Lithuania's ruling block meets after dispute-causing vote, plans to continue working

  • 2022-11-28
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS - Representatives of the ruling coalition in Lithuania met on Monday with Speaker of the Seimas Viktorija Cmilyte-Nielsen after a conflict-causing vote on VAT relief and say they vow to continue working together.

"We meet all the time, today is a regular Monday meeting, we are going to continue to meet, everything is fine," Cmilyte-Nielsen, the leader of the Liberal Movement, told reporters after the meeting.

Delegated by the ruling conservative Homeland Union – Lithuanian Christian Democrats, Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte refrained to comment on the meeting, saying that everything was said last week.

Last Wednesday, the Presidium of the HU-LCD stated that the Freedom Party had violated the coalition agreement after initiating amendments on VAT relief, but the conservatives decided not to take any further action.

Freedom Party leader and Economy and Innovation Minister Ausrine Armonaite said after the Monday meeting that the December agenda was discussed, but she didn't say whether the party was demanding for the issues of partnerships and the decriminalization of small amounts of light drugs be put on the agenda before the end of the parliament session.

"We had a working meeting, these meetings are held regularly. Since we believe we need to talk among ourselves, and not through the media, I will not disclose the content of the conversation either, we discussed the work for December," Armonaite said.

The Seimas speaker said there were no requests to put bills on civil unions and the decriminalization of small amounts of light drugs on the agenda before Christmas, adding that that both bills had gone through the initial submission stage, so they "may or may not appear on the agenda".

Radvile Morkunaite-Mikuleniene, the elder of the HU-LCD political group in the Seimas, insisted that the coalition would continue to work, adding that the parties agreed on the session agenda and "there's no drama in it".

Last Tuesday, before adopting the 2023 state budget, the Seimas of Lithuania backed the Freedom Party's proposal to extend the reduced 9 percent VAT rate for the catering sector until the end of 2023, instead of extending it for six months as the government planned.

Speaking later on after a meeting of his party's presidium, HU-LCD leader Gabrielius Landsbergis said it was concluded that the Freedom Party had breached their coalition agreement's clause to back the government's policy.