On May 19, the presidium of the Homeland Union-Lithuanian Christian Democrats (TS-LKD – Tėvynės sąjunga-Lietuvos krikščionys-demokratai), met on May 19 and decided to initiate early general elections amid a municipal expenses scandal that has touched several conservative ministers. If Seimas (parliament) does not approve the early elections, TS-LKD would consider the resignation of the entire government headed by Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonytė.
The first point adopted by the party recommends that the TS-LKD group in Seimas submit changes to the regulation of the expenses of municipal councils, to introduce a common standard of transparency and accountability in all Lithuanian municipalities. The second point proposes initiating early general elections as soon as possible. Thirdly, TS-LKD would consider the resignation of the entire government if the early elections initiative is not supported by Seimas.
Asked about the early elections initiative, TS-LKD deputy leader Radvilė Morkūnaitė-Mikulėnienė said that the party believes that it is about the public’s trust in the entire political system. “This is for the people to assess. Whoever will have a mandate of trust afte the next elections, will be able to ensure these standards. If this initiative is not approved by Seimas, then we will consider changes in the government,” she said.
The decision to convene a meeting of the party’s presidium was announced by Gabrielius Landsbergis, leader of TS-LKD, at a press conference on May 19. “We’ve heard the decision of the party, not the head of the government. It’s not right to turn the problem of three ministers into a parliament’s problem. The prime minister should take decisions and responsibility for the future of the government,” Ridas Jasiulionis, advisor to Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda, said after TS-LKD presidium meeting.
The Lithuanian government has plunged into a crisis after Andrius Tapinas, a journalist and an internet media personality, reported that education, culture, and finance ministers received thousands of euros as members of the Kaunas City Council and failed to provide receipts for their work-related expenses. The council’s regulations do not require councillors to provide receipts for what they have spent their advances on. However, Landsbergis said that most politicians fail to meet the standards of transparency demanded by the public.
On May 18, Education, Science and Sports Minister Jurgita Šiugždinienė said she had handed in her resignation letter to the Prime Minister.