In the last two months Lithuanian political scene have witnessed birth of two new political parties. Even though the Lithuanian People’s Party claims to represent the centre left, and the Lithuania’s Christian Party planning to be a voice of the centre right, they have more similarities than differences.
Let us start with differences, since there are only few of them. One of them was mentioned above. Another is that the People’s Party declared that it will be openly pro Russian party. The Christians declared that they would aspire to the Scandinavian values.
Other fundamental difference between the parties is that the People’s party is not a Parliamentary party but Christians Party is. The Christian Party already have twelve MPs in their political faction already. How is it possible when a newly elected party, which is not officially registered yet have a rather significant number of MPs?
The answer is a very simple one. The United (One) Lithuania political faction had twelve MPs in the Parliament, but they did not have a party structure to represent them in Lithuania. This happened after the Show Stars party calling itself Lithuania’s Insurrection Party has swept into the parliament during the last elections. The party not only had almost twenty MPs, but the newly formed party joined the ruling coalition, and their leader Arunas Valinskas managed to get the second most important post in Lithuania, that of Seimas’ Speaker. However, soon the group of friends gradually realised that to work together in the parliament is different than party together.
It took them even a half of year to come to a conclusion that they cannot be together any longer and the political Insurrection faction split. Seven MPs, loyal to Mr Valinskas, the leader of the party has left the faction and formed an Oak Faction hopping that the majority of the former partying mates will join them. However, this did not happen, and those who staid in the Insurrection faction decided to name themselves the United Lithuania Faction. Before that, the Insurrection party presidium expelled from the party few of their colleagues who rebelled against Mr Valinskas.
Hence, a peculiar situation developed in the Parliament. A political faction of twelve MPs did not have a party base in Lithuania to represent the party. Needless to say, those in the United Lithuania who thought about the next elections had to think twice how to extend their presence outside of the Seimas’ walls. It seems that a perfect solution came across when a former Prime Minister Gediminas Vagnorius (in the third and the eighth governments) had suggested to create a new political party. Mr Vagnorius is a controversial politician who had badly fallen out with the Conservative and created his own party. His Party of Christian Conservatives Social Union never made it to Seimas, and would not make it to the Parliament in the future.
Vagnorius’ party has some kind of base in Lithuania, the United Lithuania political faction has twelve MPs. That was is a fantastic arrangement for the both parties. However, the newly established Christian party run into trouble, same as Prunskiene’s People’s Party.
The People’s Party failed to register today. The Justice Ministry refused to do so that the documents were not in order and would not keep with legislation. The Ministry informed that in order to make appropriate changes the party will have to call another congress.
The Christian party run into similar difficulties, but not with the Ministry of Justice. Since the party used name a word ‘Christian’ it attracted a lot of criticism from the commentators and the Church. It appears that the word ‘Christian’ in the party’s programme it is used only in one context, that is in the party’s name.
The heads of the Lithuania’s Christian religious communities has sent a letter to the Ministry of Justice asking to pay attention to the name of the Party. In a statement the Christian Church leaders stated, "We hope the new political party will make responsible decisions, be bold and forfeit this title, replacing it instead with one of a different political message and identity in Lithuania’s political life. We hope Lithuania’s Justice Ministry will also be responsible in terms of registering the party’s title”. The Christian’s party leader said that the party could consider changing its title in reaction to the Christian Church hierarchy.
Hence, it might take some time until the both parties will become official parties in Lithuania. And yes, there is another striking similarity between those parties. Since there are about forty political parties registered in Lithuania perhaps those two are just two too many.