VILNIUS, 9 NOVEMBER 2020 - A recent round of Lithuanian elections has produced a new government and a new Prime Minister elect.
Homeland Union steered by Ingrida Šimonytė’s emerged victorious from the elections, winning 49 of the 141 seats.
A broad ruling coalition made up of the Lithuanian Christian Democrats, the Liberal Movement (13 seats) led by Viktorija Čmilytė-Nielsen and the Freedom Party (11 seats), led by Aušrinė Armonaitė, was cemented today to form Lithuania's next government.
The government will include more women than the current cabinet, says the TS-LKD's prime ministerial candidate Ingrida Šimonytė. This is in line with world trends which show women playing key roles in business and politics.
“I am grateful to the coalition partners for a quick, effective and constructive process, as we have been discussing for a little over a week and now other phases lie ahead of us,” said Gabriel Landsbergis the HU-LCD leader.
Prime Ministerial candidate Šimonytė has a strong background in economics, has learnt from the mistakes of the previous financial crisis and appreciates how to deliver performance which is optimal for the country. Word on the street is that Šimonytė is a talented economist and a seasoned politician. "She knows how to hold her own," said one journalist.
Speaking of potential differences with the TS-LKD's most likely coalition partners, the liberals, Šimonytė pointed out that differences lie essentially on tax cuts and budget re-distribution.
“The classic discussion could take place on how much the country could cut taxes, while still ensuring funding for education, healthcare, social security and other key areas,” Šimonytė said.
One of Šimonytė’s first tasks will be to work with the leaders of the EU’s other 26 countries to coordinate the final terms of the European Commission’s €750 billion coronavirus recovery fund.
Viktorija Čmilytė-Nielsen, the leader of the Liberal Movement, is tipped to be appointed speaker of parliament.
Aušrinė Armonaitė, the leader of the Freedom Party confirmed that she had already proposed around ten ministers to the candidate for prime minister. “We hope that around 80 to 90 percent of the proposals we have submitted will be included in the government program," she said.
Lithuania has among the highest educated population in Europe and has become an Information Technology (IT) and start-up hub. More than 90 percent of the population has a high school or college education, while the figure rises to 92 percent among women—the highest figure in the whole European Union.
Those that are close to Šimonytė say that she is a seasoned politician, who will work to improve Lithuania’s relationship with the Jewish community.
“Šimonytė appreciates the hazards of building a conference center on a Jewish cemetery,” a member of the Vilnius Jewish community stated. Accordingly, the political minefield of desecrating the Shipishok cemetery by the Lithuanian government, initiated by bank Turto Bankas, can be averted.
Analysts say that the prospect of a solution and the possibility of developing the conference center on another site, is far more likely under the new government.