If Gitanas Nausėda, an independent candidate, is elected president, relations will improve between the president's office and Lithuania's ruling party, the Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Union (LVŽS), according to its leader.
Ramūnas Karbauskis and other LVŽS MPs met with the presidential candidate on Wednesday.
“If I had to give my personal opinion, I'd say yes, it [relations between the LVŽS and the president] will change,” Karbauskis said after the meeting.
He added that tensions with the current head of state, Dalia Grybauskaitė, were entirely due to hostility from the presidential palace.
“We can hear more talk about cooperation in the rhetoric of Nausėda who visited us today,” Karbauskis said.
He noted, however, that there were still differences of opinion.
“His [Nausėda's] answers were more positive than negative. Differences of opinion are evident, but so is willingness to talk and that is a good thing,” according to Karbauskis.
“The goal of my visit was not to secure the support of one party or another, specifically the LVŽS, but I believe that the questions that were raised are important to not just this group, but to every Lithuanian voter,” Nausėda told LRT TV after the meeting.
Meanwhile Karbauskis emphasised that the other presidential candidate, conservative nominee Ingrida Šimonytė, rejected the invitation to discuss policy with MPs of the ruling coalition. Karbauskis suggested that should Šimonytė win the presidency in the runoff election this Sunday, tensions between the ruling party and the head of state would remain high.
Šimonytė said she refused the invitation because of busy scheduling.
“I simply have other plans. The farmers are sending invitations for the time that suits them, but the last days of the campaign are tightly planned and I am busy. I am sorry, but the LVŽS know me, we've been working in the parliament for two and a half years, they know what I think about the issues they raise,” Šimonytė explained her reasons for not meeting the LVŽS MPs to LRT TV.
Karbauskis said he would not support Šimonytė, but the LVŽS would make the decision on whether to officially endorse Nausėda on Thursday.
The LVŽS's candidate, Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis, finished third in the first round of voting on May 12 and did not qualify for the runoff.
No endorsement from social democrats
Nausėda also met with MPs of the opposition Social Democratic Party. The party reiterated, however, that it would not endorse either of the candidates.
Gintautas Paluckas, the social democratic leader, praised Nausėda's emphasis on welfare state in his platform, but said he did not like the candidate's lukewarm attitude towards human rights issues.
“In the area of human rights, Mr. Nausėda's attitude is very traditionalist. Our progressive wing doesn’t like it,” the social democrat said.