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Lithuanian election 2012

by das monde Mon Oct 15th, 2012 at 04:27:24 AM EST

Lithuania [elected] a new parliament (Seimas) [yesterday]. 70 members are elected in a proportional party voting (with 5% barrier), and 71 members are elected in local constituencies (with runoff voting 2 weeks later, in districts where no one got 50% of votes).

The election 4 years ago produced a shaky-looking coalition of the serious Homeland Union (the conservatives and Christian-democrats), two liberal parties, and a new populist Rising Nation party of a TV star. The populist party disintegrated after one year; it was swallowed mostly by the Center-liberal party. The coalition survived the whole term however, despite shifts in the coalition, the economic crisis, boosted emigration, austerity measures, and such joys.

frontpaged with minor edits, results in comments - Nomad

This stability says perhaps a lot about the opposition. The Social-democrats gladly engaged in Seimas discussions, but generally, they looked satisfied with the status quo. They still do not show clear dissatisfaction with the ongoing economy, nor articulate own alternatives. They must be just waiting for a swing of the political pendulum their way.

The other opposition force is Darbo Partija (Labour party), led by a formerly successful Russian entrepreneur V. Uspaskichas. They had tasted government work in 2004-2008, and generally, would be considered seriously for many coalitions. They might even gain more votes than the Social-democrats. The political establishment would hardly accept the leader Uspaskichas, however. Darbo Partija has more promises for left-leaning voters. On the other hand, this party saved the coalition in two crucial votings: in 2009 when the Rising Nation was collapsing, and early this year when Center-liberals tried to blackmail a new FSA appointment.

The government led by Andrius Kubilius is pretty unopposed in seriousness gravitas and boosting about 3 years of nominal GDP growth (after the 20% collapse in 2008-2009, of course). The conservative success this year should be as unlikely as Romney's - but you never know with the opposition performance. The Liberal Union proved to be the most earnest partners in the Kubilius government, pushing for reforms (say, in education) even if detrimental effects were clear. The president D. Grybauskaite expressed indirect support for the conservatives and liberals by criticizing the Social-democrats, Darbo and populist parties.

The Center-liberals look marginal by now. Their brightest star Arturas Zuokas (an Ig Nobel prize winner) was not looking for background roles and left Seimas quickly. He is now the Mayor of Vilnius again, though less successfully and prominently under new financial constraints. Zuokas has now his own party "Taip" ( "Yes").

In total, there are over 20 political parties participating. Probably only few of them will get into Seimas. The Lithuanian electorate has shown little loyalty to political parties and ideologies. It is painted by the media as forever looking for new saviors, unhappily.

The most colorful (purple) of new populist parties is "Drąsos Kelias" ("The way of braveness"). It emerged after these dramatic events. The "Order and Justice" party of the impeached president R. Paksas may still get several Seimas seats, but they would hardly be accepted into a coalition. Paksas himself cannot be in Seimas yet, though he is a member of the European Parliament. Most public contempt goes to the Marxist "frontman" Algirdas Paleckis, after he expressed his interpretation about the January 1991 events. During televised debates this month, his colleague said that Vytautas Landsbergis was criminally polarizing and provoked the January 1991 events. After that, a member of "Drąsos Kelias" threw a glass with water towards him (a video down here).

Additionally, Lithuanians will vote on a new Visaginas atomic plant project this Sunday as well. The plant would be built by Hitachi Co next to the location of the RBMK plant closed in 2009, using private capital. But that does not really promise cheaper electricity for the country.

Most public contempt goes to the Marxist "frontman" Algirdas Paleckis, after he expressed his interpretation about the January 1991 events.

What exactly was his interpretation (beyond "our people shot at our people") and who were his sources? It's not clear to me from the linked article.

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

by DoDo on Sat Oct 13th, 2012 at 02:50:56 PM EST
Well, his point is apparently that the 1991 events were deliberaty provoked and dramatized. Something comparable to a 9/11 conspiracy theory, I guess. Paleckis presented a Soviet document (of the Soviet Atorney General to the Supreme Soviet, of May 1991, 15 pages) that says that no blood was found on the tanks, that TV tower defenders were drunk and aggressive. He has witnesses that say shots came from above, from roofs of neighboring buildings, and according to him, expert notes tell that several victims had shots coming from various directions, also from back and above.
by das monde on Sat Oct 13th, 2012 at 04:16:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In total, there are over 20 political parties participating. Probably only few of them will get into Seimas.

Do the local Greens stand any chance?

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

by DoDo on Sat Oct 13th, 2012 at 02:51:35 PM EST
The Peasants and Green Union may have a chance. They polled 2-3% in August. The leader is Ramunas Karbauskis. He is a successful land entrepreneur, was in Seimas for the 1996-2000 and 2000-2004 terms, even was a deputy of Seimas chairman for a few months. The nuclear plant issue may help them.
by das monde on Sat Oct 13th, 2012 at 04:30:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
They did not make it. Karbauskis said that they were too active in the cities, calling for a "no" vote in the referendum :-) I guess many people did not notice that this party exist.

They have 2 candidates in the second round. In one constituency, their representative is No 3 just 32 votes behind the leader, after a suspect delay in the last district.

by das monde on Mon Oct 15th, 2012 at 02:06:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The voting is officially over, though some districts had still long queues in the last hour, including the embassy in London. The voters that came before 8pm (Lithuanian time) will be allowed to vote. The activity is over 50%, high for Lithuania.

Exit polls tell:
Darbo Partija: 19.8%
Social-democrats:  17.8%
Homeland Union: 16.7%
Liberal Union: 8.5%
Drąsos Kelias: 8.5%
"Order and Justice": 8.4%
The Polish minority union: 4.8% (is their barrier still 4%?)
The Peasants and Green union: 4.7%
Center liberals: 3.0%

by das monde on Sun Oct 14th, 2012 at 01:37:45 PM EST
It's not so common for a party to go from leading a government coalition to third place.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Oct 14th, 2012 at 02:25:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
With 130 of 2017 districts counted:
Darbo partija: 28.5%
Social-democrats: 19.4%
Order and Justice: 10.1%
Homeland union: 9.8%
Peasants & Green: 7.4%
Drąsos kelias: 4.8%
Liberal union: 4.4%

The lessons of Lithuanian elections: Exit pols can be disrespected (since 1992, famously). The city and country-side voting may differ significantly; the former votes are counted up later usually. Social-democrats should be more successful in individual consistencies, where Darbo partija did not prove itself solid yet.

The Darbo partija, Social-democrats and "Order and Justice" would  agree to a coalition, apparently.

Regarding the advisory referendum on the nuclear plant: with 180 dictricts counted, 60.7% against and 35.5% for. But the activity should rather be over 50%.

by das monde on Sun Oct 14th, 2012 at 04:09:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
After 1213 districts reporting:
Darbo Partija: 23.4%
Social-democrats: 19.4%
Homeland union: 12.3%
Order and justice:  9.2%
Drąsos Kelias: 6.5%
Liberal union: 6.0%
Peasants & Greens: 5.5%
Polish minority: 5.4%

Uspaskichas, Butkevicius (LSDP) and Paksas are already meeting. In individual constituencies, Darbo and LSDP have one mandate each surely (and 14 vs 16 clear leaders), the Polish minority likely has 2 mandates already.

by das monde on Sun Oct 14th, 2012 at 09:31:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
How did Paskas and the other two come together? What is the basis of compatibility?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Oct 15th, 2012 at 01:33:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I am surprised with this quick fusion; perhaps my selective sourcing is to blame. The 3 parties must have been talking beforehand already. Quite openly, political agreements are made on pragmatic grounds: we just divide control spheres by accumulated seats.
by das monde on Mon Oct 15th, 2012 at 03:46:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What is Darbo's position (if it has anything clearer than that of the Social Democrats) on the economy and government finances?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Oct 15th, 2012 at 01:34:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
According to the Guardian,
In an interview with Reuters soon after the exit poll put his Labour party in the lead, Viktor Uspaskich outlined a plan which would put generating economic growth ahead of rigid measures of fiscal discipline.

Asked if he would stick to the 3% rule, Uspaskich, a Russian-born businessman, said: "Of course to begin with, let's put it this way, we will."

But he said there could be a case later on for widening the deficit to invest in promoting growth, even if that meant exceeding the 3% threshold.

"How otherwise can you generate [growth in] the economy if you only borrow to cover regular expenditure? You need to borrow for generating [growth]."

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Mon Oct 15th, 2012 at 02:51:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Uspaskich takes currency balances seriously, but as we see, shows willingness to meet them flexibly. He is the most shrewd leader at the moment, clearly.

The post of prime minister will be decided after the second round 2 weeks later, by agreement. But Uspaskich already declared that he would be the best prime minister. He would talk with the Liberals and the Poles as well.

Darbo partija is involved in a legal process, on shadow accounting during a previous election. Uspaskich would cooperate in the investigation. Additionally, a number of voter buy off reports will be investigated, where Darbo Partija is mentioned most frequently.

by das monde on Mon Oct 15th, 2012 at 04:04:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
With 1877 districts reporting:
Darbo Partija: 20.5%
Social-democrats: 18.7%
Homeland union: 14.5%
Liberal union: 8.0%
Drąsos Kelias: 7.9%
Order and justice:  7.6%
Polish minority: 5.7%
Peasants & Greens: 4.1%

The advisory nuclear plant referendum is valid officially, about 51.5% have voted: 35.2% of them for, 64.8% against. Uspaskich and LSDP are sending mixed signals. Uspaskich is a supporter, but acknowledges the referendum outcome. The LSDP leader Butkevicius was less enthusiastic, but now he talks about continuation of negotiations with Hitachi and regional investors, a second referendum.

by das monde on Mon Oct 15th, 2012 at 04:21:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
My paternal grandmother came from Lithuania and, rumor has it, she was a complete bitch who drove my grandfather away to become a raving alcoholic.

That is all.

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Mon Oct 15th, 2012 at 08:09:32 AM EST
There are several ways to get crazy in Lithuania. The guy on the sidelines here is a "voter".

by das monde on Mon Oct 15th, 2012 at 08:36:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The results are pretty clear with 1996 out of 2017 districts reporting. Voter participation - 1333296 (52.77%). Non-valid votes - 56814 (4.26%). Here below is a table with relevant parties.

PartyVotesPercentageRun-Off chances
of cast votesSeats Likely + Toss-up + Underdog
Darbo Partija 26618919.9617+1 5+18+13
Social Democrats 24599218.4515+1 9+13+6
The Homeland Union 19911914.93139+22+4
The Liberal Movement 1128368.467 2+4+0
Drąsos Kelias1056187.927 0+4+5
Order And Justice 983887.386 3+4+1
The Polish minority party 778295.845+1 2+4+0
The Peasants & Green Union 521453.9100+2+0
The Center-Liberals 275352.070 0+0+2

Darbo and Social-democratic representatives face off in 16 constituencies. The 3 talking parties are guaranteed 61 seats. The Homeland Union is doing very well in Vilnius and Kaunas. They face 11 Darbo, all 9 Drąsos (mostly in Kaunas) and 6 Social-democrat opponents.

P.S. What I called Liberal Union (would be Liberalų Sąjunga) has to be called Liberal Movement (Liberalų Sąjūdis).
by das monde on Mon Oct 15th, 2012 at 01:58:49 PM EST
In a discusion on the national TV, Uspaskich is visibly under influence. (His car already broke parking rules today.) Kubilius explains that no one without him will get finances and Europe's challenges right. (Even if he doubled the state debt in 4 years.) No argument would be finished coherently. How did Lithuania survive before this millennium?
by das monde on Mon Oct 15th, 2012 at 03:39:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
How sober are those watching?

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Oct 17th, 2012 at 10:28:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
When soc-dems send their former prime minister Kirkilas to that debate, and he won't formulate a half-objection against legends on his fiscal irresponsibility, some drinks look welcome.
by das monde on Thu Oct 18th, 2012 at 03:39:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Centre-left 'leaders' across Europe are such chickens it's sickening.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Oct 18th, 2012 at 03:48:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Are they paid for those performances?
by das monde on Thu Oct 18th, 2012 at 04:16:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So, assigning 100% of likely and 50% of toss-up runoffs, one gets:

Darbo 32
SD 31
Homeland 33
Liberal 11
DK 9
O&J 11
Polish 10
Green 1
Independents 2
Total 129

Does that make sense?

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Oct 15th, 2012 at 03:46:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm guessing the key will be withdrawal agreements between the future coalition parties, which could tilt the balance in their favour.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Oct 15th, 2012 at 03:53:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
? The total is 140 with two halls rounded down. Thus 141.

Darbo Partija might go to a coalition with the conservatives and liberals, leaving the soc-dems to retire. There is a lot to fight or loose in the 2nd round.

by das monde on Mon Oct 15th, 2012 at 04:11:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Is Darbo Partija  a leader centric construct? Will they go where their leader goes?

I gained the impression that a lot of lithuanian parties are fluid, fluctuating around persons.

by IM on Tue Oct 16th, 2012 at 03:30:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Political personalities frequently create "own" parties to advance to Seimas. But most of them fail: look at Zuokas now, former conservative prime minister Vagnorius, etc.

On the other hand, the Liberal Movement, the social-democrats and the conservatives are clearly more centered around ideology than leaders.

If Uspaskich becomes a prime minister, he and Darbo Partija should be considered as separate entities for a while. Darbo Partija has a number of former leftish hopes, such as the social-liberal almost president Paulauskas.

by das monde on Wed Oct 17th, 2012 at 04:12:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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