Order and Justice
|Order and Justice
Tvarka ir teisingumas
|Founded||9 March 2002|
|Headquarters||10 Gedimino pr. / 1 Totorių g., Vilnius|
|Membership||14,000 (the end of 2010)|
|European affiliation||Movement for a Europe of Liberties and Democracy (2011-present)|
|European Parliament group||Europe of Freedom and Democracy|
|Colours||Yellow and blue|
|Politics of Lithuania
Order and Justice (Lithuanian: Tvarka ir teisingumas, TT), formerly the Liberal Democratic Party (Liberalų Demokratų Partija, LDP), is a right-wing national liberal political party in Lithuania, though it self-identifies as 'left-of-centre'. It has eleven members of the Seimas.
Formed as the 'Liberal Democratic Party' in 2002, the party achieved almost immediate success with the election of leader Rolandas Paksas as President of Lithuania within its first year. Paksas's impeachment led to the party reorganising itself as 'Order and Justice' to compete in the 2004 parliamentary election. Since then, it has been the fourth-largest party in the Seimas, and finished third in the elections to the European Parliament and to the presidency.
The party sits on the centre-right, possesses a radical and anti-establishment identity, and is described as both socially conservative and 'liberal', in line with its original identity. Its support is strongest in the north-west Samogitia region. Its faction in the Seimas also includes the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania. The party's two MEPs sit in the Europe of Freedom and Democracy group in the European Parliament, with the party having previously belonged in the now-defunct AEN.
After being defeated in the leadership election for the Liberal Union, Rolandas Paksas founded the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) in 2002, taking with him 13 of his supporters in the Seimas, making the party the fourth-largest party. Paksas finished second in the first round of the presidential election on 22 December, with 19.7%: qualifying him for a run-off against incumbent President Valdas Adamkus. For the run-off, Paksas represented a youthful alternative to the ageing candidate, adopting the slogan 'Vote for Change'; despite all the parties except the LDP backing Adamkus, he won across almost all of the country, with 54.7%. The campaign was likened to the previous spring's French presidential election, and Paksas to Jean-Marie Le Pen for his populism. However, unlike Le Pen, the liberal Paksas immediately announced his support for Lithuania's ongoing process of accession to the European Union and NATO.
In June, Paksas set about fighting political corruption that saw 700 public officials under the old administration acquire land illegally. However, this was soon overshadowed by revelations in October that Paksas gave citizenship to, and heard requests for political favours from, Jurijus Borisovas, a Russian businessman that had donated $400,000 to Paksas's campaign, and that high-ranking members of Paksas's staff had connections to Russian criminal groups. Although Paksas was found not to have been influenced by the criminals, his staff had been; Paksas offered that his six close advisers named in the report resign, but calls for Paksas himself to resign mounted.
Paksas alleged that the parliamentary commission set up to investigate the claims was set up for political reasons, and refused to cooperate. In response, the four other parties initiated impeachment proceedings. In December, the Constitutional Court ruled that granting citizenship to Borisovas was illegal and impeachable. Despite this, Paksas remained popular with the public. On 6 April 2004, the Seimas voted to impeach him and remove him from office on three counts with 86, 86, and 89 MPs voting to impeach, with 85 required. Nonetheless, after his impeachment, he was tried in the criminal courts, and acquitted on all charges.
Another presidential election was scheduled to elect a replacement for Paksas. The LDP nominated Paksas, giving the people a referendum on his impeachment. Whilst his nomination was initially accepted, it was then thrown out by the Constitutional Court, leaving the LDP without a nominee in the election. In the first election to the European Parliament, the LDP won 6.8% of the vote, and one seat. The member of the European Parliament from the Lithuanian Liberal Democratic party was Rolandas Pavilionis, a former rector of Vilnius University.
Throughout Paksas's scandal and impeachment, the Liberal Democrats presented soft opposition to the governing centre-left coalition, alongside the united Liberal and Centre Union and Homeland Union. In the parliamentary election in October, the LDP formed a coalition called Coalition for Rolandas Paksas 'For Order and Justice' , which was successful in winning 11 seats. However, the centre-left coalition managed to hold on to power, thanks to a failure of the centre-right parties to agree to cooperate.
The last congress of the party, held on 13 May 2006, declared, that the party had passed a difficult stage of its establishment successively, encouraging people of Lithuania to constantly oppose corruption and power misapplication in the country and changing the name of the party to 'Order and Justice'. The formal reason for changing the name was the fact that four different political groups used the word 'liberal' in their names. According to unofficial views of some party members, the new name mirrors the party's more conservative position than when it was founded in 2002.
In the 2007 municipal elections, although the party was disappointed with the general results, it won a plurality in Vilnius, and formed a coalition with the Social Democratic Party (LSDP) under mayor Juozas Imbrasas. This is despite Law and Order members of the Seimas then supporting motions of no confidence in several LSDP cabinet members for handling of the privatisation of Alita.
The Order and Justice Party ran in the 2008 election to the Seimas with a tactic of decontaminating Paksas, despite Paksas's inability to hold political office after his impeachment, and released a film that was shown in cinemas nationwide. Aiming to greatly increase its number of seats and form the new government, the party saw its share of the vote increase only slightly, to 12.7%, and its number of seats increase by 4, to 15. The dramatic doubling of the centre-right's share of seats allowed them to form a government: including three parties, but not Order and Justice.
At the 2009 European elections, Order and Justice won two seats, up from one in 2004, coming third. After the election, they left the disbanding Union for Europe of the Nations, and joined the more eurosceptic Europe of Freedom and Democracy.
- Rolandas Paksas – the first leader of the party (2002–2003)
- Valentinas Mazuronis – for the period of Rolandas Paksas' presidency (2003–2004)
- Rolandas Paksas – (2004–present)
- Petras Gražulis, a controversial conservative politician, a staunch opponent of the LGBT rights, known for his anti-gay statements
- Juozas Imbrasas, the current member of the European Parliament and former mayor of Vilnius
- Kęstas Komskis - notable politician of Kėdainiai municipality
- Marija Aušrinė Pavilionienė, a famous Lithuanian feminist and human rights activist, used to be a member of the party
- Rolandas Pavilionis (1944-2006), a former dean of Vilnius University
- 2002–3: Rolandas Paksas wins election with 54.7% of votes in run-off, after finishing 2nd, with 19.7%, in first round.
- 2004: Did not enter
- 2009: Valentinas Mazuronis finishes 3rd, with 6.16%.
- 2004: 4th, with 11.4% of the vote and 11 seats (in a coalition with other minor political groups under the label For the Order and Justice /Už tvarką ir teisingumą /)
- 2008: 4th, with 12.7% of the vote and 15 seats
European Parliament elections
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- Gay parade goes off safely
- MP Petras Gražulis: Let's chase gays and ambassadors out of Lithuania