The Peasant and Greens Union along with its large batch of non-partisan candidates won the Seimas elections, with a number of the new members of Seimas having already requested to become party members. But this is not enough.
Ramūnas Karbauskis
© DELFI (R. Achmedovo nuotr.)

Peasant Greens leader Ramūnas Karbauskis spoke at party congress in Kaunas on Saturday, highlighting the party‘s main issue – in preparation for the upcoming municipal elections the “Peasants“ have to attract more competent individuals capable of taking the posts of mayor and vice mayor, in case the success of the Seimas elections were to repeat.

On the other hand the party cannot accept just anyone into its ranks, particularly various individuals who abandoned their parties after electoral losses. Thus R. Karbauskis proposed to selectively apply probation periods for individuals seeking to enter the ranks of the Peasant Greens.

“I have to say that we have two years for party construction, strengthening branches, preparing for the next municipal elections,” said R. Karbauskis.

“Some of our branches are of a size that if elections were successful then almost the entire branch would be in the council. That should not be the case, the branches should grow and grow stronger,” stated the party chairman.

R. Karbauskis also proposed Kaunas Mayor Visvaldas Matijošaitis to cooperate in the upcoming municipal elections in Kaunas and form a common list. “We have no need to be rivals in a few years,” explained the chairman.

Karbauskis was also re-elected as party chairman on Saturday. The procedure was so brief that some delegates could have even missed it – voting was open, not secret and not a single vote was cast against Karbauskis.

New members of Seimas already taking tickets

According to R. Karbauskis the party is currently comprised of 4300 members. This is a fairly low number for a key coalition party.

For example the Homeland Union – Lithuanian Christian Democrats have around 14 thousand members in their ranks, while the Social Democrats – around 21 thousand. This could be one of the explanations for why there were so many non-partisan candidates in the Peasant Greens electoral roll to Seimas and ministerial cabinet.

That said a number of formerly independent candidates have requested to join the Peasant Greens on becoming members of Seimas.

During the Saturday party congress in Kaunas, the party was joined by Algimantas Kirkutis, Mindaugas Puidokas, Alfredas Stasys Nausėda, Zenonas Streikus, Kęstutis Bacvinka, Laimutė Matkevičienė, Levutė Staniuvienė and Virginijus Sinkevičius.

What is working in favour of R. Karbauskis?

During his speech at the congress R. Karbauskis stressed that the entire post-election period was particularly difficult. The politician even proposed a version that feels a touch out of the realm of conspiracy theories, that supposedly the Peasant Greens government is not “a part of the plan for those who were intent on somehow appropriating the future government.”

“We are not participants of the project. Due to this we are met with great criticism today. Anger. Perhaps sometimes even ridicule, but I would like to state, standing responsibly in front of you – we will not take anyone ridiculing us to court. Why? Today they are working in our favour, just they fail to understand it,” explained R. Karbauskis.

The politician made the connection that ridicule directed toward the Peasant Greens is fundamentally ridiculing the people of Lithuania.

“They are saying it is some sort of herd of sheep. But that is acting in our favour,” said the “Peasant” leader.

Nevertheless he stressed that criticism is a good facet, albeit claiming that the Seimas opposition was irrational. Karbauskis said that the opposition is speaking nonsense.

Lamenting that VAT exemptions were not abolished

The Peasant and Greens Union chairman also stressed that mistakes were made. For example he believes that abolishing VAT exemptions for heating costs was the correct move just that it ended up not being implemented so far. The exemption is to last until June. During voting Karbauskis himself abstained.

“The decision to not extend the VAT exemption for heating costs was correct, while establishing a different aid percentage, so that the people who spend more than 10% of their income on heating, regardless of whether they have central heating or not, would get compensations. It is unfortunate that this did not come into power on January 1st, let us hope it will be established for the next heating season,” said R. Karbauskis.

According to him the Peasant Greens were left alone in regard to this question. In fact the “Peasants” themselves were split during voting, but Karbauskis said that this is not a confrontation between the cabinet and Seimas.

“Let me tell you what is being attempted currently. First I thought that what is being done in the public sphere is not being coordinated. That these are just reactions, disappointment toward election results, however now I dare believe it is being coordinated. Even the latest events, what is happening in the media – how the Social Democrats made a mistake to enter the coalition. Now a new topic has been found,” R. Karbauskis elaborated on his theory.

The politician explained he had spoken to Social Demcorat leaders and stated that he is sure that the the coalition will not be yield and be broken. He urged everyone to remember that the party is also a single team.

“If the fraction fractures, if we fail to remain a team, then the cabinet will be the same,” said R. Karbauskis.

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