Paluckas admits having received requests from “Farmers”

Gintautas Paluckas
Gintautas Paluckas, DELFI / Šarūnas Mažeika

Social Democrat Party leader Gintautas Paluckas admitted to the news portal that he received a number of requests from various “Farmers” to join the Social Democrats prior to the coming Seimas elections. Agnė Širinskienė of the “Farmers” is convinced that if her Seimas group fellows have decided to depart the coalition’s ranks, they should do so at their earliest convenience.

Based on a January survey by Vilmorus, the Lithuanian Farmer and Greens Union (LVŽS) has a rating of 11.3% and stands second in the party rankings. The Lithuanian Social Democratic Party can boast of 8.9% support and third place.

Unwilling to participate in behind the scenes games

“Have there been such cases where there’s been suggestions, talks and musings? Yes, that’s true. There’s been not one, not two and not even five, truth be told,” G. Paluckas told how Seimas “Farmer” group members asked to join the Social Democrats’ ranks.

However, the politician was unwilling to guess whether such wishes from certain “Farmers” are serious. According to him, the Social Democrats have not taken to any more serious negotiations with the current members of the coalition.

“We are a large and strong party, have our candidates and need no legionnaires from other parties,” the Social Democrats’ leader said.

According to G. Paluckas, the LSDP is walking down a path of renewal, thus according to the politician, the Social Democrats do not participate in such “behind the scenes political games.” he stated that it is natural that in conversations about “Farmers” potentially joining, the breakaways raised their own conditions as well.

“People who want to move from group to group or who want to run in the elections have their wishes and conditions. There are very few cases where anyone wants to walk into uncertainty unless they can’t bear their current circumstances. We do not participate in these games and offer nothing forward trading in neither posts, nor single-mandate districts, nor positions on the electoral roll,” G. Paluckas stated.

However, the politician admitted that in the coming Seimas elections, there would also be non-partisan figures participating alongside the Social Democrats.

“For these elections, we chose not a closed party electoral roll, but one that is broad and includes representatives of the left-wing among the public,” the Social Democrats chairman said.

The Social Democrats’ final electoral roll should be unveiled on May 1.

Should decide as soon as possible

One of the most active “Farmer” Seimas group members A. Širinskienė told the news portal that she has not heard of her colleagues negotiating with the Social Democrats or other parties.

The politician notes that the only case she is aware of is Egidijus Vareikis joining the Christian Union being assembled by Rimantas Dagys, however according to her, the group member did not conceal his intentions of joining this political power.

“I can only repeat what our group perfect has said – if people have other plans, then it would be good if they would make their minds up as soon as possible because we too can then calmly plan for the elections and they would have clarity as well. I believe that such a move would be fair,” A. Širinskienė spoke.

The member of Seimas said she realises that for some colleagues, it isn’t party values that matter most, but “cosier positions” in the electoral roll. However, according to A. Širinskienė, such departees can be found in every Seimas term.

“There’s betrayal everywhere in politics, and if this happens, they would not be the first. It’s always better for a team when people who do not share its values and pretend so long as it’s convenient, leave the team. I imagine that such people if there are any, will not number many,” A. Širinskienė was convinced.

Talks about how the “Farmer” group will break apart or disperse have been around ever since the LVŽS’ Victory in the 2016 Seimas elections, A. Širinskienė noted.

“Those talks continue, but there’s been no break-up, and the group has continued to work. The people, who desired posts, such as the Seimas speaker or others, who were unhappy and grumbling that others don’t organise anything for them, filtered away. It’s natural,” she said.

According to her, such narratives about the “Farmers” breaking up are continually being spread by the opposition.

“It’s their job, to raise chaos and the perception that everything is unstable and could fall apart. When the same things have been being said ever since 2016, it just draws a smile sometimes now,” A. Širinskienė laughed.

Since the start of term, the “Farmer” group saw the departures of Dovilė Šakalienė, Vytautas Bakas, Povilas Urbšys, Mindaugas Puidokas, Justas Džiugelis, Bronislovas Matelis, Raimundas Martinėlis, Egidijus Vareikis and Virgilijus Poderys.

Only more critical voters will mind

Vytautas Magnus University professor, political scientist Lauras Bielinis told the news portal that before the elections, there’s usually always a sort of chaotic reshuffling in the parties’ ranks and those, who are not firmly tied to their party, take to a more active search and discovery of their place in the electoral campaign.

“Those, who leave, do not see a place for themselves in their current party and thus they depart, hoping to find something more successful,” the political scientist spoke.

According to L. Bielinis, critically thinking voters see only negatives in such actions by politicians and refuse to vote for such candidates.

“Indifferent voters, who go to vote, but do not give thought to candidates or party principles, do not notice these things. They are more interested in emotional narratives and appealing looks,” the VDU professor mused.

According to L. Bielinis, the breakaways, who do not have more notable leadership abilities, become units to fill out the electoral rolls of parties that shelter them. However, there are such cases, where the invited politician can also bring significant baggage of voters. According to L. Bielinis, one of the most notable examples of this is Saulius Skvernelis joining the LVŽS prior to the 2016 Seimas elections.

The Seimas elections are due to be held on October 11.

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