It seems that the two largest parties in the opposition – the Labour Party and the Social Democrats are trying to help the ruling Homeland Union remain in power after the elections. The Labour Party’s members are criticising publicly the Conservatives and the Christian Democrats but are friendly towards them in the backstage. The Social Democrats – on the contrary: are confessing in absentia that to them a coalition with the Homeland Union would be an abnormal and useless thing but are acting publicly in such a way as if they have decided to become partners of the Conservatives, Vladimiras Laučius wrote in delfi.lt on 13 September.
The Labour Party was founded in the end of 2003 as an exclusive alternative to the Conservatives and the Social Democrats. Its leader Viktoras Uspaskichas announced loudly that the parties to blame for Lithuania’s misfortunes were the Lithuanian Social Democrats and the Homeland Union-Lithuanian Christian Democrats, and that those two parties should be prohibited from running the country. Now, the Labour Party has forgotten what they said 8 years ago: they’re ok with a coalition with the Homeland Union or the Lithuanian Social Democrats.
Here’s a quick question for Uspaskichas’s fans: if the Labour Party was formed to cease the reign of the Conservatives and the Social Democrats then why on Earth should anybody vote for it when it aims at helping one or the other? How and what is the Labour Party going to save us from if its members are discussing with the Conservatives the matters of taking over the rule in the capital and declaring their intentions to cooperate with the Social Democrats after the elections?
Uspaskichas likes to say that the Labour Party will keep its promises if the citizens empower it. But it’s obvious that the Labour Party will have to form a coalition with some larger faction in the Seimas (and most probably they won’t have enough seats for a majority nevertheless). Thus all the blabbering about how the Labour Party is going to improve the lives of the Lithuanians are just empty words that will be disregarded after the elections: “We couldn’t keep our promises because we didn’t have a majority in the Seimas”.
Anyhow, the Labour Party is aiming at a political conjuncture and the fact that it’s leading its voters by the nose seems to be not that much of problem – the majority of those people don’t have a clue anyway. The situation of the Lithuanian Social Democrats in this respect is completely different: should those people who decide to vote for the Lithuanian Social Democrats see the so-called rainbow in our political sky and their disappointment may soon take away a large portion of the Social Democrat’s current popularity.
Strange as it may be, the Lithuania Social Democrats’ electoral campaign looks almost suited perfectly for a rainbow coalition in the future. Strangely enough, some episodes from the behaviour of the Social Democrats and especially their principal attitude – ‘to speak positively and avoid negativity’ – are more beneficial to the Conservatives than the Social Democrats.
Those members of the Lithuanian Social Democratic Party who are responsible for public relations – first and foremost Chief of the Electoral Office Juozas Olekas and PR advisors – are either making ridiculously stupid mistakes of political communication or they simply don’t want Algirdas Butkevičius’s party to look too good during the elections (the motives behind this may be various but it’s no secret who wants to take over the party’s steering wheel).
Only a wild imagination or a secret goal of the power games could have caused that the Social Democrats, instead of highlighting the mistakes of the Government that for the first time after 1990 lasted for full term and fighting them like one fights a mighty adversary in the ring, are acting during the electoral campaign like fluffy kittens, asking the voters to pet them for diligently retelling the programme’s points.
Not many people are interested in this propaganda-like positivism. One has to fight the electoral battle instead of telling dreamily what will happen if they win. Obviously, positivism is needed too, but acting during the electoral campaign in such a way as if you have decided to report to the voter what you’ve came up with makes you look a like a student who spent just a single night to prepare for an exam.
The metaphor of party testing is misleading as well: first and foremost, elections are no text, but a demonstrative fight with opponents. It seems that the Lithuanian Social Democrats’ PR advisors instead of creating the image of a strong fighter came up with that of a student who has just finished his thesis.
If all this doesn’t indicate a cul-de-sac in communications then the only possible answer explaining the softness of the Social Democrats would be the unwillingness to present themselves as strong opponents of the Homeland Union-Lithuanian Christian Democrats’ politics. Real opponents are wished defeat and it seems that the Lithuanian Social Democrats don’t want the Conservatives to lose; at least that’s what it looks like judging from the electoral campaign. And the recent friendly chit-chat between Vytautas Landsbergis and Česlovas Juršėnas on the TV made it obvious: a rainbow isn’t just a possibility, it’s a preference.
Where does this rainbow-like attitude come from? Apparently, both parties have people who want to match the Social Democrats with the Conservatives, just like during the times of Kirkilas-Kubilius (2K). Maybe there are certain influence groups beyond party politics that want the Lithuanian Social Democrats and the Homeland Union-Lithuanian Christian Democrats to get along. And it would be strange not to recall that Juršėnas and Landsbergis are on good terms with our President. Thus their ‘rainbowesque’ conversation on the TV may have had… let’s say a virtual, but key participant behind the scenes.