- February 1, 2013
Changes in the distribution of political power in Trackai district municipality
A change of authorities took place during a session held by the council of Trakai district municipality on the 31 of January. The representatives of EAPL and the Liberal and Centre Union were dismissed from the coalition. Vincas Kapočius, the long-standing mayor of Trackai, was replaced by a social democrat Vytautas Zaleck. The representatives from EAPL (Teresa Sołowiowa, the deputy mayor and Irena Narkiewicz, the deputy head of administration) were dismissed from their posts by an interpellation submitted by the opposition parties.
After the municipal election held in February 2011, a composition of the previous governing coalition remained unaltered. It comprised of 3 parties – 6 representatives of the Liberal and Centre Union, 5 representatives of EAPL and 3 social democrats. The coalition had 14 mandates of the councillor in the 25-person Council. Opposition was formed by 4 other parties, i.e. 4 representatives of the Labour Party, 3 reps of the New Union (Social Liberals), 2 reps of the Homeland Union – Lithuanian Christian Democrats and 2 of the Christian Party. On Thursday, the social democrats, who were supported by only 10% of voters in Trackai region during the municipal election in 2011, initiated formation of a new governing coalition consisting of 5 parties.
The post of mayor was taken by a 45-year-old master of educology, who had recently been running his own arable farm. Asta Kandratavičienė, a social democrat and the head of administration in the Trackai district municipality, kept her post. Wojciech Winskiewicz, the chairman of the Labour Party Departament in Trackai, became the deputy mayor; whereas Artūras Rimkus, the “Taip” movement representative, became a deputy head of administration. Perhaps this last candidature arouses readers’ incomprehension – how come that a representative of such a party appeared in the local government? After the election, 3 representatives of now non-existing party, the New Union, changed their political sympathies. Councillor Adelė Gedminienė and Vytautas Petkevičius, infamous for a corruption scandal, became social democrats. The third representative from this party – Zofija Abeciūnienė – joined Artūras Zuokas’ party. The post of the deputy head of administration is a reward for a coalitional backing.
It was said unofficially that the change of authorities had been discussed for three months. The representatives of the Liberal and Centre Union were thought to be the least reliable, as they are “famous” for the corruption scandal revealed in the local government’s administration. However, the biggest surprise was the fact that the representatives of EAPL were dismissed.
Currently, the possible penalties for former and current officials proposed by the public prosecutor are openly discussed in the local and national press as well as in institutions and offices in Trackai region. Leonardas Karnil, the former head of administration, may be imprisoned for eight years and may have to pay fine of 38,000 Lithuanian litas for taking bribes and abusing authority, a councillor Saulius Raščiauskas may be imprisoned for six and a half years and may have to pay 29,334 Lithuanian litas; Vytautas Petkevičius, the former mayor, may spend six years and nine months in prison and may have to pay 38,234 Lithuanian litas.
Maria Pucz, the chairwoman of EAPL Department in Trackai, says that the talks concerning the change of authorities held by opposition parties were well-known to all councillors. “However, we can’t say that the recent talks were serious negotiations; they were rather part of a political game. The representatives of EAPL didn’t participate in voting on the change of local government, we are now with our former coalition partner in opposition and we have 11 mandates of the councillor. It’s hard to comment on the consequences and the future of newly formed coalition which consists of many different parties, but we should wait and see how this situation will develop. I appeal to all our electors and ask them to remain calm. The change of power is a natural phenomenon in a democratic country. We, the councilors of the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania, will continue to work for the good of our people and take care of our policy postulates,” said Maria Pucz to “Kurier.”
In the interpellation written by the representatives of opposition parties, we can read that “in this difficult time for Lithuania and Trackai district, the mayor Vincas Kapočius is unable to unite the democratically elected representatives – the members of the Council – in such a way that it would result in a joint and constructive work.” Wojciech Winskiewicz, the newly elected deputy mayor of Trackai district municipality, who was a mayor in the previous Council for one and a half years, is convinced that the change of power in Trackai region was necessary. In his opinion, this will put a stop to numerous unfavorable decisions being taken against the inhabitants of Trackai.
Tłumaczenie Patrycja Olszówka w ramach praktyk w Europejskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, www.efhr.eu. Translated by Patrycja Olszówka the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.