D. Grybauskaitė is trying to block the unborn “Way of Courage” party?
The Seimas [Parliament] of the Republic of Lithuania with no doubts accepted the new law offered by President Dalia Grybauskaitė according to which it is forbidden to fund political parties through business companies. All parties in Seimas next year will share 20 million Litas from the budget and those parties which are not in the Seimas will not get any funding from the budget. Moreover, most activities of other parties will be forbidden as well, because they will not get funding from their supporters.
Laisvas Laikraštis (LL newspaper) sources are sure that this move of the President and the Seimas is addressed against freshman in the political field — “The Way of Courage” party, which will have an inaugural meeting take place next year on the 7th of January. “We were thinking to arrange an inaugural meeting on the 24th of December, but we were not able to do it because of Christmas. We will make it on 7th of January instead of the previous date,” said the aunt of Drąsius Kedys, Audronė Skučiene, in the interview with LL. “1 think they will reject our application to establish the party “The Way of Courage” at least two times. They will find any minor mistake and the Ministry of Justice will reject our application.”
It is predicted that on the 7th of January the chairman of “The Way of Courage” who will be nominated and elected will be priest J. Varkala. Moreover, before the election to the Seimas the chairman of the party will become Neringa Venckienė, whose relatives are afraid that if she leaves her job in the Kaunas Regional court and loses her current immunity, prosecutors will pour out on her dozens of criminal proceedings.
It is natural that Seimas is trying to block the unborn “Way of Courage” — all parties know that new political power will take a large part of the voters, so it is not surprising to see different attempts to interfere with the activities of “The Way of Courage.” Therefore, it is not strange when parties agreed to this new legislative act, which also takes away their possibilities of additional funding. But why has the president, who publicly shows solidarity with N. Venckienė, suddenly become concerned and is blocking “The Way of Courage?” What happened to D. Grybauskaitė who initiated this new law, and how are new parties supposed to compete against old parties, which will get funding from the budget? The president’s adviser, Daiva Ulbinaitė, who was interviewed by LL, did not have an answer to that question. “I can’t answer this question without any preparation”, she told LL. Asked whether this law was initiated in order to block “The Way of
Courage” D. Ulbinaite stated, “I am not obliged to state any political evaluation on this question.” She promised to answer our question in written form within the time frame, “which is provided by law.”
The Presidential Press Service provided LL with answers to the following given questions: What should new parties (or those not in the Parliament) do regarding this new law? How should they carry out activities? Is this law directed against one party – “The Way of Courage?”
“Over the election, there should be competition between politicians and their ideas, not between the money of interest groups standing behind them, That was exactly the purpose of initiating corrections of this law about political parties, political campaigns and their financial control, which forbids funding from business structures. These corrections do not put new parties at a disadvantage. On the contrary, this new law should promote the establishment of new parties, which would be independent from unclean money and should be supported by people and their ideas.
New parties, as well as those not in the Parliament, will have a chance to get 1% from volunteers after the state income tax. Moreover, all political parties registered as independent members of political campaign, over the span of the campaign (6 months before the announced election) will be able to collect donations from natural persons. Furthermore, political parties are allowed to collect a member fee.
Until now, new parties were not able to get funding from the budget. Moreover, the prohibition of funding political parties by natural or legal persons outside the campaign season was applied to all parties: parliamentary, non-parliamcntary, or new parties.
Have a nice day,
Presidential Press Service”
The Minister of Justice, Remigijus Simasius, initiated many revisions of the law in order to forbid participation in the election of the Seimas, municipalities, and the European Parliament for parties, which were established less than six months before the election and for those that are being liquidated. There is no doubt that these laws were presented in order to prevent “The Way of Courage” from participating in election. Revisions by R. Simasius were offered in all of the main laws regarding elections. The Minister offers that parties established 185 days before elections to the Seimas, municipalities, or the European Parliament would not be able to register their list of candidates. That same barrier would be used against parties in liquidation. R. Simasius’ proposals puts the same requirements on presidential election law as well: according to this revision parties established less than six months before the election would not be allow to field a candidate in the presidential election. If the Seimas agrees to this new law, the changes will come into force starting next July – three months before elections to the Seimas. As planned, elections to the Seimas should take place on the 14th of October; therefore, R. Simasius’ changes would prohibit the participation of new parties established in April or later. The Minister of Justice’s changes could harm the Labor party as well, which is considered the main favorite in the election. If prosecutors start the liquidation of this party because of charges of illegal bookkeeping, it will not be able to participate in the election.
Changes in the law about political parties and their financial control surprised the Seimas. Some members of parliament (MPs) were not hiding emotions, because 18 months ago an analogous law was rejected unanimously. Now, just nine months before the election the Seimas unanimously votes for this new law. Considering this law, MP Valentinas Mazuronis wondered, “Truly, this Seimas keeps surprising me. I don’t know how to explain this metamorphosis not only to my wife and children, but for myself as well. It seems just half a year ago we discussed this law, and it was rejected by a very large majority of votes. After just half a year, the same law gets thunderous applause. My dear colleagues, I am asking you, what happened over those six months in the Lithuanian political system? Can it be that only an initiator of this law proposal is different and that impacts whether the Seimas accepts the proposal or not? You know, I could provide you with 10 or more laws considered in last three years, when the Seimas changed its opinion after a month, week, or 2-3 days. Is this the way to prove yourself in the eyes of voters? I doubt it.
Now, getting back to this new law – this project does not destroy main defect – need of money for political parties. We have prohibited getting money from legal and natural persons during the period outside the campaign season, but we did not prohibit advertising, booklets and all other things, which need money. Dear colleagues, did you forget who covered Valdas Adamkus’ debts during his second campaign? Natural persons from “Krekenavos Agrofirma,” [meat products company], if I remember correctly. So you think this law could solve such a problem? No, it wouldn’t. Why do we close our eyes and pretend we cannot see it? Dear colleagues, it is obvious that these changes in the law lead to a one-party or two-party system.”
Another MP, Saulius Stoma, stated, “Very similar changes have been offered not so long ago and were rejected after discussion. Thank you for the new authority – Mrs. President, who offered the same changes and added a compromise. Now every working person can dedicate 1% from his state income tax.” S. Stoma was happy because of that 1% income
tax, but he forgot to mention that 1 % is just a drop in the bucket.
“When we are changing a law we always should ask why we are doing it,” said Petras Gražulis. “We could notice corruption especially in funding related to political parties. Companies, which give donations, usually do that through natural persons. The same situation was in the V. Adamkus case, when his campaign was funded by natural persons from “Krekenavos Agrofirma.” Look at today’s law regarding alcohol control. It is obvious that MPs were influenced by producers of alcohol and others by dealers of alcohol. One part of the MPs initiate one kind of new law and others different ones, One part initiates laws friendly to producers, so they can advertise their products and others for dealers in order to sell alcohol in biggest supermarkets and create a monopoly. Will there be any changes? Will there be less corruption or less influence on MPs or political parties? I think not. If we do not have the political will to issue veiy clear law that political parties should be funded from the budget, that 1% from the income tax should be allowed, and other doors will be shut, we will open new canals which have been used in the past. And all political parties will use those canals and nothing will change. We are trying to show for voters that we are working, but we don’t do anything. I can’t vote in favor of this law.”
“I am very surprised that the parties that lost the support of the people decided to share the budget money, since they have power to do this job themselves,” thinks Kęstutis Daukšys. “This fact is very unpleasant for me, as well as my colleagues. Those who feel influenced by some companies are trying to get free like Spartacus. I would support them in this fight, but since I was not influenced by anyone, I don’t understand why we should vote in a different way. I think that this fight will end someday, but we will not be the winners.”
Why after the presidential election did D. Grybauskaitė not make any changes in the law enforcement authorities except changing General Prosecutor A. Valantinas to D. Valys? Why is D. Grybauskaitė so unsuccessful in all areas starting with finance and ending with law enforcement? Everyone forget that in summer 2008 she prohibited Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius to take loan from the IMF, because it would cause a reduction of pension benefits and new taxes on real estate and vehicles. And what is the result of that? Pensions still were reduced. Moreover, real estate and vehicles will be taxed. The Lithuanian government took a loan with 9% interest from the U.S., the debt of Lithuania increased to 42 billion Litas, and after that no one loans money anymore. Thus, it is obvious that a loan from the IMF with an interest rate of 3.5% would have led to debt smaller by at least in 1 billion Litas. However, the president took a “black karate belt” position, which interferes with all areas of life, but the reports of “Panorama” remind us about the journalists’ coverage of V. Putin in Russia. On the 14th of December I watched five different reports on D. Grybauskaitė – how she visited a library in Kybartai, how she spoke about A. Kubilius, how she stated that Liberals are playing a public game, which could be “very expensive” and so on. The next thing, law enforcement authorities have to report directly to D, Grybauskaitė. To say that everything is bad in law enforcement would be too gentle. In the Kaunas pedophilia case, the same prosecutors are falsifying evidence, and people are dying, but the case is stuck, If D. Grybauskaitė really wanted to fight corruption, she would have changed D. Valys with a courageous man and cases would be solved.
The former chairman of the Committee on National Security and Defense, Algimantas Matulevičius, has no doubts: “D. Grybauskaitė is controlled by the same black structures. Firstly, no one speaks about her biography. She was working at the Communist Party’s higher education school after the 11th of March . This school was controlled by Moscow, so it means she belonged to Burokevičius’ palty, She was working in that school for at least one more year. This fact is very painful for me, because I had to hold big pressures from them and jedinstvo [a movement instigated by Russian government in 1990]. My colleagues and I had a chance to wait until all events will finish in order to choose which side to go to with no risk. But is it respectable? Another thing – how did D. Grybauskaitė reach her career? She was nominated as the head of a department in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1992. After that, she has been working in diplomatic service in the U.S. She was not a financier, because she had a diploma in political economy. I don’t know why there is an image that she is a financier. She was appointed to the Ministry of Finance when A. Kubilius came into the government and hired the Minister of Finance, Dudėnas, who led one American bank to bankruptcy. She worked in that position for one year and after that left to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. According to “Wikileaks,” she was made the Minister of Finance by “statesmen” directly from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It means, she belongs to “statesmen” as I was saying all the time. Now “Lietuvos Rytas” is pouring dirt on her, but this is just a game. D. Grybauskaitė did what she was supposed to do – to fire D. Dabašinskas, but he came out again in the Seimas with Mr. A. Čaplikas. Why did D. Dabašinskas go with A. Čaplikas? The reason is that there is a big pile of “compromising” material on him, but some journalists think that the reason is his son’s job in the SSD [State Security Department or Homeland Security], According to the hierarchy, A. Čaplikas has a very high position and D. Dabašinskas was nobody without a job. It is worth mentioning, that the president leaked information that the Special Investigation Service will come to check A. Čaplikas. Vice-minister Skikas was arrested with 20,000 Litas. Today, the whole law enforcement authorities are paralyzed, because we know all the characters involved in this clan. Don’t forget the fact that “statesmen” started to raise D. Grybauskaitė in 2006 when the Parliamentary Commission was investigating the SSD [State Security Department or Homeland Security]. They started to “pump” her through “Lietuvos Rytas.” At the beginning, this newspaper had to put her up in the ratings because she took position as the European Commissioner. But instead of that “Lietuvos Rytas” printed an interview by Žukas about non-traditional sexual orientation with D. Grybauskaitė. I think that G. Vainauskas by these actions allowed considering how to choose friends. People forgot about her sexual orientation, and “statesmen” started to look, who could replace V. Adamkus. I heard from secret agents myself that “statesmen” did not agree unanimously in favor of D. Grybauskaitė. A. Januška voted in favor of her and others against. Others wanted to put E. Kūris up as president. Among friends, he was speaking about changing V. Adamkus to himself. A TV show was even created to increase E. Kūris’ ratings. Today, everyone forgets that National Television is in the hands of “statesmen”.
Police found a “secret witness” in Kaunas pedophilia case, M. Žalimas, but President D. Grybauskaitė did not make any comments about the heads of police in the light of new circumstances. The head of the country encouraged politicians not to make any comments on this topic and not to pressure law enforcement authorities.
“Your question suggests that “new circumstances” have been brought to our attention. I cannot comment. The investigation is still going on, so everything should be stated by the investigators and prosecutors. Thus, I wish for all politicians, including me, not to make any comments and not to pressure law enforcement authorities until the investigations is finished,” said the president in an interview by journalists in Druskininkai [town in southern Lithuania], The question was about her opinion about the head of the police department after the clarification of new information about the Kaunas pedophilia case.
D. Grybauskaitė did not make any comments about Neringa Venckienė’s suitability to work as a judge in the Kaunas Regional Court. “No comments. Everything is under investigation. Politicians should not pressure law enforcement authorities,” said the president.