A Letter From… Lithuania! 

 

The political season in Lithuania has been especially intense this spring, as we had municipal elections followed by presidential elections, two Referendums and the European elections in the course of the past 3 months. Naturally, the presidential elections took the limelight away from the European campaign. Just like in many other countries, European elections are considered to be the least exciting ones here in Lithuania, partly because people take little interest in how things work in Brussels and also because many parties delegate their most experienced politicians, who are past their zenith, to the European Parliament.

 

However, in the party Liberal Movement (LRLS), we decided to take another course, since we are one of the most pro-European parties of Lithuania and we take pride in being experts on European matters. Therefore, during this campaign we put forward some of our strongest politicians to run for the European Parliament and to participate actively in the election campaign. We have also made a decision to run a professional and costly TV add campaign, making sure that we would get through to voters, despite of the fact, that the presidential elections were receiving much more publicity.

 

This year‘s European elections were unique in the sense that there were as many as 16 parties and political groups competing for only 11 seats. The newest trend of Lithuanian politics is that along traditional parties there are movements forming, who present themselvels as a fresh and less „political“ alternative to voters who are tired and disappointed of party politics. This trend was especially obvious this time, but in the end, however, the traditional, pro-European parties did exceptionally well.

 

The Liberal Movement ran a quality campaign, with a strong pro-European message and a detailed programme. We have communicated clearly that we stand for a an undivided strong European Union rooted in the basic freedoms and values that we all share. This message seeemed to resonate well with our voters both in the big cities and smaller rural areas.

 

The final result was decent. We received 6.55% and a mandate for our front runner and serving member of the European Parliament, Petras Austrevicius. While we have some time to analyse the results and draw some conclusions, the next national elections are coming up in 2020. It is going to be a very busy and intense time for the party, but we are optimistic and we hope that after the 2020 elections the liberal voice in Lithuanian Parliament will be as strong as ever.

 

Viktorija Čmilytė-Nielsen

Leader of both the Liberal Movement group and the opposition in the Seimas, Lithuania’s national parliament.