Vytautas Bruveris. The dilemma of conservatives who have become drama kings – to fool yourself or to burn yourself?

As if the classic had written about the current domestic political situation: „Smoke rolls across the sky from the Prussian country like the wings of a cloud.“ This is how the nervous crisis at the top of the government caused by the so-called cheques scandal is unfolding.

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


Jun 6, 2023, 8:12 AM

The temperature is rising not only among the government towers or the parliamentary political forces but also in the camp of the ruling conservatives.

Already last week, it became clear that perhaps as many as a third of the members of the right-wing group in the Seimas do not support the leadership's ambitions to hold early parliamentary elections or to dissolve the government.

What is more, the broad masses are beginning to move. The New Town chapter in the capital has made a start by formally demanding a meeting of the party council.

How are the conservative top brass reacting to this seemingly unprecedented process? On the one hand, they keep repeating publicly that they absolutely support the convening of the party council and even welcome it.

But there are also reports that behind closed doors, the party leaders are doing something different, categorically explaining at group meetings that there is no need for a council meeting because the Presidium has already decided everything.

In addition, the leadership has already started to put pressure on the chapters not to take the initiative to convene a council meeting.

However, more and more other rebellious conservatives are stepping onto the ramp. This week, Palanga Mayor Š.Vaitkus has shaken up the party leadership in a way that no one has dared to do for a long time.

Vaitkus accused it of childish and intolerant behaviour, of destabilising the state and damaging the party's image, and called for the immediate reversal of all decisions on early elections.

The Mayor of Palanga even began to second the opposition, which is playing on suspicions that the right-wing top brass just wants to „escape“ by hiding some terrible things that they themselves are guilty of.

Finally, the patriarch of the party himself, V.Landsbergis, fired another shot.

He even published a public letter asking for the help of the chapters to consider his letter.

And in the letter, Landsbergis slammed the planned „ritual self-immolation“ and called for it to be stopped as soon as possible.

The very fact of such a public appeal indirectly confirms the rumours that a personal conflict has erupted between Landsbergis and the party leadership, with attempts to limit the patriarch's ability to even speak at the party praesidium or other bodies.

However, the right-wing leaders, who are still clinging to the idea of dissolving the Seimas, seem to have received additional arguments this week, as new concrete data emerged on how some MPs have used their allowances when they were in local government.

Perhaps the loudest voices were those of the current „freemen“ – Minister of Justice E. Dobrowolska, who bought a smartwatch, and V.Mitalas and T.V.Raskevičius, who bought night cabs. The latter was travelling from the Soho nightclub, a favourite of the LGBT community, where he explained that he was interacting with his constituents.

However, they all kicked back small sums of money to the budget, and the Seimas dutifully supported a project that is moving forward, finally providing for more or less decent and understandable salaries for municipal politicians instead of envelope-like bonuses.

In any case, both the „libertarians“ and the Liberal Movement are vowing even more firmly not to support the early election initiative in the vote.

The opposition Social Democrats are turning tail again, now promising not to support them either if they see that the idea is not supported by the ruling party itself.

The right-wing coalition partners also argue that if Šimonytė does resign after the unsuccessful vote in the Seimas on the elections, and not only the government but also the coalition has to be rebuilt, the latter's agreement will be signed through much tougher negotiations.

For example, the „libertarians“ have hinted that they will try to hammer into the agreement the legalisation of gender-neutral partnerships and other projects that are priorities for them.

No wonder President Nausėda jumped to the forefront again this week, mocking the supposedly completely incomprehensible and inadequate actions of the right-wing tops.

But the most important thing is that Nausėda was simply trying to jump out of his shoes by demonstrating that if the government resigns, he will pay the right wing-back in spades, and he will also take a nap.

The President agreed that if the right-wing nominates Šimonytė as Prime Minister again, they have the natural right to do so, but he did not make it clear whether he would agree to it.

But the Head of State stated categorically that neither the Minister of Culture, S.Kairys, nor the Minister of Finance, G.Skaistė, who, like the resigned Minister of Education, Science and Sport, J.Šiugždinienė, were members of the Kaunas City Council and may have used the allowances in an opaque manner, should remain in the Government.

There are also rumours behind the scenes that the President's Office would lower the barrier even for G.Landsbergis if he were to regain the Foreign Minister's chair.

The post of Minister of National Defence, currently held by Anušauskas, who is at loggerheads with the party's leadership, would also cause passions within the right wing.

All in all, it is clear that Šimonytė, or another right-wing prime minister found by magic, would have to wear more than a few iron shoes in order to reassemble the coalition and the government.

Will these obvious threats and the damage to the party itself that is already apparent prompt the Conservative strategists to retract their threats and pretend that they did not even exist? Will it be the case that even the drama's first act – the Seimas' vote on early elections – will not happen?

Perhaps, as has happened many times in our politics, the kings and queens of drama, which have heated up passions to the point of redness, will nevertheless decide that it is better to laugh it off in retreat than to ritualistically burn oneself to death, not knowing whether one will be able to rise from the ashes.

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