Surprise winners in Lithuanian election
The Peasants and Greens Union, until recently just a small opposition party, has won the parliamentary election in Lithuania. Voters relegated the ruling Social democrats to third place, while the conservatives came second. Lithuania's press analyses the reasons for this unexpected outcome.
Likeable farmers lack substance
The Lithuanians have given the Peasants and Greens Union many unearned laurels that the party must be careful not to waste, warns Delfi:
“The old politicians have made way for these likeable little green men wearing bast shoes. … The newcomers have brought along some very colourful luggage - not a single item matches the others. And the party's candidates also have very contradictory ideas. … The foundations are wobbly. Common sense tells us that party leader Ramūnas Karbauskis will have a hard time keeping such a heterogeneous bunch under control. Many of them aren't even party members. … The votes for the green farmers were given with blind faith. But the tables may soon turn against them, because nothing is more painful than the betrayal of blind trust.”
President weakened the established parties
President Dalia Grybauskaitė also bears responsibility for the fact that voters sided with an alliance that sets itself apart from the established parties, Lietuvos rytas notes:
“The president had planned to form a government made up of the opposition conservatives and the Peasants and Greens Union: a government that would obey her. But in truth she fell prey to party chairman Ramūnas Karbauskis and - worse yet - the independent Saulius Skvernelis, who had rebelled against her in the past. ... Grybauskaitė's fight against parties as institutions had a big impact on the results of this vote, in which all of the major parties suffered substantial losses. Much emphasis was put on the fact that the Peasants and Greens Union is in fact not a party at all, but rather a political force working against the parties. And that led to its success.”