- August 19, 2014
Cytacka has led to the biggest rift in the coalition
Mea culpa. I was wrong in my prognosis. After all Waldemar Tomaszewski forced the secretary Jaroslaw Niewierowicz to appoint Renata Cytacka as the undersecretary of energy.
There is no doubt that the decision of Waldemar Tomaszewski calls into question the future of the coalition in the present composition. The leader, as the leader should be, is even less predictable in his decisions.
The Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevičius, who repeatedly promised and forced onto the coaltion’s Council an obligation that all of the udnersecretaries’ candidacies have to be agreed on with him personally and that Renata Cytacka will not be in the government, presented today (19th August) the President Dalia Grybauskaitė with a motion to depose the secretary of energy.
The interesting thing is that the motion was sent by post and not filed personally, as the political custom dictates. On the one hand the President undoubtedly values the secretary Niewierowicz, who is even called by the right-wing Lithuanian commentators, unfavourable to the centre-left coalition, “the best secretary of energy in the history of the independent Lithuania”, on the other – the dismissal of the Prime Minister’s motion would put him in a very awkward situation, as a leader of the coalition who is not able to control his own secretaries.
After Butkevičius has nearly given the presidential elections to Grybauskaitė by default, it would have been, even in our political reality, an act of malice. The honorary leader of the social democrats Aloyzas Sakalas even suggested that in the case of the dismissal of the motion by the President, the Prime Minister should hand in his resignation. This would however be an even more grotesque event – the Prime Minister is handing in his resignation, because the one that does not want to resign is… the undersecretary! In any case from the legal standpoint it is not sure that the President can dismiss the Prime Minister’s motion concerning the resignation of one of the secretaries. The government is a structure based on political trust, the secretary is a politician and is responsible for his action in front of the party, the Prime Minister and the Seimas, and although it is the President who officially confirms the composition of the government and individual secretaries in it, then on the other hand it is the Prime Minister who decides about particular candidacies. If he lost trust in any of the politicians – he has the right to depose him.
Such contemplations are now in any case meaningless, because the President Grybauskaitė has after all deposed Jarosław Niewierowicz. Right now the EAPL has to choose: either to swallow this pill (I don’t think that it is too bitter for the leader of the party – Niewierowicz, who is not a member of the EAPL, does not yield to manipulation and is shown by the Lithuanian media as a “good Lithuanian Pole” (as opposed to the “bad Lithuanian Pole” in the person of Tomaszewski), is apparently not his favourite, and if – unexpectedly, because nothing seems to suggest that – he were to find in himself political ambition he would become an inconvenient and dangerous rival) and put forward a new candidacy for secretary of energy, or leave the coalition.
We need to say it fair and square, there are no candidates in the EAPL who would be able to face the positive legend of Niewierowicz, possessing his experience. In any case the new secretary would have the same tough nut to crack – the case of Cytacka. Therefore I think that the more realistic is the second scenario, especially that Waldemar Tomaszewski and his electorate is apparently tired and bored of being in a coalition in which one is unable to accomplish anything. Undoubtedly the case of Cytacka-Niewierowicz, in case of the decision to leave the coalition, will be presented as “the last straw that broke the camel’s back”, but in terms of public relations it would be like shooting oneself in the foot, because from the point of political marketing the most appropriate moment to leave the coalition was when the majority in the Seimas supported the conservatives’ amendments to the draft of law on national minorities, prepared by the EAPL. It would have been a symbol of the Polish party holding onto its principles that are the driving force behind the votes cast in its favour. In contrast, leaving the coalition because of the dispute concerning the personnel would once again portray the EAPL as a party of political brawlers who in the name of posts for its members are even prepared to lead to a serious political crisis, destabilisation of the political situation in Lithuania and maybe even to threaten the realisation of strategic energy projects, watched over Niewierowicz (and we know who cares the most about their delay, so further accusation of being pro-Russian are inevitable).
Therefore – as absurd as it may sound – Cytacka suddenly became an incredibly tough nut to crack for all sides and led to the most fierce rift in the history of the centre-left coalition of Butkevicius, and maybe even to its end. Paradoxically – although the discussions about Cytacka have been going on for nearly six months – we still don’t know whether Cytacka has the competence required to be the undersecretary of energy, or not (all of those “revelations” repeated over and over again by the media and politicians, concerning the bilingual plate on the house where she lives, the case of her (not) hanging the flag during the national holidays or the extramural “discussion” with the President Grybauskaitė about the rights of national minorities do not explain anything in that matter). Butkevičius claims that she doesn’t have it, but doesn’t show any proof, Tomaszewski claims that she has, but doesn’t show any proof to justify his words either, and the secretary Niewierowicz and Cytacka herself do not say anything in that matter…
Translated by Alicja Dudzik within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.