UNRULY CHILD: Arunas Valinskas in the center of this National Resurrection Party’s Internet poster. The inscription reads, “We’ll defend your interests with our teeth.”
VILNIUS - Arunas Valinskas, head of the National Resurrection Party, which is one of the parties creating the ruling center-right coalition, consulted himself and came to the conclusion that he would be the best culture minister for Lithuania. Last week, he told Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius about his intention to recall his party’s former member Remigijus Vilkaitis from the post of culture minister and proposed himself for that post.
On April 23, President Dalia Grybauskaite, visiting the National Library in Vilnius, made a short briefing and stated that Valinskas is not acceptable to her in the post of culture minister. “I would like that a candidate would not have only his own opinion about himself or his party’s opinion. A candidate should be positively evaluated by society. I will not agree with this candidature,” Grybauskaite said about Valinskas’ candidacy to the post of culture minister.
Valinskas reacted to her comments on the same day. “We should get official arguments by the head of state, not an opinion of a pained old woman,” Valinskas told delfi.lt. He used the Lithuanian word “boba,” which in fact has a negative sense and is usually understandable as a “stupid and nasty old woman.” On the same day he gave several more interviews, including to the Baltic News Service and Lithuanian TV stations, where he was repeating the same phrase using the word “boba.” Valinskas also accused Grybauskaite of the unmotivated firing of Vygaudas Usackas from the post of foreign minister. Valinskas criticized Grybauskaite for her refusal to meet U.S. President Barack Obama in Prague. Valinskas also criticized Grybauskaite’s refusal to invite Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili to the celebration of the 20th anniversary of re-establishment of Lithuania’s independence as well as her refusal to go to Georgia to celebrate the Georgian Independence Day.
However, the main point of his criticism was the fact that Grybauskaite pointed out Valinskas’ ratings in the social opinion polls. During all his interviews, Valinskas emphasized that he is the second most unpopular person in Lithuania, while the most unpopular person is Kubilius. Valinskas kept repeating sarcastically that Grybauskaite, by pointing to results of social surveys, indirectly asks Kubilius to step down.
On April 24, Valinskas held a press conference. He said that Grybauskaite’s rule pushes Lithuania towards an “authoritarian regime.” However, on April 25, Valinskas said that he refuses to be a candidate for the post of minister of culture. On April 26, he proposed the candidature of 34-year old opera singer Deividas Staponkus to that post. Kubilius said that he will consider this candidature but he gave no guarantee that he will propose Staponkus to Grybauskaite. Valinskas’ verbal attack against Grybauskaite provoked speculation about the chance of the survival of the current ruling coalition in its current shape because of tensions between Grybauskaite and Valinskas. According to Valinskas, Grybauskaite would prefer to replace the National Resurrection Party with the Order and Justice Party, which was created by former ousted President Rolandas Paksas who is currently a member of the European Parliament, but now is led by Valentinas Mazuronis.