On 1 February the Lithuanian National Martynas Mažvydas Library featured the first debate of the Homeland Union – Lithuanian Christian Democrat (TS-LKD) chairman election campaign, following the decision to hold the election earlier.
Linking the second round loss with the “Peasants”
After the Seimas elections where the Conservatives took 31 mandates, some Conservatives reproached G. Landsbergis for failing to win the elections. Later on with the TS-LKD failing to come to terms with the winner of the elections, the “Peasants”, on forming a coalition, criticism toward the party leader intensified.
G. Landsbergis admitted he made a mistake in trusting the “Peasants” and their leader Ramūnas Karbauskis. He stressed that it is difficult to shake the hand of someone who is hard to trust.
The incumbent chairman links the results of the second round with his excessive support for partnership and alliance with the “Peasants” expressed during the campaign.
“We are associated with the Social Democrats, who are linked to corruption and this was the “Peasant” white card,” said G. Landsbergis.
Nevertheless M. Majauskas was unconvinced by the chairman’s words. “We will have to work with them for four years. We have to take up clear measures in order for work to be done. Not necessarily entering a coalition, but we have to accomplish tasks, surpassing partisan boundaries,” M. Majauskas stated.
P. Saudargas concurred with the sentiment, stating that there was need to talk about the “Peasants” prior to the elections and now it is far too late.
Discussing candidates to the post of president
M. Majauskas named Ingrida Šimonytė as the party’s most likely candidate for the post of president.
“After all I think that we as a community should organise open debate. Party Chairman G. Landsbergis has spoken of this earlier. The more openness, the more discussion, the stronger the candidate will be,” M. Majauskas said.
G. Landsbergis noted that the past Seimas elections were the prelude to the upcoming presidential elections. He also pointed out that the future party chairman could also become a pretender in the presidential elections. Landsbergis, however, was unwilling to reveal his favourite.
Meanwhile P. Saudargas denied the potential for his candidacy due to unsuitable age.
“Now is the time when we can proudly present our candidate and, likely, win the presidential elections. This is a historical challenge for our party. Who it will be, I believe the party community will decide democratically,” P. Saudargas said.
“I believe in the post-election period we saw people who entered power for who knows what reason, who knows what their goals are and who knows what they want,” G. Landsbergis answered when asked if he should have joined the coalition.
According to him the party will support forest directory reform, university merges, stating that “Wise actions will be supported. We will not support the man who views himself as the czar of the Seimas, Ramūnas Karbauskis.”
Meanwhile M. Majauskas stated during the debate that this chairman election would not have occurred if minister posts were handed to the TS-LKD.
“If we had entered a coalition with the “Peasants”, we would have restrained them, we would have made them act differently. For these mistakes we’ve made it is not just our community that is suffering, but all of Lithuania. If these candidates were, for example G. Landsbergis was Minister of Foreign Affairs, Paulius Saudargas – Minister of the Environment and Žygimantas Pavilionis – Minister of National Defence, there would be far fewer disputes,” the politician said.
P. Saudargas was unable to clearly identify whether it was necessary to join the coalition or not. According to him it is now too late to discuss this decision.
G. Landsbergis took the opportunity to attack fellow candidate Ž. Pavilionis.
“There were meetings which were reported by the media, where one of these candidates [Ž. Pavilionis] was offered positions, which is why there was such strong support to join the coalition. This looks like trading posts to me,” Landsbergis noted.
Ž. Pavilionis was quick to deny the accusations.
Two candidates – Mykolas Majauskas and Žygimantas Pavilionis – have earlier said that the party awaits a serious election because the time has come to decide in what direction the party will turn and what it itself wants. During the TS-LKD Vilnius district branch assembly Paulius Saudargas was raised as a candidate to the post of chairman. He has now received a Seimas mandate for the third time.
At the end of January member of Seimas Agnė Bilotaitė of the TS-LKD chose to not participate in the chairman election and invited party members to support the candidacy of incumbent Chairman Gabrielius Landsbergis.