Farewell to the Conservatives

  • 2000-10-12
The new landscape after the Lithuanian election is clear: The Conservatives are beaten. They will have nine MPs in the 141-seat Parliament. Now nobody will pay attention to the Conservative leader Vytautas Landsbergis unless he does something extravagant like attending the Parliament's session with an eye patch and a parrot on his shoulder. The failure of the Conservatives was caused to a great extent by the personality of their leader.

Leaders of the Center Union and the Christian Democratic Party announced their resignation after unsuccessful elections. Landsbergis did not resign from the party chairman's post. It says everything about him.

After 50 years, the Lithuanian nation will build monuments in town squares, to Landsbergis' activities during the fight for Lithuanian independence in 1990. However, during the last couple of years Landsbergis' activity has been rather destructive. Very few would disagree with this statement in Lithuania. Now Landsbergis has much more support among elderly emigrants in the United States and other "political observers" who live abroad. It is understandable - not much information about Lithuania gets even over the border to Latvia. It explains why foreigners still respect Landsbergis because of his former glory.

During the last days of Conservative rule, Landsbergis found "Russian agents" everywhere outside his own office. This hysteria made it impossible to create a common bloc with the Liberal Union although the two parties' programs are almost identical. Even the Conservatives' coalition with the Social Liberals of Arturas Paulauskas would be possible after some negotiations, were it not for Landsbergis.

Landsbergis and his followers accused Paulauskas of being the son of a KGB officer, as if sons were responsible for their fathers' wrongdoings. It is a shame that Landsbergis forgot that in agreeing to become the first prosecutor general of independent Lithuania in 1990 Paulauskas risked a lot, no less than Landsbergis himself.

It would be better for the Conservatives to elect the outgoing Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius as their chairman. He is a pragmatic and civilized man.

For the first time since independence, Lithuania will have a coalition government. Let's hope it will turn out to be rather healthy for the country, which is used to the domination of leftists or conservatives.