After counting ballots, it has been revealed that voters have not changed their habits: in the second direct mayoral election in Lithuania, residents of certain cities only further allowed a single individual’s domination to entrench itself. According to political scientists, this shows that the people like personalities, some mayors were elected despite knowledge of their problems with law enforcement.
“Long-time leaders in individual cities and regions could even have it easier because they become this sort of clearly identifiable owner. You elect me, I am responsible for a respective result and people choose the same person out of inertia. We see this in the case of Druskininkai, most likely Kaunas could also become a similar story,” political scientist Tomas Janeliūnas told LRT Television.
Experts say that the major political parties’ concerns over direct mayoral elections came true: local leaders turn away from them and strengthen their own positions for the elections by creating committees.
Political scientist Vytautas Dumbliauskas proposes to start considering a limit to the number of terms a mayor can hold office.
“This would end phenomena as, say, the eternal mayor of Druskininkai. Perhaps then the whole environment and political powers would be revitalised, new leaders would emerge. On the other hand, those mayors could not use administrative resources that are as if a source of power. When one rules for many years, they develop a group of loyal individuals, panderers. In such a case, you decide workplaces, family welfare and all else. Some bring their whole families to work in municipalities. As such, I believe it would be a sort of shock,” he believes.