Tuesday, 4 November 2008

New Lithuanian Parliament elected - Perspectives for the New Government

Final results of the vote

Homeland Union-Christian Democrats (TS/LKD) - 45 seats
Social Democrats (LSDP) - 25 seats
Nation's Revival Party (TPP) - 16 seats
"Order and Justice" (TT) - 15 seats
Liberal Movement (LRLS) - 11 seats
Labour Party (DP) - 10 seats
Liberal Centre Union (LiCS) - 8 seats
Peasants party (LVLS) - 3 seats
Polish Electoral Action (LRRA) - 3 seats
New Union (social liberals) (NS) - 1 seat
Independent candidates - 4 seats

Preliminary analysis

Election result is a clear win for the Homeland Union-Christian Democrats (TS/LKD) party got the best result since its creation. The day after the prelimenary results of the vote were announced TS/LKD have invited Nation's Revival Party, Liberal Movement and Liberal Centre Union to form the coalition. Conservatives leader Andrius Kubilius will become the next prime minister of Lithuania. TS/LKD will have 7 government positions that include Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Defence, and Energy etc. Important note that current TS/LKD candidate to head the MFA, Mr. Ušackas was on the shortlist of government candidates of LiCS. Mr. Ušackas has no party affiliation and is considered to be a possible contender in the forthcoming Presidential elections in 2009.
Social Democrats (LSDP) have lost the government, but at the end of the day have maintained to large extent their position in the Parliament as the biggest and most influential opposition party. With 25 seats (drop from 31) they do not exclude a possibility to form the government should the efforts of TS/LKD fail. Internal leadership battle is expected to plague LSDP, since current leader and Prime Minister Kirkilas is not particularly popular among the party ranks.
Nation's Revival Party (TPP) is a new entity and the biggest surprise of these elections. Formed by an entertainer Arunas Valinskas early this year, TPP managed to get 16 seats and 2 ministerial portfolios (culture and environment). Valinskas is expected to become the Speaker of the Parliament. It is widely acknowledged that TPP has stripped the populist Order and Justice party of its voters and became "the better populist alternative" to highly controversial Paksas party. It is interesting to note that TPP has invited a Liberal Centre Union politician from the local level to become the next minister of environment, while asking him to suspend his membership in LiCS party.

Fourth was the party of Rolandas Paksas, the impeached President. "Order and Justice" will stay in the opposition. Party has been hoping for a much better result and greater influence in the new Seimas. Most of the political establishment remains highly critical of the party and its leader.

Liberal Centre Union (LiCS) and Liberals Movement (LRLS) parties have managed to achieve an excellent result. Most of the commentators were sceptical about the chances for these parties to overcome the threshold of 5%. Liberal Movement got 5,68% and Liberal Centre Union 5.3% of the vote. This makes it more than they were able to get in 2004 when the party was still united under the name of Liberal Centre Union. LRLS has secured 11 seats in the Parliament (winning 6 individual constituencies in the 2nd round). Party will nominate 3 ministers (Transport, Justice and Education). Mr. Gentvilas is mentioned as one of the possible candidates for the position of the Minister of Transport. It is however likely that the current party leader Mr. Masiulis will take up the post. LRLS hopes to also get the influential position of the chair of the European Affairs Committee in the Seimas. LiCS have secured 8 seats and have confirmed that one of the non-attached elected Members of Parliament will join its group. Party will control the Ministries of Interior and Health.

Labour Party (DP) comparing to 2004 elections experiences the biggest loss and goes down from 28% to only 9,04%. DP got 10 seats in the Parliament and has expressed its readiness to support the government in its work, while remaining in the constructive opposition. This move is motivated by the continuing investigation into the criminal case related to the party financing and an ambition of 2 incriminated members (Mr. Uspaskich and Mr. Gapšys) to maintain their immunity.
Peasants party (LVLS) have failed to pass the threshold and have managed to secure 3 individual constituencies. Their leader Mrs. Prunskiene, outgoing Minister of Agriculture has announced her resignation from the party leader's position and withdrawal from active politics.
Another liberal party New Union (social liberals) have failed to pass the threshold and ended up with 3.65% and in the new Seimas will have only 1 MP. Its leader, former Minister of Environment, Mr. Paulauskas has not yet announced what will be his role in the future of the party.

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