The Lithuanian Social Democratic Party on Saturday decided to withdraw from the ruling coalition with the Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Union (LFGU).
Saulius Skvernelis, Gintautas Paluckas
© DELFI / Andrius Ufartas

The step was supported by 140 members of the party's council, while 46 were against in the Saturday's ballot that involved 187 out of 235 members of the council.

Over the past few months, the Social Democratic Party was surveying its branches about the party's future in the ruling bloc. Some 44 of its 60 branches wanted the party to leave the coalition, while eight branches suggested holding repeated negotiations on the coalition agreement, seven wanted to stay in the bloc and one did not provide an opinion. Many of the council members represent branches of the Social Democratic Party.

The party's leader Gintautas Paluckas, who had supported the idea of withdrawing from the coalition, said the Saturday's vote showed the party's "strength and unity."

"This should persuade those in doubt or believing that the Social Democrats' conduct is wrong, and I believe any doubts about the party's splitting have been dispelled," Paluckas told journalists.

In his words, the party is willing to support the LFGU-led government on issues "that are clearly matters of the left-wing political agenda."

The coalition agreement between the Social Democrats and the LFGU was signed after the parliamentary elections of October 2016. The Social Democrats have three ministerial portfolios and head four parliamentary committees.

Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis has said that Social Democratic-delegated ministers could stay in the government.

The Social Democrats have 17 parliamentary mandates in the 141-seat parliament, many of them were in support of leaving the coalition.

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