Social Democratic Party of Lithuania

Published 11th September, 2012

The Social Democratic Party of Lithuania or LSDP was originally founded in 1896, making it the oldest political party in the country. The party describes itself as centre-left and believes in social democracy.

The original party was prominent in the period between 1918 and 1926 but was banned along with all political parties in 1936 and didn’t re-emerge until 1989. In the first few elections after the fall of Communism the party didn’t achieve great electoral success; in 1992 they managed eight of the 141 seats in the Seimas and in 1996 that only went up to 12 seats.

In 2000 the party was part of the Social-Democratic Coalition of Algirdas Brazauskas along with the Democratic Labour Party of Lithuania (LDDP), the Union of the Russians of Lithuania (LRS) and the Party of New Democracy. The coalition took 51 seats making it the largest bloc in the parliament whilst the LSDP took 19 seats.

Unable to form a government the coalition went into opposition and in 2001 the LSDP merged with the LDDP in the January. Following the collapse of the government coalition in June 2001 the party, led by Algirdas Mykolas Brazauskas formed a coalition government with the New Union – Social Liberals (NS).

In 2004 the party won 20 seats as part of the ‘Working for Lithuania’ coalition in the 141 seat Seimas and led a minority government with the Labour Party (DP) and the New Union – Social Liberals (NS). The government lasted until 2008 when in fresh elections the party won 25 seats but was outclassed by the Homeland Union which took 45 seats.

The Social Democratic Party of Lithuania is a member of Socialist International as well as the regional grouping the Party of European Socialists. In the European Parliament where the party holds three of the 12 national seats they are members of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats grouping.

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