Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė says that lifting the existing ban on businesses to financially support political parties would legitimize the buying of them.
Dalia Grybauskaitė
© DELFI / Domantas Pipas

"Especially now that we have seen what is happening and how parties were bought directly, I can only call this proposal as legitimation of the purchase of political parties," she said in an interview with the Delfi.lt news website published on Wednesday.

The president's comment comes as Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis has called for discussions on removing the ban on businesses to support political parties.

Donations to political parties by businesses and private individuals have been banned since 2012 when state subsidies were introduced under certain legislative amendments initiated Grybauskaitė.

The ban on support by individuals was later relaxed to allow donations during political campaigns, but with certain restrictions.

The president noted that business donations to parties are prohibited in many Western countries, adding that Lithuania quadrupled the state's funding for political parties after the ban was put in place.

The ruling parties say they will discuss revising the party funding model after the Seimas National Security and Defense Committee completes its investigation into businesses' influence on political processes.

BNS
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