Viewing cable 06VILNIUS431
Title: LABOR PARTY SPLITS, COALITION KEEPS IT TOGETHER

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
06VILNIUS4312006-05-10 14:38:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Vilnius
VZCZCXRO0083
PP RUEHAG
DE RUEHVL #0431/01 1301438
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 101438Z MAY 06
FM AMEMBASSY VILNIUS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0140
INFO RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 VILNIUS 000431 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR EUR/NB 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/09/2016 
TAGS: PGOV LH
SUBJECT: LABOR PARTY SPLITS, COALITION KEEPS IT TOGETHER 
 
REF: A. VILNIUS 357 
 
     ¶B. VILNIUS 367 
     ¶C. VILNIUS 376 
 
Classified By: POL/ECON Officer Randolph Flay for reasons 1.4 b and d 
 
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SUMMARY 
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¶1. (C) Eight members of parliament, including the newly 
elected Speaker, withdrew from the Labor Party May 2 and 3, 
formed a new parliamentary group, and promised to support the 
ruling coalition of which they are no longer officially 
members.  Over four hundred Labor Party members followed the 
parliamentarians and exited the party.  The exodus reflected 
dissatisfaction with party leader Viktor Uspaskich, rather 
than with the direction of the Government, and we expect the 
coalition to continue in power without interruption.  When 
the dust settles, Prime Minister Brazauskas will likely have 
strengthened his control of the Government.  The events may 
also herald a rough road ahead for Uspaskich's Labor Party. 
End summary. 
 
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Labor Flight 
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¶2. (U) Eight MPs, including Speaker of Parliament Viktoras 
Muntianas, left the Labor Party May 2 and 3 in protest of 
party leader Uspaskich's "undemocratic" leadership. 
Muntianas's disaffection with the party followed Uspaskich's 
April 29 decision to remove Muntianas from his position as 
party vice chairman.  Other exiting MPs publicly voiced 
concern about press reports of Uspaskich's romantic and moral 
misadventures.  More than 400 Labor Party members, including 
the local leaders and the mayor of Uspaskich's hometown, 
Kedainiai, exited regional chapters in Kedainiai and 
Lithuania's second largest city, Kaunas. 
 
¶3. (U) The break-away Labor Party members, together with 
three independent parliamentarians and a Liberal Democrat, 
established a new parliamentary group, the Civil Democracy 
group.  (Note: Parliamentary groups are distinct from 
political parties, which must meet membership and 
registration criteria, and with which they are generally 
associated.)  Media report that the group plans to establish 
a new party or, to avoid the bureaucratic process of 
registering a new party, to take over with the Citizens' 
Union, a political party of fewer than 2,000 members and no 
MPs who broke away from former President Rolandas Paksas's 
Liberal Democrats in early 2005. 
 
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Coalition ) Stirred, not Shaken 
--------------------------------- 
 
¶4. (C) The flight of the Labor Party MPs leaves the 
three-party coalition, at least temporarily, with 62 seats in 
the 141-member parliament, but the Government faces little 
risk, despite its minority status.  The new Civil Democracy 
group has declared support for the coalition's program and 
signed an agreement May 10 to cooperate with the coalition's 
parliamentary groups, thereby restoring a voting majority. 
If the group establishes itself as a party, Social Democratic 
MP Algirdas Paleckis told us, it will likely be able to join 
the coalition. 
 
¶5. (U) For now, Muntianas continues to hold his position as 
Speaker.  Vice Speaker Ceslovas Jursenas, one of the most 
influential Social Democrats in the parliament, remarked to 
the media that he does not see any need for Muntianas's 
removal given his expressed and continued support for the 
coalition's program.  Without party status, the group can 
make no claim to cabinet seats, but does control four 
parliamentary leadership positions in addition to the 
Speaker, including the chairs of the budget and finance 
committee and the intelligence oversight committee. 
 
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Taking Uspaskich Down -- One Peg 
-------------------------------- 
 
¶6. (U) Muntianas's move wrested the Speaker and committee 
heads from the Labor Party's direct control.  According to 
media reports, Muntianas tried also to convince the PM to 
shift the coalition council from the parties to the 
parliamentary groups, a move that would have cut Uspaskich 
(not an MP) out of decision-making.  Brazauskas said no. 
 
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VILNIUS 00000431  002 OF 002 
 
 
Cabinet Seats 
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¶7. (C) PM Brazauskas has delayed presenting to President 
Valdas Adamkus the resignations of FM Antanas Valionis and 
Social Protection and Labor Minister (S&L Minister) Vilija 
Blinkeviciute (ref A). The PM is currently traveling outside 
Lithuania, and reports suggest that he will submit the 
resignations along with his candidates for the posts on or 
after May 15.  While contacts within the Presidency told us 
they expect Brazauskas to nominate Ambassador Petras 
Vaitekunas for Foreign Minister and LP's Loreta Grauziniene 
for Social Protection and Labor Minister, analysts speculate 
that if Muntianas forms a party in the meantime, he could 
claim a seat. 
 
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COMMENT: Coalition Stability 
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¶8. (C) Lithuania,s multiparty politics is as volatile as 
ever.  The redistribution of Cabinet seats is on hold, MPs' 
party affiliations are in flux, and the number of parties 
constituting the now-minority ruling coalition keeps 
changing.  What has not changed is the Government,s 
underlying stability and character.  The coalition will 
likely restore its majority status as quickly as it 
reconstituted its parliamentary voting strength.  For one 
thing, the players remain the same.  For another, there is no 
plausible alternative. 
 
¶9. (C) The most intriguing development concerns the Labor 
Party.  While it is premature to write off what  remains the 
biggest group in the coalition, Muntianas and company,s 
departure certainly weakens Labor leader Uspaskich. 
KELLY