Łyńdzej, 9 marce 2009 o.

NDS withdraws from government

WARSINA — In the heat of the Florida debate in the Sejm, the Lithuanian New Democratic Union (NDS) has withdrawn its support for the Janać government. After the two ministers responsible for the Republic's Florida policy, Puliny and Bościciału, had given two completely contradictory statements to the Sejm on Saturday afternoon, NDS leader Artūras Zuokas asked the marshall for a short break. After a short deliberation with the only NDS representative in the government, Youth and Sports minister Tomas Julinas, Zuokas addressed the Sejm. He announced that the NDS would leave the coalition, effective immediately.

„We have been tolerating this government long enough”, Zuokas explained to his colleagues. „When we joined the coalition, we did so in the good hope of reorganising the country, making it stable and efficient, just like we have successfully achieved in Samogitia. However, thanks to the chancellor himself, the opposite has happened. Instead of being above the parties like any good chancellor would, Mr. Janać has been working for the interests of his own ŻŻŻ only. Instead of being the glue that holds eleven coalition partners together, 'divide and rule' seems to be his real motto. Instead of filling his government with competent people, Mr. Janać turned it into a second ŻŻŻ, a monkey theatre. His famous 'War on Corruption' has gradually turned into a war against his political opponents, while the case of Florida's governor-general proves that the real corruption goes unpunished. Well now, we, the NDS, will no longer watch these monkeys dance! No more scandals, no more fights, no more blunders! It is time for this country to be ruled by a competent government, not by a group of frustrated people who abuse their power instead of ruling the country. Therefore, the NDS will leave this government immediately, and join the opposition.”

Subsequently, Zuokas demonstratively took place among members of the opposition. He was joined by minister Julinas. Subsequently, such turmoil broke out that the meeting had to be postponed and could be resumed only after an hour.

It took chancellor Janać an almost superhuman effort to save what was left of his coalition and avoid other parties to follow Zuokas' example. Earlier, observers had predicted that the Blok Rzejpybiełkany might do the same, but apart from harsh words on the part of BR chairman Bartołyczy, this has not happened. Thus, for the time being Janać's coalition can stay in office.

However, now that the 18 NDS deputies are no longer supporting the government, the latter's position has become extremely fragile. At present, the coalition of ŻŻŻ, DN/NG, BR, Sułodziefięca, WPP, Respublikonai, VS, Tautininkai and the pro-government faction of the KRN has only 244 deputies in the Sejm. The support of eight smaller parties and an estimated 14 non-aligned Sejm deputies brings the total number of deputies that support the coalition to 272 – a minority among the 603 deputies of the Venedic, Lithuanian, Regional and Provincial Chambers. Now that the anti-Janać camp has grown to 271 deputies (representing 22 parties and 28 non-aligned deputies), the government will be forced to lean heavily on the remaining 60 deputies of the so-called „neutral camp”. The latter consists of 19 mostly regional and minorities' parties, which usually are willing to support the government only in return for hard concessions when it comes to their own political agendas.

This new situation also means that the decision-making process in the Sejm has become even harder than it used to be. Since the 2005 elections, many deputies have left their parliamentary caucus and moved to another causus, established a new one or become non-aligned, so that the Sejm presently consists of no less than 58 different parties (15 of which are represented by one member only) and 46 non-aligned members.

„The Sejm has decisively become undecisive”, politicologist Karół Miedziany from Warsina University comments, jokingly. „It hasn't been this bad for decades. It is impossible for a Sejm as heavy as this one to function normally, even in this weird country. So many parties fighting each other almost to death, blocs and factions changing on an almost daily base. With two radically opposed camps, about equal in size, it becomes virtually impossible to build a solid majority for just about any decision, let alone for dealing with vital issues like the situation in Florida and the trouble in Galicia. The way I see it, we have only two possible solutions: either total stagnation, which means we will watch our country go to hell, or early elections. That's all the choices we have at the moment.”

In the meantime, the Florida debate in the Sejm is far from concluded. It will probably last until Wednesday or Thursday before any final decision will be made.