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2019.12.09 13:00

Biggest opposition party vows to vote against Lithuanian government spending bill

Ignas Jačauskas, BNS2019.12.09 13:00

Lithuania's biggest opposition party, the conservative Homeland Union – Lithuanian Christian Democrats (TS-LKD), will not back the government spending bill, saying the ruling parties fail to prepare for an economic slowdown and and made too many ill-considered tax proposals.

A resolution prepared by the party's council was adopted on Saturday and calls on President Gitanas Nausėda to veto next year's budget bill, unless the makes decisions that would deliver on the “promises given to public sector workers”.

The conservatives claim that the ruling Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Union has failed during the years of economic growth to implement “any structural reforms necessary for Lithuania to escape the middle income trap”.

The “ill-considered and damaging billion-for-million reform”, a tax cut implemented last year, has deprived public coffers of 1 billion euros in revenue and led to “chaos” in next year's budget expenditure and new tax initiatives, the conservatives say.

The TS-LKD council slammed the proposed taxes on banks' assets and big retail chains, saying they would lead to higher prices and would effectively be “just another taxation of consumers”.

“The TS-LKD suggests voting against the irresponsible and divisive 2020 budget bill that fails to deliver on promises,” the party's declaration states.

Gabrielius Landsbergis, the party's chairman, said in his speech that the ruling parties were destroying trust in the state.

As an example, he mentioned a recent case where the government set aside funding to pave a street leading to Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis' house.

“How can one trust a state that's asking me to pay [more in taxes] when I know that this money might be spent on paving a road near the house of one of the state's leaders,” he said.

The latest opinion polls show the conservatives in the lead with 17 percent. The party currently has the largest opposition group, of 36 MPs, in the 141-seat Lithuanian Seimas.