C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 VILNIUS 000912
E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/26/2018
TAGS: PGOV PREL LH
SUBJECT: CONSERVATIVES WIN SECOND ROUND; CENTER-RIGHT
REF: VILNIUS 855 AND PREVIOUS
Classified By: Charge d'affaires a.i. Damian Leader for reasons 1.4 (b)
Â¶1. (C) Summary: With preliminary results in, the
Conservative Party appears to have won a significant
plurality in the new Seimas (parliament) with 44 (of a total
171) seats. The Conservatives are moving quickly with
probable coalition partners National Revival, Liberal
Movement, and Liberal and Center Union in announcing their
intention to form a government. Should they be successful,
we expect this coalition to take steps to address the impact
of the global financial crisis. We also expect the new
government to be as pro-American and pro-NATO as its
predecessor. End summary.
Conservatives Well-Placed to Lead Coalition
Â¶2. (U) Building on their October 12 first-round success,
Lithuania's Conservatives rolled to further victory in the
October 26 second-round Seimas elections, winning 26 of the
44 single-mandate runoffs in which they competed. Combined
with the 18 seats they earned via party list (note: revised
upward from reftel), their 44 seats place them well to lead
Â¶3. (U) Four runoff races currently face a recount because the
candidates were separated by less than 50 votes. The recount
can only benefit the Conservatives, as initial results in all
four races show their candidates losing.
Â¶4. (U) Pending final results, the distribution of seats in
the new Seimas looks as follows:
Social Democrats 26
National Revival 16
Order and Justice 15
Liberal Movement 11
Liberal and Center Union 8
Polish Electoral Action 3
Peasant Nationalists 3
Social Liberals 1
Â¶5. (U) The Conservatives, National Revival, Liberal Movement,
and Liberal and Center Union announced their intention to
form a coalition, signing a cooperation agreement October 27.
Their 79-seat majority could easily increase based on
recounts or by having independents or others (like the sole
Social Liberal member) join.
Timeline to a New Government
Â¶6. (U) Once election results are final, the new Seimas must
be convened by the President within 15 days. The latest this
could happen would be November 18. Then, the President
officially proposes the candidacy of a Prime Minister, to be
approved by the Seimas within 15 days (not later than
December 4). Once the Prime Minister is approved, s/he has
15 days to present her/his program and proposed Cabinet to
the Seimas (nlt December 19), which then has no more than 15
days to consider and approve them (nlt early January).
Although the mechanism for forming a government was not
necessarily designed for speed, the potential coalition has
already indicated it hopes to move through the process
quickly. One reason to do so would be to allow the new
Seimas to consider the 2009 budget, which must be completed
prior to the end of the year.
Â¶7. (U) Much horsetrading remains to be done before a
coalition is formed, but the parties are already staking
claims to posts. Conservative Party leader Andrius Kubilius
has already announced that his party would seek the top slots
at the Economy, Finance, Defense, and Foreign Ministries.
Revival Party leader Arunas Valinskas has said he expects his
party to get both Interior and Justice Ministries, as well as
the Seimas Speaker's post (not necessarily for himself).
Regarding the choice for a Prime Minister, President Adamkus
has already been quoted saying that according to "prevailing
world practice," the government would be formed by the party
which won the most seats.
What Policies Should We Expect?
VILNIUS 00000912 002 OF 002
Â¶8. (C) The National Revival Party, newly established, has
little track record to judge by, but ran on a platform of
responsible government. The Conservatives and both Liberal
parties have generally pro-business stances, and, should the
coalition successfully form, we expect this to be reflected
in its policies. At a four-party press conference held
October 27, Kubilius made it clear that the coalition's first
concern would be taking steps to address the impact of the
global financial crisis, in part by tackling budget deficits
and slowing GDP growth.
Â¶9. (C) Members of this four-party coalition have a history of
close relations with the United States, and strongly support
NATO. We expect this trend to continue. At the October 27
press conference, they pledged to work to battle corruption,
and to improve Lithuania's energy policies. The latter will
include a close look at the formation of LEO LT and its
structure, "to make sure it properly represents the country