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Former Communist Party Members in the Lithuanian Parliament: A Closer Look

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By: Wojciech Zylm
Former Communist Party Members in the Lithuanian Parliament: A Closer Look

 

Unveiling the Past: Communist Affiliations in the Lithuanian Parliament

A recent report has brought to light that the Lithuanian parliament, Seimas, includes 20 former members of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. Despite their past affiliations, only two of these individuals declared their former membership during their parliamentary election campaigns.

Presence Across Political Spectrum

The former Communist Party members are not confined to a particular political faction; their presence spans almost all political groups within the Seimas. The group with the largest representation of these individuals is the Democrats “For Lithuania” group. Other groups that include former Communist Party members are the Homeland Union (TS-LKD), the Farmers and Greens Union, the Social Democrats Party (LSDP), the Liberals Movement group, and the Freedom Party group.

(Read Also: Lithuania Ponders Istanbul Convention’s Compatibility With Its Constitution)

Unearthed Records and Identification Process

The identification of these former Communist Party members was achieved through a study of documents from the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and the Komsomol, stored in the Lithuanian Special Archive. The personal files of 12 current MPs were found in these documents. The remaining former party members were identified through conducted interviews with MPs selected based on their age or work experience.

Defending their Past Affiliations

Many of the implicated MPs have defended their past affiliations with the Communist Party. They argue that their involvement was not driven by ideology, but by career requirements during that time period. They also contend that they have been transparent about their past Communist Party membership and have not attempted to conceal it.

Proposed Transparency in Future Elections

In the wake of this revelation, there have been calls for greater transparency in future elections. Seimas Speaker Viktorija Čmilytė-Nielsen has voiced her support for an initiative that would enforce politicians to declare their past Communist Party membership when campaigning for election. Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis has echoed this sentiment, suggesting the obligation to declare past party affiliations as a preventive measure against such unforeseen revelations.

(Read Also: Lithuania Bolsters Border Security Support for Latvia Amidst Escalating Migration Crisis)

Trust in Colleagues

Despite the news, the Lithuanian Foreign Minister maintains his trust in his colleagues who were former Communist Party members. He emphasizes that the voters are familiar with these individuals and are capable of making their own judgments based on their work.

Implications of the Revelation

This discovery of past Communist affiliations in the Lithuanian parliament may have profound implications for future elections and the transparency of candidate backgrounds. It has raised questions about the importance of political history in current politics and the need for full disclosure of past political affiliations by politicians. As Lithuania continues to navigate its post-Soviet political landscape, these revelations underscore the need for continued vigilance and transparency in its democratic processes.

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