2019.06.11 10:02

Grybauskaitė's presidency: confrontation with governments and focus on foreign policy

President Dalia Grybauskaitė is delivering her tenth and final state of the nation address on Tuesday to review Lithuania's domestic affairs and foreign policy. Before the speech in the parliament, Seimas, the president has also circulated an overview of her two terms in office.

Grybauskaitė's office has put together a factsheet of the president's main achievements over the last decade.

Grybauskaitė made about 250 foreign visits, presented 136 bills, of which over 100 were passed by the Seimas, gave out over 2,000 state awards, and granted amnesty to 127 people. The president also launched three national campaigns, aimed at fighting domestic violence, encouraging reading, and celebrating the Independence Day.

Meanwhile political analysts say Grybauskaitė's record as president is mixed. She adopted a confrontational approach to several governments and concentrated more of her effort on foreign policy.

According to Lauras Bielinis, associate professor at Vytautas Magnus University, the president's achievements must be viewed in terms of how effectively she worked with Lithuania's three governments that served during her terms: that of the conservative Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius (2008-2012), the social democrat Algirdas Butkevičius (2012-2016) and Saulius Skvernelis of the Farmers and Greens Union (since 2016).

“We have seen that she looked for common points with the conservatives and avoided conflict, but she ignored and belittled the social democrats,” Bielinis says. “The president contributed to weakening [Prime Minister] Butkevičius, which led to the party's collapse and the Farmers-Greens filling in the vacuum.”

Nor has Grybauskaitė been accommodating to the current government, Bielinis adds, but the Farmers and Greens Union has a strong standing in parliament and therefore could largely ignore the president.

“Therefore, she retreated from domestic politics and we've seen more of her acting in foreign policy,” according to Bielinis.

Gitanas Nausėda will be inaugurated as Lithuania's next president on July 12.