Conservative party with the largest amount of MPs in the Parliament is showing a sign that it is becoming the weakest link in the coalition government. A few latest votings in the Parliament indicated that the party leaders keep failing to persuade some ordinary party members to follow the party line. The coalition partners are also unstable.
Voting on 13 April in Parliament regarding an amendment to the Constitution allowing direct mayor elections illustrated just that. Some of the Conservatives voted against the bill even though a junior coalition partner the Liberal and Centre Union, with seven MPs, had stated that this voting would determine their willingness to remain in the coalition.
The party’s Chairperson Gintautas Babravicius said to reporters after voting, "Up until yesterday we wouldn’t even think about the possibility of leaving the coalition, but this challenge, which saw the votes of our coalition partners and not the opposition obstruct the adoption of positive decisions, this is considerable food for thought. But this (decision on party’s position on remaining in coalition) will all be done through party institutions in the provisioned order of things.” The Party leader continued that due to the votes form some of the partners from the Conservative party and their former colleagues from the Liberal Movement, will make them think about remaining in the coalition.
Nevertheless, Andrius Kubilius, the chairperson of the Conservative party said after the vote that it was no secret that some of the Conservatives did not agree with the bill in the first place.
Lithuanian media also reported about tensions in the Conservative party itself. A radical right wing group of the party, which consists mainly from the former Nationalist (Tautininkai) party, is causing some turmoil and headache to the party’s leadership. The so-called Taliban group, led by Grintaras Songaila, the former leader of the Nationalist party, is rebelling against the Conservative chairperson, the Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius. Just a few weeks ago, MP Gintaras Songaila staged an unsuccessful attempt to remove Kubilius from his leadership. This time Songaila’s attempt failed, since during the party’s meeting only Songaila voted in favour of removing Kubilius.
The latest rebellion in the party has been launched in the form of a letter distributed to all party’s branches with the names of those Conservative MPs who had voted in favour of allowing writing names in other than Lithuanian language. Amongst those who voted in favour of that bill is Andrius Kubilius himself, who feels embarrassment over rejection of the bill during the last trip of the Polish President Lech Kaczynski to Lithuania. MP Mantas Adomenas, Chairperson of the Vilnius Conservative party, is also under fire because he supported the name-spelling bill.
According to the Political scientist Tomas Janeliunas the Taliban group of the Conservative party will not dear to split the Party in the Parliament because they realise that the splinters have a very slim chance of surviving. It needs to be noted that the Conservative party once split in 1996-2000 Parliament.
at a time like this – take charge of the financial and economic situation. They’re moving forward in all the different priority areas, The President Dalia Grybauskaite has expressed her support to the ruling coalition and criticised the opposition of being incapable to suggest anything new. On 12 April she said to Veidas magazine, "The government is trying to do that, what is necessary for any a government however I’m seeing a lack of speed and coordination of government activity.”
It is also doubtful if the Centre and Liberal Union party would leave the coalition. At the moment the Party of seven MPs are holding Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Health positions. It is very unlikely that the political group of seven would get two ministerial portfolios in a new coalition. However, the latest remarks addressed by the Minister of Interior Raimundas Palaitis toward the Prime Minister over his advisor’s criticism of Vice Minster of Interior Stanislavas Liutkevicius’s could be an indication that the Centre and Liberal Union is preparing a strategy of exit from the Government.
Furthermore, the other junior coalition partner, the National Resurrection Party, is also preparing a small turmoil in the coalition government. It has decided that it had enough of its delegated Minister of Culture Remigijus Vilkaitis and is calling the Minster to resign. This might cause another so unnecessary turmoil in the Government. Hence, even though the opposition is not capable to shake the incumbent Government it is very capable to shoot into its foot itself, as President Grybauskaite remarket in her interview in Veidas magazine.