Viewing cable 06VILNIUS376
Title: LITHUANIAN COALITION LOSES ITS MAJORITY, BUT

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
06VILNIUS3762006-04-20 15:39:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Vilnius
VZCZCXRO9510
RR RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHVL #0376/01 1101539
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 201539Z APR 06 ZDK
FM AMEMBASSY VILNIUS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0087
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RHEHNSC/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 VILNIUS 000376 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/20/2016 
TAGS: PGOV LH
SUBJECT: LITHUANIAN COALITION LOSES ITS MAJORITY, BUT 
LIKELY TO RETAIN POWER 
 
REF: REF A: VILNIUS 356 REF B: VILNIUS 367 
 
Classified By: Pol/econ officer Traver Gudie for reasons 1.4(b,d) 
 
¶1. (C) SUMMARY:  A member of Lithuania's ruling coalition, 
Kazys Bobelis, withdrew from his party April 20, depriving 
the coalition government of a clear majority in the 
Parliament.  This move comes nine days after the parliament 
removed its speaker, prompting the speaker's Nw Union 
(Social Liberals) party to exit the  ruling coalition, thus 
reducing the coalition's majority to a narrow 71 of 141 seats 
and (presumably) vacating two ministerial posts (reftels). 
Bobelis' withdrawal is not the result of a concerted effort 
by opposition parties to pull members from the coalition, and 
coalition MPs are (rightly) confident that the coalition 
parties will remain in power.  The move nonetheless 
complicates the negotiations over vacant ministerial posts 
for foreign affairs and labor, and may affect horse-trading 
over the newly vacant chairs of four parliamentary committees 
(including NATO and Ethics), as the coalition parties 
negotiate with individual MPs and even other parties about 
joining the would-be majority.  END SUMMARY. 
 
Bobelis' withdrawal is a surprise to everyone 
--------------------------------------------- - 
 
¶2. (C) Bobelis, a Lithuanian-American urologist who spends 
much of his time in Florida, announced April 27 his intention 
to withdraw from the National Farmers Union and join the 
Liberal Democrats, an opposition party led by the impeached 
president Rolandas Paksas.  Explaining his withdrawal to the 
press, Bobelis criticized his party and the ruling coalition 
as ineffective and intrigue-driven.  A National Farmer's 
Union Elder publicly characterized Bobelis's motivations 
differently, saying that he left after the party declined to 
seek the Foreign Minister's post, long an (unrealistic) 
aspiration of Bobelis.  Laima Mogeniene, a member of the 
National Farmer's Union parliamentary caucus, told us that 
Bobelis's withdrawal came as a surprise.  Mogeniene said that 
the 83-year-old Bobelis had earlier told his then-party 
colleagues that he intended to leave parliament to make way 
for another party member from the party list. 
 
Coalition confident it will retain power 
---------------------------------------- 
 
¶3. (C) MPs from the ruling coalition have told us that they 
are confident that Bobelis' move does not threaten the 
coalition's rule, telling us that they are working to attract 
minority MPs or even a fourth party to the coalition. 
Algirdas Paleckis, of the ruling Social Democratic Party, 
told us that the coalition parties are negotiating with 
several opposition MPs as well as other parties.  Asked about 
deals with the Social Liberals (who just left the coalition), 
or the Liberal Democrats, Paleckis said, "all options are 
open."  Social Democrat Juozas Olekas assured journalists 
April 20 that the coalition will be able to defend its 
government and legislative initiatives relying on the votes 
of opposition members and the parliament's six unaffiliated 
members.  An influential member of the opposition from the 
Conservatives, Rasa Jukneviciene, privately agreed that the 
coalition would be able to attract another party or 
individual members to the coalition government, and that, in 
any case, there was little chance of unity among the 
opposition.  She told us that coalition representatives were 
negotiating with various other opposition parties:  the 
Liberal and Center Union, the Liberal Movement, and the 
Liberal Democrats. 
 
Horse-trading continues, composition of cabinet uncertain 
--------------------------------------------- ------------ 
 
¶4. (C) The three-party coalition will continue negotiations 
for the vacant posts of the foreign affairs and labor 
ministers, previously held by the Social Liberals.  Hoping to 
remain Labor minister, the popular politician Vilija 
Blinkeviciute has withdrawn her resignation, which she had 
given to the PM following her party's withdrawal from the 
coalition.  The press reports that the three coalition 
parties nevertheless agree that she is unlikely to continue 
in the post.  The Labor Party has declared that it will claim 
the rights to both posts and will propose candidates to fill 
them.  However, the National Farmer's Union implied to the 
press that the Social Democrats had promised their party the 
Labor minister's post.  Several MPs from various parties told 
us that the composition of the cabinet remains uncertain. 
 
Comment: Ruling parties likely to retain power 
--------------------------------------------- -- 
 
¶5. (C) This is not the last act in Lithuania's current 
 
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political drama.  While loss of majority and the coalition's 
attempt to attract members from the opposition may affect the 
current horse-trading in parliament, it will probably not 
upset the tripartite coalition,s rule. 
KELLY