While Lithuanian political parties tend to base their political campaigns on short term populist objectives, they mostly come up short when delivering on those pledges, an analysis by political scientists has shown.
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Before the last parliamentary elections the Labour Party had promised to create a minimum wage of 1,509 Litas which is around €440, and to eliminate unemployment by the third year of the term. The Order and Justice party promised to raise the minimum wage up to 1800 litas (approx. €524) and the Social Democrats promised to raise wages in public sector, to get the minimum wage up to 50% of the average national wage. However, none of these promises were delivered on.

Political scientist Lauras Bielinis said that although offering specific figures and targets create a sense of realism, it is really an illusion.

“I think that the slickest and least-fulfilled promises are associated with very specific figures on pensions, minimum wage and the like. All these figures are realized not by political will but by economic progress. There is enough political will to start with, but then there are a lot of problems with implementing them,” says Bielinis.

Bielinis said credible politician can only focus on influencing long term trends, and promising such specific figures that are dependent on economic growth rather than the political will, is just populism.

Important areas should have been targeted for reform, however, remained untouched, according to another analyst.

“The government and the parties programs made many promises that the higher education reform will be reviewed and that its financing model would be really adjusted, but so far nothing has happened in this area,” said Algis Krupavičius.


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