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2019.05.30 13:26

Lithuania's ruling parties open talks on new coalition

BNS, LRT.lt2019.05.30 13:26

The ruling parties in the Lithuanian parliament have started talks on a new coalition agreement on Thursday, the biggest party's leader has said. All the government posts are up for negotiations.

“(The talks) are starting today. Negotiating groups are holding meetings and I expect we'll have some news shortly,” Ramūnas Karbauskis, the leader of the Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Union (LVŽS), told reporters on Thursday.

“It is our position that the government's program should not be revised. We may just look through the work plan. I do hope a week will be enough for us,” he added.

Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis has indicated he would prefer to see more politicians in the new cabinet, as opposed to the current “government of professionals” where many of the ministers are not party members.

“A minister who participates in politics has more political trust and, importantly, he is tied to political responsibility,” Skvernelis told reporters.

The prime minister reiterated that the entire cabinet may be reshuffled under the new coalition agreement, including his own position.

He added that no particular names are being considered yet.

The LVŽS plans to holds talks with the Lithuanian Social Democratic Labor Party (LSDDP) and, possibly, the Order and Justice Party on Thursday, with the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania–Christian Families Alliance (LLRA-KŠS) expected to join them on Friday, according to Karbauskis.

Following the presidential election, the Farmers and Greens announced they were launching talks on a broader ruling coalition.

The LSDDP and the Order and Justice said on Wednesday that they suspended all existing coalition agreements with the LVŽS.

Working lunch

Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis, LVŽS leader Ramūnas Karbauskis, LSDDP leader Gediminas Kirkilas and leader of the Order and Justice party Remigijus Žemaitaitis met for working lunch on Thursday afternoon, the government's press service said.

Valdemar Tomaševski, leader of the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania – Christian Families Alliance, told BNS that his party is considering the invitation to join the ruling coalition, but he has no plans to attend such meetings yet.

“I still have plenty of time until July 12,” he said.

The LVŽS, the biggest party in the parliament, had a coalition agreement with the LSDDP and a cooperation agreement with the Order and Justice party. Among the three, they shared 69 seats in the Lithuanian Parliament of 141.

MPs of the Electoral Action of Poles group often supports their legislative initiatives, bringing the total number to 77.