Lithuania’s Conservatives Return to Power by Ditching Austerity

Lithuania’s Conservatives Return to Power by Ditching Austerity
An election poster showing Lithuania’s incoming prime minister, Ingrida Simonyte, in Vilnius, Lithuania, Oct. 9, 2020 (AP photo by Mindaugas Kulbis).

Lithuania’s prime minister-designate, Ingrida Simonyte, announced her Cabinet lineup this week, selecting women for about half of the ministerial posts. Simonyte led the country’s main center-right opposition party, the Homeland Union—Lithuanian Christian Democrats, to victory in general elections late last month, taking 50 of the 141 seats in the Seimas, the country’s legislature. She will form a coalition government with two other right-leaning parties, the Liberal Movement and the Freedom Party, both of which are also led by women.

According to Gediminas Vitkus, a professor of international relations at Vilnius University in Lithuania, one factor in the Homeland Union’s victory was its disavowal of the strict austerity policies it implemented the last time it was in power, from 2008 to 2012, at the height of the financial crisis. In an email interview with WPR, he discusses the implications of last month’s election results and the incoming government’s policy agenda.

World Politics Review: What accounted for the strong election performance by the Homeland Union party and its allies?

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