"I think that we should continue working in the coalition, as the objective of a political party is to be in power and realize its program, beliefs and stances. Being in opposition is always simpler – you can criticize, there is more comfort in this sense, however, there is no responsibility. The responsibility comes with power, especially know when we are faced with a rather difficult situation on the international arena, there are extensive tensions in our region, therefore, stability is very important," Linkevičius told BNS.
The minister, representing the Social Democrats, criticized the decision taken by the party's presidium to ask for opinion of the party's branches about staying in the coalition, saying that this was the party's way of shirking responsibility.
"This means shirking responsibility. Turning to the party's branches in hopes of some emotional reaction is the easiest way. It is not difficult guess what it could be. Such decisions are hard for me to understand. The willingness to be in opposition can be understood in comfort conditions, however, this is lack of state attitude (…). We should ask whether the party can act as such, if it is unwilling to be in power," he added.
Linkevičius also did not specify whether he would seek to remain in government, if the party decided to leave the ruling bloc with the Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Union (LFGU), saying the decision would come after the party provides an official position in September.
The Social Democratic party said that merely one of the interviewed seven branches was in support of staying in the coalition.
Andrius Palionis, the elder of the party's political group, says that 13 out of 19 members want to stay in the ruling coalition.
LFGU say they expect an answer from the Social Democrats by Sept. 10, while the Social Democrats' leadership decided the position would be provided after Sept. 20 after hearing opinions of the party's branches. The Social Democratic Party's leader Gintautas Paluckas said LFGU breached the coalition agreement by signing deals with the opposition conservatives on their support to the forestry sector reform in exchange for support to a lower VAT tariff on heating. The Social Democrats opposed the reform.
The foreign minister said he would not run for the 2019 presidential elections as a candidate delegated by the party or as an independent candidate.
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