Three Farmer coalition scenarios – how would it proceed?

Algirdas Butkevičius, Saulius Skvernelis, Ramūnas Karbauskis
DELFI / Andrius Ufartas

The fracturing Social Democrat – Farmer Greens coalition has clashed over forestry reform. The Farmer group has already vocally started reconsidering the coalition, which raises the question – what plan do the election victors have hidden away? Remaining with the Social Democrats, creating a new coalition with the Conservatives or going forward alone, asks?

With the beginning of forestry reform deliberations, the “Farmers” gathered in a group meeting between sessions, raising the question of the future of their coalition with the Social Democrats. What would the “Farmers” be best off doing in this situation?

Coalition with the Conservatives – major changes

VDU Department of Social Science dean Algis Krupavičius explains what procedures the “Farmers” would need to undertake in order to break the coalition agreement with the Social Democrats.
“Firstly they would need to publically break the coalition agreement. And they would need very clear arguments why they are doing so. The mechanism here is very simple. More complex matters would proceed because minister resignations would begin. Most likely a new cabinet would not be formed. If we look at the size of Seimas groups, however, the Social Democrats are significantly smaller than the Homeland Union.

If the Conservatives enter into a coalition and demand a proportionate amount of cabinet posts, it would require fundamental changes to the cabinet. In such a case a new cabinet may need to be formed. But most likely they would attempt to fill Social Democrat places in all possible ways, while a few “Farmer” delegated ministers may have to be sacrificed for the principle of proportionality,” A. Krupavičius explains the situation.

The question of Seimas Speaker may also be raised, according to Krupavičius, who explains that the Homeland Union may wish to delegate more of its representatives into Seimas management.

Minority government – a dangerous road

The “Farmers” have another approach to use – remain alone and form a minority government. The political scientist explains that this plan is not reliable and would cause problems making decisions in the future because the “Farmers” still need 15 mandates beyond their own group to achieve a majority. With three and a half years to the next elections, the Skvernelis cabinet would almost surely have to resign at some point because it would be unable to take action.

A case in point is the year 2000, with the second Rolandas Paksas cabinet and the so-called “New Political Bloc”. The cabinet lasted less than a year until they resigned and a majority coalition was formed instead. “I believe that in this case a minority government is unstable. And the “Farmers” would be unable to enact their policy, leaving voters’ expectations unfulfilled. It is a particularly dangerous road,” Krupavičius explains.

Maintaining a coalition with the Social Democrats

The expert points out that while the disputes within the coalition are clear, they are not so deep as to immediately demand the dissolution of the coalition, particularly because both the cabinet and the “Farmers” would be thrust into significant political crisis. Krupavičius points out that for now the problems are not yet irreconcilable. Nevertheless he says that with the “Farmers” obtaining power for the first time, they likely react more emotionally and have more proposals.

The political scientist also downplays the internal disputes among the “Farmers”, stating that the time for them to fracture has not yet arrived. He stresses that the current uproar is, in the end, just a temporary disturbance and with no major confrontation between the two coalition partners, no dramatic changes should be expected.

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