Mindaugas Sinkevičius, Gintautas Paluckas
© DELFI montažas

A part of the Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Union are waiting for the election ending for their Social Democratic coalition partners. The negotiations regarding a coalition were with the previous leader Algirdas Butkevičius. Some of the farmers believe that the new leader of the Social Democratic party, will complicate life.

It was planned that Gintautas Paluckas would become a Minister of social security and Labour, whose nomination was welcomed by the Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis. However, Social Democrat leader A. Butkevičius and the fraction head Irena Šiaulienė were quicker – instead of the Ministry of Labor, they demanded the Ministry of Economy and delegated Mindaugas Sinkevičius as a Minister.

One of the spokesmen for Farmer fraction when talking to DELFI wondered whether the Social Democrats need new negotiations after the elections for a leader. As four Social Democrats - G. Paluckas, Algirdas Sysas, Julius Sabatauskas and Andrius Palionis expressed a different opinion when signing the coalition agreement.

Two of them - G. Paluckas and Andrius Palionis are running for the position of the leader of Social Democrats.

“At the time G. Paluckas has left to the United States and if he has left, then he is certain of his victory. Also, he was one of four people who were unhappy with the negotiations regarding coalition”, - wondered the spokesman of the Farmers political group.

S. Skvernelis: in order to negotiate, first the coalition has to be terminated

The first direct elections for the post of a Social Democratic leader will take place on the 6th, 7th and 8th of April. The main participants are G. Paluckas, M. Sinkevičius, A. Palionis, Mantas Varaška and Artūras Skardžius.

The most sereos participants are thought to be the vice mayor of Vilnius G. Paluckas and the Minister of Economy M. Sinkevičius.

The deputy Chairman in the parliament of the Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Union fraction Virginijus Sinkevičius says that there were no discussions among Social Democrats regarding the elections.

“The leader would give a better answer, but the contract for the coalition has already been signed. There is a possibility to talk, but this has not been decided. At least, this has not been talked about” – said V. Sinkevičius.

Prime Minister S. Skvernelis also stated that there were no talks regarding renegotiation. “We need to wait for the election results. My position is this: all Ministers work qualitatively and because of that I am not even thing of a possibility to change them. And in order to negotiate, the current agreement would have to be terminated” – the Prime Minister told DELFI.

Winds for change: M. Vainiutė the weakest link?

However, the Social Democrats, at least some of them, do think about changes. “We will have to have a serious conversation regarding coalition” – stated one Social Democrat.

In the knowledge of DELFI, Social Democrats want to discuss Ministers and work principles. For example, social Democrats find it unacceptable of the way the Farmer party are planning reforms: they would like that coalition partners would be included in a discussion and then the Farmers would start talking about future plans.

“If we are making reforms, especially critical ones, then they should only be announced when everything is discussed and put in order’ – explained a Social democrat who wanted to remain anonymous.

According to the respondent, the current situation is that Farmers are conducting reforms by themselves, while not including Social Democrats or asking of their opinion. However, they are surprised later then partners of the coalition are surprised or unhappy.

On the other hand, they are thinking of independent voting. This means that in Parliament Social Democrats can behave like opposition instead of coalition partners.

“We can wait for Ministers. When they start leaving, we will take over the Ministries” – told the respondent.

“Of course they can choose the support of the Conservatives and the minority the Government” – smiles the partners of Farmer coalition.

The respondent also thinks that the Social Democrats may want to keep “Professional-Ministers” on a short leash.

“For example, the discussion regarding taxes is getting ridiculous. No one knows anything or can explain, but the “reforms” are already in progress” – said the Social Democrat.

The question regarding the change in Social Democrat ministers – if they are possible, the party representative mentioned that most questions arise regarding the delegated minister Milda Vainiutė from the Social Democrats, who will probably not make it and leave herself. “She has no clue about politics” – said the respondent.

When asked if it is possible that G. Paluckas will go for the post of Minister for social security and labor, which was promised, the Social Democrat considered that it is unlikely to happen.

G. Paluckas told DELFI himself that even if becomes the head of the party, he has no plans to be a minister in this Government, but did not provide additional comments.

Another social Democrat that was addressed also spoke of an existing “mess” when cooperating with the Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Union. Social democrats want specific boundaries and hope to break the Farmer habit of “running to the Conservatives”. In their opinion, they need to set the topics where they cannot support Farmers Greens and then they can look for support in the opposition. Another point is that the first ones to be consulted have to be the Social Democrats.
“At the time the coalition appears flimsy. The conservatives, who the farmers run to, look flimsy as well” – states the politician.

Also, the Minister of Justice – M.Vainiutė – is also mentioned as a possible victim of change.

M. Sinkevičius: farmers “are going astray”

The minister of Economy M. Sinkevičius says that there are problems inside the coalition but they are more emotional. This is because the Social Democrats are angry that the Farmers Greens do not consult them.

“At this time I feel like an easy road is being taken: coalition partners are not consulted, but they periodically are trying to replace those partners by asking help from the outside. Sometimes I say while partially joking that if we are partners in a coalition that means that we are almost husband and wife. It means that all issues have to be dealt with in the family and not going astray to the neighbors (not to the left, but to the right, to conservatives) and then go back to the family” – told M. Sinkevičius.

“This cannot be happening. Social democrats want to be respected and heard” explains the Minister.

He states that even if he won the election, for negotiations to happen, the council of the party would have to show initiative and only the leader alone.

DELFI reminds that according to the coalition agreement between Farmers and Social Democrats, the later delegated 3 Ministers to the Government: justice – M. Vainiūeė economy - M. Sinkevičius and Foreign policy – Linas linkevičius.

The remaining Ministers were delegated from the farmer and Greens Union. However, the majority of them are not members of the party, as during the elections they played the “professional card” – as the post of Minister should be occupied by an expert of that area.

What coalition is imagined by the candidates of Social Democrats

Candidates to the leadership post of Social democrats themselves have rather different views while considering various coalitions. Those views are laid out in the Social Democrat party page.
M. Sinkevičius highlighted that Social democrats cannot make a coalition with Homeland Union – Lithuanian Christian Democrats.

G. Paluckas stated that in certain circumstances partners in a coalition can be all parties. At this time partners in a coalition cannot be labor party and Party Order and Justice. That is because they operate under confused ideological provisions, had lost voters and the trust of G. Paluckas himself. He also does not see a coalition with the Conservatives and Liberal Movement.

“Today we have two choices - coalition with farmer and Green Union or opposition” stated G. Paluckas.

A.Palionis does not imagine a coalition with the “corner” – parties that are affected from abroad and whose activities are towards destroying Lithuania’s sovereignty. In his opinion, partners of a Social democrat coalition can be only constructive parties that have social democratic values.

According to A. Skardžius, the choice of partnership for Social democrats in the future is limited: populist protest parties that will agree to implement the program of Social democrats. He also finds it difficult to imagine a coalition with Conservatives or Liberals, but he did consider that the Conservatives ideologically are closer to leftist Social Democrat ideological provisions. Even if that is hard to believe, Homeland union – Lithuanian Christian Democrats are considered a party of center-right and only Christian Democrats operate under leftist ideas in economy.
M. Varaška thought that all political forces could be involved in cooperation.

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