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Lithuania has a very fragmented party system. I note that, even added together, the votes of the three largest groupings do not amount to half the total vote.

Are there any signs of the political system consolidating into a smaller number of significant parties? With western European party systems I find it easier to understand where each political tendency is coming from. Eastern European party systems seem much more fluid.

It may be that it will take a generation of democratic politics for strong party loyalties to develop. This was the experience of West Germany after the second world war. However in the present era party ties seem to be loosening in most long established democracies. Is that a phenomenon which is preventing the formation of large mass parties, with a reliable voter base, in Eastern Europe?

by Gary J on Mon Oct 27th, 2008 at 08:41:21 AM EST
In Germany, post-WWII parties emerged from Weimar parties. So there were alive traditions.

In post-'communist' countries, failure in government and personal differences or rivalry between prominent party leaders can still destroy a party. If you check das monde's previous election diary, you'll see that the multitude of Lithuanian parties do fall into some major groups, but there were lots of splits.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Mon Oct 27th, 2008 at 09:10:39 AM EST
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The party system looked more consolidated in the 1990s, but there was much dissatisfaction with both conservative and former Communist governments. What happens next, depends a lot of circumstances: How will the economic crisis play out? How will socialdemocrats "rediscover themselves"? What new political figures appear on the horizon?

Existing populist parties need to consolidate to get second chances, I think. Or some may join socialdemocrats.

Some voter loyalty is visible, as core sympathies and antipathies towards the two main parties are well defined. Conservatives typically win with low voter turnout, meaning that they do not really gather much extra support, rahter enough "leftish" voters stay home. On the other turn, Homeland Union probably failed in 2000 for a similar silent reason.

by das monde on Mon Oct 27th, 2008 at 09:14:56 AM EST
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Speaking of conservatives, what is their platform outside of the economy, beyond the only think one gets to hear in the international press (being unfriendly to Russia)? I read somewhere that "protection of the traditional family" was a campaign theme, but without any details.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Oct 27th, 2008 at 09:44:15 AM EST
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Their program is 5.2Mb large (230 pages). I wish I could use an English version :-)

Among problems of Lithuania, they point out to:

  • nation erosion: weakening family; low fertility; high emigration; rising economic need for immigration; (rural quality of life to be improved);
  • much physical violence, little security and value to human life (alcohol consumption to be further restricted);
  • economic short-sight: the recent good times were not used to foster future competitiveness; stagnation should be avoided; long period of high growth and foreign investments are needed (say, like in Ireland);
  • GDP slowdown; high inflation; high energy prices; high social differentiation;
  • state passivity: no strategic aims; no involvement of citizen;
  • lack of respect of citizen by the state, and vice versa;
  • irresponsible, corrupt, unjust governing (they promise a "state reconstruction");
  • low quality services, bureucrasy; (education, health care, culture reforms away from Soviet "inheritance").
by das monde on Mon Oct 27th, 2008 at 10:41:20 AM EST
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das monde:
GDP slowdown; high inflation; high energy prices; high social differentiation;

Am I misinterpreting, or is this a partial sign of the failure of the centre-left to address inequalities?

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Mon Oct 27th, 2008 at 11:43:23 AM EST
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Socialdemocrats may have protected Social Security institutions fine, but overall social dynamics was left to Invisible Hand and other gods.
by das monde on Mon Oct 27th, 2008 at 09:10:43 PM EST
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