News2023.05.25 12:57

Coalition should stay if cabinet quits, says Lithuanian liberals’ leader

BNS 2023.05.25 12:57

Lithuania’s ruling centre-right coalition should remain in place if Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonytė’s cabinet steps down, Viktorija Čmilytė-Nielsen, parliament speaker and leader of the Liberal Movement, said on Thursday.   

“In my opinion, and I am speaking not only as the speaker of the Seimas, but also as the chairwoman of the Liberal Movement, we should continue to cooperate constructively in this coalition, and I will certainly suggest that my colleagues in my party and in the coalition do so,” she told reporters.

The Liberal Movement’s political group in the Seimas also said on Thursday that it will seek to preserve the current coalition and hopes to maintain relations with its larger coalition partner, the Homeland Union-Lithuanian Christian Democrats (TS-LKD).

“Although the political turmoil has reached a boiling point lately, let us separate individual personalities from the communities of the ruling parties,” Eugenijus Gentvilas, head of the Liberal Movement’s group, said in a statement.

“We still have a working coalition with TS-LKD, and we hope to maintain it,” he added.

If the current government resigns in July, the Liberal Movement would be in favour of forming a new cabinet together with TS-LKD, the largest coalition party, according to the statement.

Economy and Innovation Minister Aušrinė Armonaitė, who is chairwoman of the Freedom Party, the third member of the ruling bloc, has said that the coalition agreement would expire if Prime Minister Šimonytė resigned because she is named in the deal as the head of the government.

The Freedom Party would, however, consider participating in another coalition, according to Armonaitė.

TS-LKD, the Liberal Movement and the Freedom Party formed the government coalition after the general election in late 2020. The three parties currently have 74 seats in the 141-member parliament.

The presidium of TS-LKD has called for snap elections in the wake of the municipal expenses scandal, involving several ministers. If the Lithuanian parliament does not back the early elections initiative, Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonytė vows to step down.

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