News2023.06.06 12:34

Lithuanian parliament votes against holding snap elections

BNS 2023.06.06 12:34

On Tuesday, the Lithuanian parliament voted down a proposal to hold a snap parliament election on September 10.

Sixty-six lawmakers voted against the proposal, 61 were in favour and eight MPs abstained. A simple majority of 85 votes would have been sufficient to approve the motion during the initial hearing.

However, the vote failed to receive backing from the conservative Homeland Union – Lithuanian Christian Democrats (TS-LKD). The largest party in the ruling coalition saw 34 members of its group in the Seimas vote in favour, bur 14 were against and two MPs abstained.

The other two coalition partners, the Liberal Movement and the Freedom Party, were unanimously against holding early elections.

Sixteen members of the opposition Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Union (LVŽS) voted in favour, one against, and one abstained.

The majority of the Social Democrats (LSDP), the most popular party in the opposition, voted in favour – nine MPs were in favour and two against. Meanwhile, one MP from Democrats “For Lithuania”, the party of the country's former prime minister Saulius Skvernelis, was in favour of early elections and all other 14 members voted against.

Presenting the motion earlier in the day, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis, who leads the ruling conservative Homeland Union-Lithuanian Christian Democrats, said a snap election was needed to reset the political system.

"I invite you to support the political system's reset through the renewal of voter confidence. So you have a very simple choice: a general amnesty or a reset through voter confidence," Landsbergis told the Seimas on Tuesday.

The conservatives proposed a snap election in response to an expenses scandal shaking Lithuania.

Earlier, Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonytė said she would resign in mid-July if the early election bid failed to garner support. This would also mean the resignation of the entire cabinet.

Later on Tuesday, she walked back her pledge, saying the cabinet's future depended on the decisions taken by the party's presidium.

"I probably allowed myself a bit too much when I said that, because I am not in the government on my own," Šimonytė told reporters.

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