If the Lithuanian Social Democratic Party (LSDP) withdraws from the ruling coalition with the Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Union (LFGU), its ministers and heads of parliamentary committees should step down too, Lithuania's EU commissioner Vytenis Povilas Andriukaitis, who is the LSDP's honorary chairman, said.
Vytenis Andriukaitis
© DELFI / Andrius Ufartas

"It's not even a question. The logic of coalitions is absolutely obvious in this case. The coalition participates in the government and when there is no coalition... This is political ABC," he told BNS in Strasbourg.

According to Andriukaitis, if the ministers opted to stay, the Social Democrats would then have to decide what to do.

When asked if politicians who decide to keep their ministerial portfolios should be expelled from the party, the commissioner said, "There are various options here".

He thinks that the Social Democrats who now head the Seimas committees should also leave their posts if the party pulls out of the coalition.

The LSDP has three ministers in the Cabinet of Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis. Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius and Economy Minister Mindaugas Sinkevičius are members of the party, but Justice Minister Milda Vainiutė is not.

Social Democratic MPs head four parliamentary committees -- on legal affairs, on European affairs, on foreign affairs and on social affairs and labor.

Calls on Social Democrats not to rush to leave

The LSDP branches are currently voting on whether or not to withdraw from the ruling coalition. The party started to speak about pulling out after electing Gintautas Paluckas as its new chairman and the voting began after the LFGU signed a deal with the Homeland Union–Lithuanian Christian Democrats on the opposition party's support for the government's state forestry sector overhaul.

Andriukaitis, who called on the Social Democrats to stay in the opposition after last year's general election, now warns the party against making hasty decisions.

"(The Social Democrats) rushed to join (the coalition) and, rushed to take portfolios, but it will be bad if they rush to leave, too. In other words, I am calling (on the party) to think well before acting," the honorary chairman said.

Fifty-five of the party's 60 branches have already stated their position. Forty-two branches are in favor of withdrawing from the coalition, seven propose to continue working with the LFGU and another six call for renegotiating the coalition agreement.

Meanwhile, 13 out of 19 members of the LSDP political group in the Seimas do not want to put out of the ruling bloc.

The LFGU has 56 members in the 141-seat Seimas.

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