- December 13, 2012
The mission of Butkevičius completed – the new government appointed
The post-electoral centre-left coalition showed once again the proof of its unity. Yesterday members of the coalition almost unanimously voted in favour of the governmental policy.
The policy was supported by 38 members of the Social Democratic Party, 10 members of “Order and Justice”, and 8 members of the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania [Polish: Akcja Wyborcza Polaków na Litwie; AWPL]. Moreover, the majority of the Labour Party [Polish: Partia Pracy; PP] members – the fourth coalition member – voted in favour of the policy. Only Kęstutis Daukšys and Darius Ulickas from PP did not participate in the voting. However, the morning voting results of the commission on waiver of the immunity of three members of PP, including its leader Wiktor Uspaskich, could be a presage that the Labour Party would not support the new government. It would cause the collapse of the centre-left government formed only one day before the voting.
However, during the debate about the policy Wiktor Uspaskich said that his party would support the new government. Earlier he could not hide his outrage at the fact that because of the votes of the coalition partners form the Social Democratic Party during the morning session the parliamentary commission had accepted the motion on waiver of the parliamentary privilege of Uspaskich himself and his two other colleagues, Vytautas Gapšys and Vitalij Vonžutaitė. Uspaskich accused them of the betrayal of the coalition partnership. The leader of the Social Democratic Party and current Prime Minister, Algirdas Butkevičius, was immediately summoned to the faction of the Labour Party and tried to explain the voting of his party members. It was the main cause of the delay in the voting on the government policy.
Eventually the Prime Minister arrived at the floor of the Seimas. Butkevičius did not have enough time to appeal to the partners form the Labour Party not to put the matters of the party over the fate of the coalition. Finally, all members of the Labour Party appeared in the floor of the Seimas and their leader said that the party would support the governmental policy. However, the policy was heavily criticized by the opposition – the conservative Homeland Union – Lithuanian Christian Democrats and the Liberal Movement. “The collection of slogans and nothing more than that” conservative Darius Kreivys, the ex-Minister of Economy in Andrius Kubilius’s government, assessed the governmental policy.
“The collection of illogical slogans.” Audronius Ažubalis, the ex-Minister of Foreign Affairs, said simply. Ažubalis heavily criticized the governmental ideas concerning the foreign policy, especially plans to normalise the relationship with Russia and resume the dialogue with Poland. According to the ex-Minister of Foreign Affairs, the normalisation of the relationship with Russia will be possible, if Lithuania makes concessions on all crucial bilateral issues.
In Ažubalis’s opinion the declaration on the resuming of the partner relationship with Poland is not justified because, according to the Minister, that relationship has never been broken. “The relationship with Poland is not ceremonious any more and it has simply gained a particular flavour.” noticed Ažubalis. The governmental promise to the Polish minority was heavily criticized as well. “Once again you want to turn national minorities into hostages of the foreign policy.” said Ažubalis. He noticed that Lithuanian Poles were the citizens of Lithuania and the government of that country should have take care of them as well as for any other citizen.
Other conservative politician, Jurgis Razma, criticized the governmental policy in more creative manner. He noticed that he could not find any concrete idea in the programme and when he tried to ask about something he heard that in order to solve a concrete problem a working group would be appointed. “We have a problem. What are we going to do? We create a working group!” said Razma.
Meanwhile other coalition members did not raise any objections to the governmental policy. Moreover, the members of the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania are also satisfied with it. “It is a policy of positive changes.” Rita Tamašiunienė, a leader of the parliamentary faction of AWPL, assessed the governmental document. Among these positive changes the politician mentioned the development of renewable energy which, according to Tamašiunienė, would lower the heating prices and help create new working places.
Among significant governmental declarations the politician mentioned the promise to close the process of land return. She stressed that the process itself was not so important as the concept of fair return. “At last we will have the Law on national minorities.” said Tamašiunienė. She noticed that Lithuania was the only country in the European Union that did not have such a law. After the debate on the policy the Seimas got down to the voting – 83 members voted in favour of the policy, 39 were against it, 9 members (from “The Way of Courage” party and group of independent politicians) abstained from voting.
After the acceptance of the governmental policy the new ministers were sworn in which finished the process of the new government creation. The first session of the new Council of Ministers will be held today.
Tłumaczenie Karolina Rolka w ramach praktyk w Europejskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, www.efhr.eu. Translated by Karolina Rolka the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.