Vytautas Bruveris. Conservatives' threshing floor and hysterical adolescent reaction

Many of us may remember the phrase "if that's the way it is, then nafig", which has become a part of political folklore, attributed to the former Speaker of the Seimas, A.Valinskas.

Vytautas Bruveris.<br>V.Skaraičio nuotr.
Vytautas Bruveris.<br>V.Skaraičio nuotr.
Daugiau nuotraukų (1)


May 24, 2023, 9:59 AM

This phrase seems to have also become one of the main rules of this ruling majority, which it follows in every major political crisis.

It goes something like this: 'If you are like this, then let it all go to hell and burn with blue flames. We're out, and you know it!"

This is also the position of the right-wing government during the scandal of the waste of municipal councils - stalling, creating tensions and then threatening to blow it up.

Once the scandal had begun, it was only a matter of time before it reached the Government - after all, there are former municipal councillors among the ministers. The first to fall into the vortex was J.Šiugždinienė, a former Kaunas councillor and the current Conservative Minister of Education, Science and Sport.

After it emerged that the politician could not substantiate with cheques the sum of several thousand euros she had withdrawn from the municipal budget, it was still possible to say that this was half the problem.

But Šiugždienė's situation took a fatal turn for the worse just after she tried to do so. Handwritten, loose cheques with non-existent dates of 31 June or 31 September, the maximum amount spent on transport during the quarantine period when everyone was confined to their homes - these are just some of the ringlets that adorned the Minister's report.

However, the Prime Minister still stood up for the Minister. That is understandable. On the one hand, Šimonytė has always maintained the principle that no minister of her Government is untouchable and that if anyone tries to touch her, the Prime Minister herself is threatened with resignation.

On the other hand, two other ministers were in the same thin air. Two other former Kaunas municipal councillors, S.Kairys, the Minister of Culture representing the Liberal Movement, and G.Skaistė, the conservative Minister of Finance and Šimonytė's right-hand woman in the government, have also admitted that they cannot produce all the cheques.

So if one is moved, two more may have to be cut.

Šimonytė even defended herself publicly by asking rhetorically, "where will we stop" if we have to start picking off all the people who have been members of municipal councils and who are full of them, not only in the government but also in the Seimas.

Of course, this is an attempt to divert attention from the substance. The point is that not all politicians who have been in local government, and not even all of those who cannot justify all their expenses with cheques or bank statements.

The problem is those who, in all likelihood, may have committed fraud and simply embezzled money.

Anyway, on Thursday evening, it emerged that Ms Šiugždinienė had already submitted her resignation to the Prime Minister on Wednesday evening.

At the same time, President Nausėda reappeared on the scene, and it became clear why he had been so reticent to respond to the uproar.

It turns out that his main adviser on domestic policy, former Kaunas councillor P. Mačiulis, cannot find his cheques with a sparkle either.

He admitted this himself at the same time as announcing his resignation, which, of course, the President immediately accepted.

Soon afterwards, Nausėda, in a much more subdued and stern tone, started demanding that the Prime Minister resign all three ministers.

The President rightly reminded us that this was an old systemic problem that should be addressed accordingly.

After all, it has been publicised many times over the last decade that local government politicians and parliamentary politicians are squandering the money they receive as a salary supplement in all sorts of devious ways.

The obvious solution, which G.Nausėda seemed to suggest, is to make these allowances part of the basic salary. Why has this not been done so far, and why is it unlikely to be done even now?

On the one hand, politicians are afraid of voters' outrage at salary increases, while on the other hand, they are even more concerned about maintaining the useful shadow status of those "envelopes".

But Nausėda's statements and all these considerations were overshadowed by yesterday morning's explosion. The leader of the conservatives, G.Landsbergis, announced that the party leadership is going to consider the possibility of the resignation of the government and even early elections to the Seimas.

What has led to this action by the Conservative leaders?

First and foremost, of course, emotions, which they always exude to the skies in such cases. Secondly, the right wing probably planned that the broad masses of their party's parliamentary group and their coalition partners would beg them not to do so and not to capsize the state.

However, the main plan is probably to have the Government actually resign altogether and then be given a new mandate to act again in Parliament.

Perhaps by sacrificing the three ministers as well, and, in the right-wing's view, thus politically stopping the whole scandal.

In the meantime, early parliamentary elections are only possible if the Seimas itself is dissolved by a majority of 85 votes after unsuccessful attempts to form a new government, a scenario that is extremely difficult to expect.

The Liberal Movement, a coalition partner, has made it clear that if it is being blackmailed, it is not afraid of it and is in favour of the resignation of the government and a vote of confidence in Parliament.

But will such actions really block at least the flow of scandal that is flooding not the other parties but the camp of the right and its government? And what happens if the Government does not get enough support in Parliament?

How will the electorate, in general, evaluate such political contortions and such a hysterically adolescent reaction to this scandal?

But perhaps the conservatives, blinded by anger at their own self-love and the desire to "play" all their opponents in a manoeuvre that looks clever, are not even asking themselves such questions.

That is precisely why they can play the game.

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