Uspaskich confirms plans to run for Lithuanian Labor Party's leadership

Viktor Uspaskich
Foto: Kas vyksta Kaune

Lithuania's MEP Viktor Uspaskich, the founder of the Labor Party who was not active in politics on the political arena for the past few years, on Friday confirmed plans to run for the party's leadership.

The direct election for the party's leader was planned for February of 2018, however, the date may be revised during the Saturday's meeting of the Labor Party's council.

"It is a pity to observe this situation within the party. The party is not seen on the political level or the national level, there are no programs or proper leadership. Therefore, someone should do something and I am willing to step in," Uspaskich told BNS.

Around ten candidates have been proposed for the party's leadership by now, the Labor Party's acting leader Šarūnas Birutis said.

Uspaskich founded the Labor Party in October of 2003 and served as its chairman all the way until 2013, with some time off. In 2013, Uspaskich and a few other top members of the party were convicted on bookkeeping fraud charges. Uspaskich was sentenced to four years in prison.

During hearings of the case in the Court of Appeals in December of 2015, Uspaskich stepped down from the Labor Party', active political life and announced plans to pursue a career in psychology. The court slammed him with a fine of 6,800 euros for bookkeeping fraud, a verdict upheld by the Supreme Court.

In spring, Uspaskich announced founding of an association For United and Healthy Europe, returning to the Labor Party in July when the party was locked in disputes between the party's then leader Živilė Pinskuvienė and some members.

During the 2016 parliamentary elections, the party did not cross the 5-percent threshold in multi-mandate voting, with two candidates, Valentinas Bukauskas and Petras Čimbaras, winning mandates in single-mandate voting.

According to the September survey by RAIT pollster, the Labor Party would currently be supported by 3 percent of the electorate.

Source: BNS
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