"The exit of our fellows with enormous experience, thirty years of party membership and experience of prime minister, also symbolizes an end of a certain era. However, I will never agree to playing with democracy or manipulating it or to the accusations of party branches being hostage to the chairman's lack of understanding or personal interests," Paluckas said at the Saturday's meeting of the party's council.
He said he was democratic, not autocratic, as he had been accused. The Social Democratic Party's leader said the party now featured far more democracy than before.
"Today I am happy to see members of the political group make the decision, which was probably possible ever since Linas Linkevičius made the decision (to leave) in sign of protest against the party's decision. I learned politics, political management and intrigues from the best – Algirdas Butkevičius, Gediminas Kirkilas and Juozas Bernatonis. I would like to thank them for their contribution to me personally and many of us. Yes, this is an end of a certain era but beautiful things are born in disputes and labor. We are born anew today," Paluckas said on Saturday.
The Social Democratic Party's council was planned to decide on expulsion of nine disobedient MPs from the party on Saturday, however, they forestalled the events and eight of them resigned first. The ninth was expelled.
At the end of September, the party's council decided to pull out of the ruling coalition with the Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Union, however, the nine MPs voted in support of continuing cooperation with the ruling LFGU. The move resulted in an ethics watchdogs' recommendation to expel them from the party.