Lithuanian president’s Communist Party past revealed
Soviet-era documents have come to light in Lithuania, showing that President Gitanas Nausėda, who ran for election as an independent candidate, belonged to the Communist Party shortly before the country gained independence in 1990. The Office of the President confirmed that the head of state joined the party in May 1988 but said that he had not been a politically active member. The media discuss the potential consequences.
Don’t run for a second term
Nausėda should put some serious thought into what would be the honourable course now, political commentator Kęstutis Girnius writes in Delfi:
“We don’t know how many of his voters feel deceived, how many would not have voted for him if they’d known about his CPSU membership. In any case, that membership was not about to win him any friends so he concealed it, which was a form of deception. ... It seems there will be no more pressure to force him to resign. It will be up to him to decide what would be the most honourable decision. A sudden resignation would lead to unrest, and that’s the last thing Lithuania needs right now. But he could decide not to seek a second term.”
This could only affect Nausėda’s career if the accusations become more serious, Lietuvos rytas believes:
“Nausėda joined the party mainly because he wanted to go to Germany to study. This triprequired the blessing of the KGB. ... This story is unlikely to significantly shake the president’s credibility with voters. On the contrary, it could even mobilise his supporters. ... So if his opponents are hoping to significantly weaken his position before the next election, they are being naive. Unless they suspect that more serious revelations are yet to come.”