The new Seimas opposition has so far been unable to find common ground, more specifically the Conservtives and the Liberals. A result of this – there is and in the near future most likely won’t be an opposition leader. The Liberals have repeated a number of times that they are unwilling to have the Conservatives talking in their name, particularly after the election results were revealed. The blame for this is both overtly and indirectly pinned on Conservative leader Gabrielius Landsbergis by both Liberals and some of his own party members. Landsbergis himself announced in a weekend party council meeting that he will seek to bring the party chairman election forward, something that would normally happen in May next year. Failing to do so he is prepared to resign prior to the election, LRT reported.
Whatever the Homeland Union chooses to do, only one thing is clear – a divided opposition unties the Seimas majority’s hands even further and leaves the voice of those thinking alternatively even weaker.
There are currently three opposition fractions in Seimas – the Homeland Union – Lithuanian Christian Democrats, Liberal Movement and Order and Justice. Together with the Polish Electoral Action – Christian Families Union fraction there are 63 members of Seimas outside the majority coalition. To elect an opposition leader, over half have to agree. The Homeland Union, with 31 members, lacks one vote to enable it to unilaterally appoint the opposition leader. Liberal Movement fraction prefect Eugenijus Gentvilas says that he received an opposition concord project on November 14 made by Homeland Union and his own fraction leaders.
“Point one – to agree to G. Landsbergis’ candidacy for the post of opposition leader. And then the second point, that we will negotiate positions there. They came to me and asked if I could perhaps sign. Well, I asked them to wait because I cannot do it automatically, we have to discuss it in the fraction. Our fraction then made the decision that we will not sign under the proposed cooperation concord project. This is the November 14 version that I am talking about. After that we began to talk, discuss – rotation variants and other things,” said the Liberal Movement fraction prefect E. Gentvilas.
G. Landsbergis also states that the possibility of rotating the post of opposition leader has been discussed in later meetings.
“We proposed a rotation which would be, well, based on fraction size. Meaning a few are ours, the Liberals’ respectively. And the Liberals have ample opportunities to write it up how they view it,” assured the Homeland Union – Lithuanian Christian Democrat fraction prefect G. Landsbergis.
The Liberal fraction prefect is more specific about the potential duration of rotations.
“Well it is two sessions – the Conservatives, one session could be ours, we are definitely not demanding half,” assured E. Gentvilas, stating that on Thursday their fraction intended to meet and continue discussing the opposition concord project. On the eve, however, G. Landsbergis declared that the negotiations are being halted.
“The Liberals decided that it is not worth for the opposition to have a leader, hence so be it, we will be as is. The opposition is represented. Well, for now, today that suffices,” explained G. Landsbergis.
E. Gentvilas was surprised the negotiations were called off without concluding.
“He didn’t comment and only said that the ball is in the Liberal court. Formally looking – yes, he just didn’t give us time to discuss those things. We are not after the post of opposition leader. If anyone is, they have to go and talk,” assured E. Gentvilas.
Homeland Union fraction deputy prefect Jurgis Razma, who participated in the negotiations, says that he will most likely not bring up this question again because society has a wrongful impression of their party leader.
“We see that the question has an odd interpretation in the public sphere, as if the title of opposition leader is massively important to our chairman. Under such circumstances, naturally, we said that it was time to stop while resolving the question and we are no longer discussing it anymore at this time,” said J. Razma.
The prefect of the third opposition fraction, Order and Justice, says that all opposition fractions should negotiate on representing the opposition and calls the negotiations between the Conservatives and Liberals uneven.
“In my opinion, the Conservatives are intentionally trying to humiliate the Liberal Movement by saying that they are nothing and should join them, supposedly being together out of goodwill. They did so in their negotiations with the “Peasants” and it was unsightly and unethical toward the Liberals. I think that the Liberals have already realised how they have suffered and are shunning the Conservatives, intending to work separately,” explained Order and Justice fraction prefect Remigijus Žemaitaitis.
“It was similar when we remember the talks with the “Peasants” after the elections – it was said then that some sort of review by special services is needed, that no talks can be done with the Social Democrats and such. It was stated again that they now have to say their piece, while we already have and if not, then not. Now the talks with the Liberals are similar – first they say that the opposition leader will be G. Landsbergis, to which the Liberals are left questions because negotiations are not a matter of one person’s declaration, which he would like. Once again it is being portrayed that the Liberals are to blame and that the ball is in their court and they have to apologise once again, explain something and adjust to the Conservatives’ demands,” said LRT.lt Chief Editor Vladimiras LaučIus.
Homeland Union fraction member Audronius Ažubalis states that if the opposition is unable to come to terms, it just becomes weaker thus it is crucial to come to agreement.
“In politics, based on my experience, one shouldn’t fear to take the first step and even pay for it, if it is a serious, worthy and righteous cause,” stated Ažubalis.
Analyst V. Laučius says that the opposition would be harmed not only by a lack of a leader, but also having a poor leader who would prove divisive and would fail to adequately represent it.