

Saulius Skvernelis is to remain as prime minister and form the cabinet anew. That the decision was not made solely by him, but also by the then still president-elect is something S. Skvernelis said after his July 9 meeting with Gitanas Nausėda.

This declaration is nothing new. It could long be seen that S. Skvernelis would rather remain at one of the highest offices in the country for at least another year and a half than choose political uncertainty.

Nevertheless, why such lengthy secrecy?

On one hand, following the lost presidential elections, has made bold statements alongside “Farmer” leader Ramūnas Karbauskis about resigning from office, perhaps it wasn’t an option to change tracks too soon.

On the other hand, he pressured R. Karbauskis this way not only to obtain more influence but also to obtain at least symbolic revenge.

It was long clear that the calculations based civil marriage between non-partisan S. Skvernelis and “Farmer” leader R. Karbauskis is breaking at the seams and the unsuccessful municipal, European Parliament and particularly presidential elections only pushed it to the brink.

Already after his loss in the first round of presidential elections, both S. Skvernelis himself and through his advisors presented an ultimatum – he will remain in the prime minister’s office and with the “Farmers” only if R. Karbauskis withdraws from leading the party and will hand chairmanship to the prime minister.

Skvernelis and Karbauskis alliance is breaking and it is clear

With R. Karbauskis pretending to not understand what the talks are about and with tensions simmering out a little, S. Skvernelis reminded of it again a few days ago – openly and acutely.

During an interview to the Lietuvos Rytas television, the PM implied that he will remain as prime minister, but expressed doubts on whether he will run for Seimas with the “Farmers” if the party won’t change. At the same time, he did not dismiss the possibility of running for “Farmer” chairmanship.

Furthermore, the PM even presented suspicions that right before the presidential elections R. Karbauskis threatened to withdraw from power if the “Farmer” candidate doesn’t win not out of foolishness, but intentionally seeking to harm his chances.

But the “Farmer” leader’s answer to all this was once again negative – apparently, the party has no need for saving because it trusts its current leader.

This week (July 15), a party council confidence vote is slated over R. Karbauskis and he is likely to survive it.

In other terms, everything will remain as is and R. Karbauskis expects that this time S. Skvernelis will fall silent, intent on calmly leading the cabinet because he has no better choice and there is little time left to the elections.

However, it is also clear that the already cool relations between these two politicians have finally completely collapsed and the suppressed tensions can erupt once again.

Especially when the Seimas “Farmer” group’s ranks do contain S. Skvernelis’ supporters and those, who are bored in general of R. Karbauskis.

The MP Bakas’ factor in Skvernelis and Karbauskis split

The practically most notable representative of this camp, Seimas National Security and Defence Committee chairman V. Bakas withdrew from the ruling Seimas group on Tuesday. To no one’s particular surprise.

Having joined the “Farmers” with S. Skvernelis and the other independents, V. Bakas always rebelled against R. Karbauskis and his loyal political fellow passengers, flirted with the Conservatives, the Presidential Palace and the special services watched over by D. Grybauskaitė.

Take how prior to declaring his departure from “Farmer” ranks, V. Bakas mercilessly evaluated R. Karbauskis’ most faithful squire A. Širinskienė joining the Order and Justice Seimas group to save it – describing it as political prostitution.

The head of the National Security and Defence Committee has stated a number of times (S. Skvernelis also mentioned it on occasion) that the “Farmers” cannot enter a coalition with Order and Justice and perhaps also Social Democrat Labour, who are under law enforcement suspicions and should instead form a minority government supported by the Conservatives.

On July 9, the PM stated he understands and supports V. Bakas.

Pranskietis’ factor in Skvernelis and Karbauskis split

He also once again stood by V. Pranckietis, who R. Karbauskis is seeking to push out of the office of Seimas speaker at all costs.

By the way, V. Pranckietis, who expressed support for S. Skvernelis a number of times as of late, also has the support of a group of “Farmers” in Seimas.

This is how the Seimas speaker has managed to hang on to his office. Because he believes that the secret ballot will not hold enough votes to unseat him.

This triangle at the top of the “Farmer” leadership and the clearly visible gaps in the “Farmer” government pyramid construction beneath it is only one of the sources that could cause potential future disturbances.

Not to speak of the coalition partners, whose appetites, while so far satisfied by ministerial appointments, will certainly not decline with the Seimas elections nearing and “Farmers” continuing to weaken.

We should also not forget the new president, who will have to display his weight and capacities and this can be done easier by exploiting the Seimas majority’s weaknesses.

Thus, we can already assume that the political cycle symbolically ending with the presidential inauguration will immediately move on to something no less interesting.

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