Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Union (LVŽS) deputy chairman, Minister of Economy Virginijus Sinkevičius confirmed to lrt.lt that part of the LVŽS Vilnius city branch has offered him to run for Vilnius mayor in next year’s municipal elections. V. Sinkevičius has not yet revealed whether he would like to participate in the elections, however he assures that the office of minister of finance would not preclude him from being a candidate, lrt.lt writes.
Virginijus Sinkevičius
© DELFI / Kiril Čachovskij

According to lrt.lt sources, both most of the Vilnius city branch and LVŽS leaders in parliament are trying to convince V. Sinkevičius to run as the party's candidate for mayor in the capital. The sources say that attention has especially focused on Sinkevičius because MEP Antanas Guoga and Seimas Committee on National Security and Defence (NSGK) chair Vytautas Bakas refused to run for mayor with the "Farmers".

V. Sinkevičius has confirmed he is one of the four candidates for Vilnius mayor being discussed by the Vilnius branch.

"I believe that the branch will gather and decide. They will see, what the potential candidates are. We will uphold the procedures discussed in the branch. I value the support of my colleagues in the Seimas group, vice Speaker Rima Baškienė and the branch. Without a doubt, I value the support and am thankful for the kind words and trust," V. Sinkevičius stated when asked if he would run for Vilnius mayor as the "Farmers'" candidate, also noting that his office of finance minister would not preclude him from becoming a mayoral candidate.

R. Karbauskis: he would be the strongest

LVŽS vice chair Rima Baškienė has told lrt.lt that her favourite in discussions on the "Farmers'" candidate for Vilnius mayor is V. Sinkevičius, while LVŽS member Tomas Tomilinas, who was the first to express interest in running in the mayoral elections still "needs to grow."

"Farmer" leader Ramūnas Karbauskis, when asked by lrt.lt whether he believes V. Sinkevičius would be a suitable LVŽS candidate for Vilnius mayor responded by emphasising that Sinkevičius has been both elected by the Vilnius branch as its chairman and been appointed cabinet minister in consideration of his skills and ability, making him the strongest of the current mayoral candidates.

Nevertheless, the "Farmer" leader conceded that V. Sinkevičius would face a tough battle due to him being less famous than incumbent Remigijus Šimašius, who is going to run for re-election, as well as former city mayor Artūras Zuokas, who is seen as a potential candidate. The finance minister's age and association to the "Farmers" could also pose difficulties, the "Farmer" leader admitted.

R. Karbauskis also did not dramatize needing to find a replacement for V. Sinkevičius as finance minister if he became mayor, stating that there are numerous individuals, who could be asked to take the office instead.

Both A. Guoga and V. Bakas do not step forward

On October 18, LVŽS Vilnius city branch chairman V. Sinkevičius announced that the branch is considering four candidates for capital mayor. He revealed that included among the four is NSGK chairman V. Bakas' name, albeit the NSGK chairman has earlier stated he refuses to candidate. The same decision has been made by MEP A. Guoga. Also, "Farmer" Seimas group member T. Tomilinas has presented his candidacy to the Vilnius "Farmer" branch.

V. Sinkevičius said that the branch will make and declare its decision on the "Farmers'" candidate to Vilnius mayor on December 28. He himself intends to declare his intent before this date.

Lrt.lt reminds that so far next year's Vilnius mayoral elections will feature incumbent city Mayor Remigijus Šimašius, Homeland Union – Lithuanian Christian Democrats member Dainius Kreivys, Social Democratic Party chairman Gintautas Paluckas, Labour Party chairman Viktor Uspaskich and Lithuanian Green Party chairman Remigijus Lapinskas. Former MP Artūras Paulauskas' civic movement Pirmyn, Lietuva (Forward, Lithuania) has nominated former mayor, businessman Vilius Navickas.

Former mayor Artūras Zuokas, who is seen as a potential candidate, has not officially declared his candidacy so far.

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