MEPs from Lithuania
Finally preliminary results of the rankings of politicians to become Lithuanian Members of the European Parliament are announced. The Conservatives will send 4 MEPs out of Lithuania's 12: Vytautas Landsbergis, Laima Andrikiene, Algirdas Saudargas, Radvile Morkunaite (2 men, 2 women).
Landsbergis, a musician by profession, was the leader of the independence movement and is known for his fear of Russia. He hasn't been popular in national politics lately, but he did a good job in the previous EP. Andrikiene was also an MEP. Saudargas works for the Foreign Ministry and appears to speak many foreign languages. Morkunaite is about my age, one of the conservative youth youngsters who grew up to be a politician. I can imagine that hordes of people in the faculty I studied at voted for her. Many students in the faculty were, and I assume still quite some are, members of the conservative youth.
The Social Democrats will send Vilija Blinkeviciute (former minister of Social Security and Labour, who became famous as she took the merit for raising retirement pensions as the Lithuanian economy was booming), Justas Vincas Paleckis, who was an MEP in 2004-2009, too, and Zigmantas Balcytis, an ex-PM (1 woman, 2 men). He was lifted on the list by voters, who preferred him to Birute Vesaite, who was positioned higher on the list. I heard that Paleckis was supposed to be first, and Balcytis was supposed to be third, but they decided to allow women to be higher on the list, following some European practice. Sweet of them, but in my opinion Paleckis is much more worthy of the first position. Many people chose not to vote for the social democrats exactly because Blinkeviciute was the first on the list. Too bad that Aloyzas Sakalas, who was listed seventh and raised to the fourth position by voters, didn't get in, as he is one of my favourite (certainly the least disliked :)) Lithuanian politicians.
The impeached president's populist nationalist party "Order and Justice" will send 2 MEPs (both men): the impeached ex-president Rolandas Paksas (he can't run for any elected office in Lithuania because he committed a crime and violated the constitution, but this rule is not valid EU-wide - a loophole in EU laws?) and Juozas Imbrasas, who, once a mayor of Vilnius, got famous for blocking EU-wide pro-tolerance initiatives and a demonstration for the rights of homosexuals.
Next, the Labour Party will send its leader Viktor Uspaskich, originally a Russian citizen, now - one of the most popular politicians, a businessman charged with some fraud, whose companies are known for exploitation of workers.
The Polish minority party will send its leader Valdemar Tomasevski, who is known for his quest for more Christianity in politics, and will certainly lobby for the mentioning of Christianity in the subsequent EU treaties.
The Liberal Movement will send Leonidas Donskis, who is not a politician, but a TV star and an enormously popular philosopher. Putting him on the list won large numbers of young people for the liberals. He's a nice person and so on, at least he has a pleasant voice and likes The Beatles. "As an academic Jew..." he started some story about himself that he told me while sitting near the Midsummer fire after one conference (which traditionally takes place in some small town), referring not as much to his mixed ethnic origin as to his nomadic lifestyle. Donskis has been living his academic life in Vilnius, Kaunas, Helsinki, somewhere in the US and the UK. Maybe somewhere else, too. Well, I assume that he feels like he's been sitting here for too long, and wants new challenges. The reform in education will certainly mess up universities in Lithuania this year. I think he will be active organising discussions about the future of Europe and what the EP stands for as he visits Lithuania, and engage in intellectual discussions in Brussels. Certainly, people in LT will miss his TV show, which, however, is not as interesting as in the beginning, as he only invites people he likes and who more or less agree with him. Personally, I don't watch it, but then again, I almost don't watch TV at all.
So, all in all, 3 women and 9 men, 3 more or less left-wing, 5 right-wing, 3 ultra-right-wing, 1 centrist populist. My evil smile goes to the Liberal and Centre Party (the one that is lead by the corrupt ex-mayor of Vilnius) - they didn't get any seats. "You can fool some people sometimes, but you can't fool all the people all the time" (Bob Marley's song)