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2019.07.09 09:00

No need to 'save' the party, PM conditions unacceptable claims ruling party leader

Saulius Jakučionis, BNS2019.07.09 09:00

Ramūnas Karbauskis, leader of the Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Union (LVŽS), says Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis' conditions for his party membership are unacceptable, adding that there is no need to "save" the party.

Head of the ruling party says the LVŽS is open to Skvernelis, but he could seek changes only after joining it.

"It sounds a bit strange. I have never heard of anyone joining the union and setting some pre-conditions," Karbauskis told BNS on Monday.

The conditions include "changing the party's name, changing the values, that it needs to open up," he said.

Asked if he finds such conditions acceptable, the LVŽS leader said: "No [...] and I think they are not acceptable for party members as well."

"It’s an attempt to say that you have to do this and then maybe I will join you and save you. But in fact there's nothing to save as we have worked together for the past two and a half years," Karbauskis said.

His comments came in response to Skvernelis' statement earlier that the LVŽS needs to change if it wants to see him as its candidate in the upcoming general election next year.

Read more: Ruling party needs change, PM says, or he won’t represent it during 2020 election

Skirmantas Malinauskas, an advisor to the prime minister, said on Monday that Skernelis would probably run for the party's chairman after joining the party. The move has already been backed by Speaker of the Seimas Viktoras Pranckietis, representing the LVŽS.

The prime minister confirmed he would join the LVŽS if it changed its strategy, behavior, rhetoric and the decision-making process and looked for ways to attracts young people and city voters.

The LVŽS has over 4,500 members and 49 seats in the parliament, excluding Pranckietis.