The Seimas opposition blocked on Tuesday an overhaul of public funding of political parties that would have paved the way for allocating over 200,000 euros in state budget funds to the Lithuanian Social Democratic Labor Party (LSDDP).
© DELFI / Domantas Pipas

Sixty-three lawmakers from the ruling parties' political groups in the Seimas voted in favor of amendments to the Law on Political Parties. A total of 68 parliamentarians had registered for the vote, three short of the minimum number required to pass the legislation.

Lawmakers from the Homeland Union–Lithuanian Christian Democrats (TS-LKD), the Liberal Movement and the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania–Christian Families Alliance (LLRA-KŠS) boycotted the vote.

The LSDDP, the minor ruling coalition partner of the Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Union (LVŽS), was founded earlier this year by a group of former members of the Lithuanian Social Democratic Party (LSDP), who split from the party last year.

Opposition lawmakers slammed the attempt to provide public funds to the party, which is currently not eligible for a state subsidy, as "political corruption".

"(This attempt) to take money from the government's pocket, tax-payers' money, is an act of open political corruption. If you vote for this proposal, this an erosion of democracy," Liberal MP Eugenijus Gentvilas said.

LSDDP MP Juozas Bernatonis said the proposed amendments "correct mistakes in the current law, because certain parts of the law are in conflict with one another in that they envisage funding based on the results, but funds are calculated based on the process, not on the results".

Under the existing legislation, only parties that won seats in an election are eligible for state subsidies.

The amendments, tabled by LSDDP lawmakers, would have allowed a new political party that is registered after a parliamentary election but has seats in the Seimas to be allocated funds from the government budget.

Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis said that Gediminas Kirkilas' LSDDP would have received over 200,000 euros.

Around 5.5 million euros in state subsidies are distributed among political parties annually.

BNS
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