After a stream of allegations of misconduct and corruption against the Government, Lithuania’s Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevičius and the Social Democrats have changed their approach by starting to fight back against what they see as a sustained campaign by Lithuania‘s President, according to two political scientists interviewed by Lietuvos Rytas.
Algirdas Butkevičius
© DELFI / Karolina Pansevič

“The attacks against this government have been fierce even though the charges they were based on were generally weak and unsubstantiated,” said political scientist Jūratė Novagrockienė.

“Even the Special Investigation Service was used against the Social Democrats, so they had nowhere to retreat to. The attacks have been strong and sustained and even after no evidence of guilt was found in the Vijunėlės manor story, the conversations of politicians were made public. This should not have happened. It is not right,” said Novagrockienė.

“Butkevičius had always avoided conflict but now that this situation has developed with all this criticism and the President's ratings plummeting, the prime minister and the entire ruling coalition is feeling emboldened - they sense that are in a stronger position to resist Grybauskaitė‘s pressure,” said the analyst.

Butkevičus told LRT radio on Tuesday that “as a prime minister, I have never fought with anyone. I behave in a tolerant manner and I have never wanted that disagreements with the president and other politicians would become public.”

Political scientist Tomas Janeliūnas also believes that Grybaukaitė‘s rating drop has inspired the Social Democrats to take a more aggressive stance.

“The President's popularity declined and that has led the reigning coalition to dare to throw stones into Grybaukaitė‘s garden without fear that they would spring back at them as has happened before,” said Janeliūnas.

The main engine for the stream of corruption scandals is the approaching parliamentary election. “The campaign has already started,” said political scientist Novagrockienė said.

However, Janeliūnas claimed that “While prosecutors found no evidence, the known facts, as well as the conversations that were made public, show that there has been protectionism and the Social Democrats felt vulnerable so they began to respond more decisively.”

Both analysts agreed that the president would like to see a different parliamentary coalition after the upcoming elections.

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