“We have decided on participation in the presidential elections – we will join the race with our candidate. The search for candidates is starting today, branches will propose their nominees,” the party’s leader Gintautas Paluckas told the national radio LRT. Paluckas himself cannot be nominated because of his young age – candidates must be 40 on the day of elections.
The party’s offices will propose candidates by Nov. 1, so that they can be approved by the party’s conference in November.
Lithuania’s former economy minister Mindaugas Sinkevicius, a member of the Social Democrats who vied with Paluckas for the party’s leadership, doubts whether the Social Democrats have a suitable candidate for president.
“Knowing the position of (MEP Vilija) Blinkeviciute, it is very clear that (European Commissioner Vytenis Povilas) Andriukaitis is the only possible candidate. We can also choose from Juozas Olekas, Algirdas Sysas, Rasa Budbergytė. Although all four colleagues are good politicians, however, they still lack something. Therefore, I think it would make a lot more sense to focus our limited financial resources on the local elections. It is not vital to run everywhere and be extras,” the politician wrote on his Facebook feed.
In Paluckas words, mayoral candidates will be decided by May and candidates for municipal elections will be established by November.
He said he would not run for the elections to the European Parliament. “I will not be part of the rating, the list will be headed by a different person,” said Paluckas.
In his words, Blinkevičiūtė will again seek a MEP mandate. She has been working in the European Parliament since 2009.
Last fall, the Lithuanian Social Democratic Party left the ruling coalition with the Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Union, a decision opposed by some of the party’s MPs. Ten of them terminated membership in the party and set up a Lithuanian Social Democratic Labor group in the parliament.