Auksė Kontrimienė, the leader of the LSDP Vilnius branch, told BNS that around 40 members were leaving the party and should be excluded from membership lists on Thursday.
In her words, the departing members are the people who are continuing as assistants to members of the Lithuanian Social Democratic Labor group that has split from the LSDP. "I don't know whether they were forced or they decided themselves but the majority left the party," she added.
In Kontrimienė's words, a few hundred passive members were excluded from the lists following a revision this past summer, as they were not paying membership fees and did not take part in the party's operations. Since the beginning of 2017, the party's Vilnius branch lost approximately 500 members, however, this has nothing to do with changes within the party – the Vilnius branch of the LSDP currently includes about 2,500 members.
At the end of October, a group of MPs who left the LSDP but remained in the ruling coalition with the Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Union announced plans to found a new party. According to a statement signed by high-profile Social Democrats Gediminas Kirkilas, Juozas Bernatonis and a few other MPs, the new party would aim to preserve the Social Democratic values and "defend the left-wing ruling coalition for the well-being of the people."
Gintautas Paluckas, the leader of the mother LSDP that shifted to the opposition, has refrained from comments on the situation. He earlier said he had no fears about the party's splitting, questioning future political success of his former colleagues.