- November 19, 2012
A presidential present – a box of chocolates and the portfolio of the Prime Minister
Algirdas Butkevičius, the leader of the Social Democrats – the winning party in the parliamentary elections, celebrated his 54th birthday yesterday. On this occasion, President Dalia Grybauskaitė invited him to the Presidential Palace to give him her best wishes. As a gift, Butkevičius got a presidential box of chocolates and a nomination for the position of the Prime Minister in the new government.
President Grybauskaitė made it clear that she does not want any of the Labour Party representatives to be in the government. The Labour Party is the main coalition partner of the Social Democrats. In the last resort, at least some of the transferred Labour Party representatives have to be independent.
Interestingly, the President did not have any reservations about Jarosław Nawierowicz, an independent candidate of the AWPL (Electoral Actions of Poles in Lithuania), who was nominated for the position of the Minister of Energy. This department was fallen to the AWPL during the establishment of the coalition deal. At least, this was what the future Prime Minister said on Monday after the meeting with the President. However, the AWPL has not confirmed definitely that they agree to take the portfolio of that Ministry. Waldemar Tomaszewski, the leader of the AWPL and an MEP, claimed during the Friday’s interview that his party will get one of the ministries previously assigned to the Labour Party but it does not necessarily have to be the Ministry of Energy.
“We did not talk about the Ministry of Energy but we did discuss the candidacy of the AWPL’s member and it was accepted”, said Butkevičius who, after yesterdays’ meeting with the President, forced himself to look content. But there is a prove that the meeting was not that nice. The President made a statement about the meeting and she put there offensive epithets about Butkevičius and his party.
“During these general elections the Social Democrats received most of the mandates in the parliament and they were the only party to form the majority coalition. That is why I will nominate the leader of this party for Prime Minister tomorrow. From several possible coalition versions, the Social Democrats chose the cooperation with the Labour Party which is sitting on the bench of accused. What is more, they broke their promise they had made publicly and they elected a person suspected of financial fraud to the Seimas authorities. Time will show whether the Social Democrats will do a responsible and transparent policy. Or whether they will equate themselves with the party on trial and become its shield from the judiciary. Only time will show if the majority is concerned about the well-being of the Lithuanians or about delaying judicial proceeding until the limitation period expires and about dividing the money for criminal oligarch groups. Today we have listed all those who won the elections, but we have no winners yet. Hence, I wish the Social Democratic leader to safe the honour of the party and the state without stumbling, which we could have seen during the last few days, and to try to form a government that can take responsibility for state governance”, said the President in her statement.
Yesterday, when the meeting of Butkevičius and Grybauskaite ended, the coalition partners called a meeting to divide positions and responsibilities. The agreement has been set about which of the Seimas committees will go to which parties of the ruling coalition. Before that, Vydas Gedvilas, the chairman of the Seimas, proposed that each party be in charge of an individual department as well as the committee that controls that particular department. In the end, his suggestion was rejected and, consequently, the Labour Party will take the chair in the following committees: Law and Order; Education, Science and Culture; Rural Affairs and Health. The Order and Justice party will take up the Economics Committee and the Audit Committee. The Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania will take the chair in the Committee of Human Rights. Other committees will fall to the Social Democrats.
After yesterday’s meeting, the coalition leaders were reluctant to reveal the names of the candidates for the future chairmen of individual committees and especially for the ministerial positions. Viktor Uspaskich, the Labour Party leader, denied the earlier speculations that Virginija Baltraitienė will be the Minister of Education and Science, while Loreta Graužinienė will be the Minister of Social Security and Labour. Uspaskich has revealed only the infromation that there are 10 candidates for 4 ministries. However, he was reluctant to reveal any names before the candidacies are discussed with the future Prime Minister. Uspaskich also added that the choice of the candidacies is influenced by the President’s opinion but he did not confirm that this will be a binding opinion. We will know the final list of candidates during the next two weeks, if the President signs today the decree on entrusting the mission of forming the new government to Butkevičius.
Tłumaczenie Marta Dubiel w ramach praktyk w Europejskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, www.efhr.eu. Translated by Marta Dubiel the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.