Lithuania is a country located in the region of Northern Europe. In the October 2016 parliamentary elections, the Center Party of Lithuanian Peasants and Green’s Alliance (LVŽS) became the big winner as it increased from a single mandate in the outgoing Parliament to a full 54 seats. In December of that year, LVŽS surprisingly formed a coalition government with the ruling Socialist Party, the major loser. However, a crisis between the government parties arose in September 2017, after which the Social Democrats left the government.
Unemployment and economic inequality were the main issues during the general elections before the parliamentary elections in the fall of 2016. Neither right-wing nor left-wing governments had been able to achieve high standards of living or slow down emigration, and voters now hoped for middle-class politicians to create the long-awaited changes. Lithuania has seen hundreds of thousands of people move west in search of better living conditions.
- Countryaah: Country facts and history of Lithuania, including state flag, location map, demographics, GDP data, currency code, and business statistics.
The second largest in the election was the Fosterlands-Lithuanian Christian Democrats with 31 seats, while the Social Democratic Party lost more than half of its seats and remained at 17. The other major loser was the Labor Party, which previously had 29 seats but backed to 2. Another six small parties were seated. in Parliament.
In November, LVŽS leader Ramūnas Karbauskis announced that the party had agreed with the Social Democrats to form a government with Saulius Skvernelis as prime minister. As a former national police chief, Skvernelis had become popular for his tough attitude to corruption. He represents the alliance of Lithuanian peasants and the Greens but is not a formal party member. Several other new ministers are also outside party politics. The party leader and billionaire Karbauskis owns large land areas and industries in the agricultural sector.
The new coalition government formally took office in December 2016 after being approved by Parliament. Social Democrat Linas Linkevičius held the post of Foreign Minister. He has a clearly critical attitude towards Russian policy towards the Baltic States. One of the new government’s main tasks was to deal with Lithuania’s severely deteriorating relations with Russia (see further Foreign Policy and Defense). Another challenge was to try to curb the large relocation that risks leading to social and economic crisis as young, well-educated people leave the country and the proportion of pensioners is rapidly increasing. A third priority policy area was to reduce the social gaps in society, as around one-third of Lithuanians live in such precarious economic conditions that they run a considerable risk of falling into poverty.
On the plus side of the new government was that it took over after two governments (a bourgeois 2008–2012 and a social democratic 2012–2016) that were successful in dealing with the effects of the global financial crisis that erupted in 2008. The economy was so stable that Lithuania at the new year 2015 could enter into euro cooperation and switch to the euro as currency (see further Financial overview).
However, the Social Democratic Party formally ceased government cooperation with LVŽS as early as September 2017, after less than a year due to differing views on what policy was to be pursued. According to the Social Democrats, cooperation has been gnawing all the time and LVŽS has indicated the focus on almost all issues. Linas Linkevičius, along with another couple of former Social Democratic ministers, however, chose to leave the Social Democrats in order to remain in government. At the same time, a majority of the party comrades in the parliamentary group declared that they intended to continue to support the government. In March 2018, the outbreak group from the Social Democrats formed their own party, the Lithuanian Social Democratic Workers Party (LSDDP) and a month later the party formally became part of a government coalition with LVŽS. Six months later, the government parties reached an agreement with the Party Order and Justice, that this would support the government in voting in Parliament. During the term of office, the opposition Federation of Lithuanian Christian Democrats has gradually strengthened its position and its support among voters has increased. Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis, who hoped to be elected new president, did not move on after the first round of elections in mid-May 2019, which was seen as a sign that confidence in him and government policy was failing among voters. Gitanas Nausėda won in the second round of the presidential election.
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FACTS – POLITICS
Lietuvos Respublika / Republic of Lithuania
republic, unitary state
Head of State
President Gitanas Nausėda (2019–)
Head of government
Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis (2016-)
Most important parties with mandates in the last election
Peasants ‘and Greens’ Federation 54, Fosterland League 31, Social Democrats 17, Liberal Movement 14, Election Campaign for Poles in Lithuania 8, Order and Justice 8, Labor Party 29, Labor Party 2, Others and Independence 7 (2016)
Main parties with mandates in the second most recent elections
Social Democrats 38, Confederation of Confederates 33, Labor Party 29, Order and Justice 11, Liberal Movement 10, Election Campaign for Poles in Lithuania 8, The Brave Road 7, Peasants and the Greens 1, Others 4 (2012)
50% + 38% in both rounds of the 2016 parliamentary elections, 47% in the 2014 presidential election
parliamentary elections 2020, presidential elections 2024
Conflict with Austria
A diplomatic crisis arises between Lithuania and Austria when the Vienna authorities do not release a former KGB general accused of leading the assault on the border guards in 1991 (see May 2011).
The retirement age is being raised
Parliament votes to gradually increase the retirement age to 65 years from the current 60 years for women and 62.5 years for men; The retirement age of women is increased by four months a year and men’s by two months a year until 2026. According to Prime Minister Kubilius, the decision is necessary to secure the future of the pension system.
Lifetime prison for Soviet police
A man is sentenced to life imprisonment for the murders of seven Lithuanian police officers and guards at the Belarusian border in July 1991. The man belonged to the Soviet Ministry of the Interior’s special forces at the time of the assassination. Three other suspects have been asked in vain to be extradited from Russia.
Language teams receive criticism
Parliament adopts a new school law requiring increased teaching of Lithuanian in the schools of linguistic minorities; The law raises protests within the Polish-speaking minority.