Labour Party (Lithuania) – Wikipedia

Lithuanian political party

The Labour Party (Lithuanian: Darbo partija, DP) is a populist[2][3][4]political party in Lithuania. The party was founded in 2003 by the Russian-born millionaire businessman and member of Seimas Viktor Uspaskich.[7]


Foundation and first government (2003–2006)[edit]

In its first electoral test, the 2004 European parliamentary elections, it was by far the most successful party, gaining 30.2% of the vote and returning 5 MEPs. It joined the European Democratic Party and thus the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) Group.
At the legislative elections of 2004, the party won 28.4% of the popular vote and 39 out of 141 seats, making it the largest single party in the Parliament of Lithuania. After the election Labour formed a coalition government with the Social Democratic Party of Lithuania, New Union and Lithuanian Peasant Popular Union.

After 2004 Lithuanian parliamentary election, sociologist Vladas Gaidys speculated that the Labour Party supporters had previously voted for New Union (Social Liberals) between 2000 and 2004.[8]

The “dark accounting” case[edit]

On May 17, 2006, a pre-trial investigation of the Labour Party began after information from the State Security Department of Lithuania revealed that the party may be funded from illegal activities. During the period from its foundation to 2006, the party’s bookkeeping did not report 7 million Euros of additional income.[9] Allegations were first raised on the party’s accounting and secretaries, but on June 29, it was declared that the party will be tried as a juridical person.

Uspaskich resigned from party leadership and fled to Moscow. After a European Arrest Warrant was given to arrest him, he was arrested on August 15 and extradited to Lithuania on August 27. While in Moscow, Uspaskich organized press conferences where he declared Lithuania to be a “undemocratic state”[10] and described the case as a politicized attempt to destroy the Labour Party.

The Labour Party was acquitted on 2013, as it reorganized and was no longer the same legal entity. Though the Supreme Court of Lithuania made a ruling that this reorganization should have been ignored and the case should have been continued, it was not renewed due to an expired statute of limitations. Individual party leaders received fines and prison terms – however, they were acquitted in 2016, on the leadup to the 2016 parliamentary election.[10]

Opposition (2006–2012)[edit]

Because of the ongoing “dark accounting” case, the party was expelled from the ruling coalition and moved to opposition in June 2006, while some of its members (including Speaker of the Seimas Viktoras Muntianas) founded the Civic Democratic Party and joined the new coalition led by Gediminas Kirkilas. At the legislative elections of 2008 the party lost heavily, retaining only 10 seats in the Seimas from its previous 39 and obtaining 9% of the national vote.

In 2011, the New Union (Social Liberals) merged with the party.[11] In May 2012, the Labour Party joined the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) party.[12]

Second government and opposition (since 2012)[edit]

At the 2012 parliamentary election the party had considerable success, obtaining 19.82% of the votes (+11.83% compared with the 2008 election) in the proportional representation quota and a total tally of 29 seats.
Following the results, the Labour Party joined the coalition cabinet led by Algirdas Butkevičius, with 4 portfolio ministers out of 15. In 2013, the Christian Party merged with the party.[13]

At the 2016 parliamentary election the party obtained just 4.88% of the votes in the proportional representation quota (5% of the votes are needed for representation) and won only 2 seats in single member constituencies. In 2017 the party started to lose its members (including long–time members like former chairman Živilė Pinskuvienė) en masse, which formed various movements in local government or joined the Social Democratic Labour Party of Lithuania in 2018.[14]

On April 15, 2018, former chairman Viktor Uspaskich was selected as the new chairman of the party.[15] After this, the party made speedy recovery – in 2019 municipal election the party obtained 5.09% of the votes and in 2019 European Parliament election it won nearly 9% of the votes. At the 2020 parliamentary election the Labour Party won about 10% of the votes. This gain of support was attributed to votes’ shedding of Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania – Christian Families Alliance, which by itself failed to reach 5 per cent threshold in nationwide constituency.

In 2021 the party’s board decided to withdraw from its affiliation of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Party. This came following the expulsion of party leader MEP Viktor Uspaskich from the Renew Europe group at the European Parliament due to his homophobic comments.[6]


The Labour Party is usually defined as a personalistic populist party without a clear ideological orientation.[16] It describes itself as a “party of the centre open to everyone.”[17] During electoral campaigns, it generally advertises itself by promising raw increases to pensions and minimum wages, often beyond the country’s ability to accomplish such promises; in the electoral campaign for the 2016 parliamentary elections, the Labour Party manifesto called to double minimum wages immediately after election, setting them at 60 percent of the average wage, a balance higher than in any European country.[18] During the European migrant crisis, the Labour Party embraced anti-migrant rhetoric. The party’s leader Valentinas Mazuronis called for Lithuania to block the distribution of refugees among EU member states.[19]

According to studies, the Labour Party garners support from voters with a positive judgment of the Soviet period and voters who see Russia as a potential partner to Lithuania rather than a threat, as well as non-Lithuanian voters.[20] The party is commonly described as pro-Russian, though it has resented such claims, and officially supports membership in EU and NATO. The party’s founder, Viktor Uspaskich, has led the party directly or indirectly ever since its foundation in 2003. According to Member of the Seimas and former Labour Party member Antanas Guoga, it is a “cult with a spiritual leader.”[21] Professor of the Institute of International Relations and Political Science in Vilnius University Tomas Janeliūnas described the party as “a collection of conformists”, unified by Uspaskich. These descriptions came in the aftermath of a scandal in December 2020, in which Viktor Uspaskich used his Facebook account to advertise “ŪPAS” mineral water, which, according to him, provides a person with immunity against COVID-19, without the need of vaccination. Guoga was the only Labour Party MP to condemn the action, and it was either defended or unaddressed by other members of the party.[22]

Electoral results[edit]


Election Votes[a] % Seats +/– Government
2004 340,035 28.4 (#1) Increase 38 Coalition (2004−2006)
Opposition (2006−2008)
2008 111,149 8.9 (#6) Decrease 29 Opposition
2012 271,520 18.8 (#3) Increase 19 Coalition
2016 59,620 4.8 (#7) Decrease 27 Coalition (2016–2018)
Opposition (2018)
Coalition (2018–2019)
2020 110,780 9.8 (#4) Increase 8 Opposition
  1. ^ Proportional representation votes.

European Parliament[edit]

Election Votes % Seats +/–
2004 363,931 30.2 (#1)
2009 48,368 8.6 (#4) Decrease 4
2014 146,607 12.4 (#5) Steady
2019 112,964 8.5 (#4) Steady


  1. ^ (PDF)ės%20partijos/PP%20sarasas%20su%20archyvu%202022-03-04.pdf.
  2. ^ a b Ramonaitė, Ainė (2006), “The Development of the Lithuanian Party System: From Stability to Perturbation”, Post-Communist EU Member States: Parties And Party Systems, Ashgate, p. 76
  3. ^ a b c Auers, Daunis; Kasekamp, Andres (2015). The impact of radical right parties in the Baltic states. Transforming the Transformation?: The East European radical right in the political process. Routledge. p. 148.
  4. ^ a b Richard Rose; Neil Munro (1 April 2009). Parties and Elections in New European Democracies. ECPR Press. p. 178. ISBN 978-0-9558203-2-8.
  5. ^ Nordsieck, Wolfram (2020). “Lithuania”. Parties and Elections in Europe. Retrieved 26 October 2020.
  6. ^ a b “Lithuanian Labour Party quits EP’s liberal group after leader’s homophobic rant”. 2 February 2021.
  7. ^ Saulius A. Suziedelis (7 February 2011). Historical Dictionary of Lithuania. Scarecrow Press. pp. 163–. ISBN 978-0-8108-7536-4.
  8. ^ “V.Gaidys: Darbo partijos gerbėjai – buvę NS rinkėjai”.
  9. ^ “Politinių partijų bylos: Darbo partijos “juodoji buhalterija”, “tvarkiečiai” ir liberalai”.
  10. ^ a b “Darbo partijos skandalai: Juodoji buhalterija, pabėgimas į Rusiją ir netylantys meilės romanai”.
  11. ^ “Naujoji sąjunga prisijungė prie Darbo partijos”. (in Lithuanian). 9 July 2011. Archived from the original on 8 October 2011. Retrieved 2 August 2011.
  12. ^ “Darbo partija tapo Europos liberalų demokratų ir reformų partijos nare”. Delfi (in Lithuanian). 15 May 2012. Archived from the original on 8 October 2011. Retrieved 2 August 2011.
  13. ^ “Susijungė Krikščionių ir Darbo partijos”. (in Lithuanian). 9 July 2011. Retrieved 30 December 2017.
  14. ^ “Partinei sistemai – skaudūs smūgiai, o kritusius įkvepia V. Matijošaičio reitingai”. (in Lithuanian). 9 December 2017. Retrieved 30 December 2017.
  15. ^ “Darbo partijos suvažiavime staigmenų nėra – pirmininku išrinktas Viktoras Uspaskichas”. 15 April 2018.
  16. ^ Ainė Ramonaitė (2006). Post-Communist EU Member States: Parties and Party Systems. Scarecrow Press. ISBN 9781351909709.
  17. ^ “Apie partiją”.
  18. ^ “Lietuvoje, artėjant rinkimams, partijos pradeda žarstytis naujais pažadais –”.
  19. ^ “Valentinas Mazuronis siūlo pabėgėlius apgyvendinti uždarose gyvenvietėse”.
  20. ^ “Mažvydas Jastramskis. Darbo partijos sugrįžimas ar didelis šnipštas?”.
  21. ^ “Tomas Janeliūnas: Darbo partija – konformistų susibūrimas”.
  22. ^ “Lietuvai kovojant su COVID-19 pandemija, Uspaskichas kviečia saugotis specialiu vandeniu: Platintojas sako – tai paprasčiausias mineralinis”. 28 December 2020.

External links[edit]