• July 13, 2014
  • 214

Will the undersecretary save the coalition?

„A real man can be recognised not by how he begins but by how he finishes” said Leszek Miller, a Polish politician some time ago which later became a famous saying. Women are of course more flighty, but they could also comply with this maxim. Renata Cytacka, the undersecretary of energy who begun well has problems with finishing. It could mean a miserable end for the EAPL in the coalition.

The coalition has reached a difficult agreement on the so-called “black list” with the President  Dalia Grybauskaitė, on which some names of the government’s undersecretaries were to be found. According to the agreement all of the secretaries and undersecretaries are to hand in their resignation, after which the PM is to confirm a new – de facto old – cabinet and the secretaries are to chose new undersecretaries. Such a solution allows both sides to save their faces. The coalition has a chance to last further, secretaries to continue with their work, and Mrs. President while showing her toughness, uncompromising nature and resolution when it comes to fighting against political corruption can still vigilantly observe the doings of the new-by-then government from the Olympus on Daukantas Square.

The plan worked perfectly until Renata Cytacka who was the only undersecretary of the ex-government to refuse to hand in her resignation. What cause is this manifestation to serve?

It started with a letter thanks to which Renata Cytacka became the media’s “favourite”. President Dalia Grybauskaitė assured from the stand of the European Parliament that the fact that Lithuania violates the national minority rights hasn’t been found in any international report. Renata Cytacka presented in her open letter an array of arguments from which it was obvious that the head of the country is not right. The commentary was factual and valid. It can be debatable whether one controversial sentence – “the President is lying” – was in this case a marketing ploy that helped to direct the public opinion’s attention towards thorny issues. Or maybe the other way round, diverting it from the essence of the issue.

All in all Renata Cytacka got into Lithuanian media’s black books, but in the eyes of Poles she has been if not a hero then at least a courageous person who can resolutely come to the Pole’s defence.

Many wondered why does she incite the public opinion, but many also admired her bold and at the same time uncompromising attitude.

From that time Cycatka has been targeted. During every national holiday the Lithuanian journalists have made an effort to go to Jašiūnai where she lives and check whether a Lithuanian flag was fluttering in her house. It was not, as opposed to the Polish one which Cytacka displayed during every Polish holiday. Then came the bilingual plates on official’s house that were delightfully photographed and commented. Many wondered why does she incite the public opinion, but many also admired her bold and at the same time uncompromising attitude.

Simultaneously, month-long speculations concerning Cytacka’s deposition continued. The PM  Algirdas Butkevičius did not openly demand letting her go, but he evidently awaited it. Waldemar Tomaszewski, the leader of the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania publicly declared support for Cytacka, stating that nobody has any objection concerning her and that the coalition is working in a stable way. Secretary Jarosław Niewierowicz played for time, explaining that in July the government is going to relinquish their power and it is not necessary to make personal decisions earlier.

July came, but apparently Renata Cytacka decided that the agreement between the coalition partners does not apply to her. In the meantime, as a coalition member, EAPL has a lot – the post of vice chairman of the Seimas, secretary in the government, six undersecretaries, seats in the Seimas’ commissions. Will it lose it all due to Cytacka’s démarche? Maybe not at once, but such a scenario cannot be downplayed. For sure a party that “cannot handle” one controversial undersecretary will not be trustworthy. And that is in the face of the current situation when the laws needed by the national minorities are worked through in the Seimas with such a difficulty and no visible success.

In any case even if Cytacka’s doings will not emasculate the whole party, they may be harmful to her own carrier. Active and intelligent social activist, involved in the protection of the rights of national minorities – up to this point Cytacka was associated with such an image. She is supported by Tomaszewski whom she loyally defended against Grybauskaitė’s attacks.

In the Lithuanian media she suddenly becomes just a stubborn lady who does not hand in her resignation because she does not want to lose her pay.

Now however, the PM states that „one way or another she will not stay”, because “her competencies are too low and she didn’t prove herself as an undersecretary of energy”. In the Lithuanian media she suddenly becomes just a stubborn lady who does not hand in her resignation because she does not want to lose her pay.

Renata Cytacka can still save the situation by her deposition. Thus she could still show her class and contribute to the Polish party retaining its status quo. Thanks to that Poles in Lithuania have a chance to become a respected, important and influential group, treating the country in an earnest and responsible manner and at the same time fighting hard for their rights.

Translated by Alicja Dudzik within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.

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