(VILNIUS) – Gintautas Paluckas has officially taken over the leadership of Lithuanian Social Democratic Party on Saturday, vowing to renew the party and bring more left-wing politics to the country.
Paluckas has officially taken over the leadership of Lithuanian Social Democratic Party from the country’s former prime minister Algirdas Butkevicius in the party’s 35th congress.
Addressing his party fellows, Paluckas urged to rediscover social democratic values.
“Social democracy is not social benefits. Social democracy is one’s liberation from inequality caused by nature and market,” Paluckas said in his speech.
On a rare occasion, the event was attended by the leaders from other parties.
Paluckas says he aims to “bring back social democracy and democracy to the party and more left-wing politics to the country”.
Paluckas, 37, was elected as the new leader of the social democrats last month in the party’s first direct elections of the leader, replacing Butkevicius.
Butkevicius decided not to seek for his re-election following last year’s parliamentary elections which left the social democrats, the leaders of the former government, with the third place and 17 seats at the 141-seat parliament and the role of minority partners at the current ruling coalition.
Paluckas says the party is to concentrate on poverty, social exclusion and emigration issues.
Following the party leader’s elections, political analysts, party fellows and political opponents expressed hopes Paluckas, the deputy-mayor of Vilnius, Lithuanian capital, would bring renewal to the social democratic party and increase its transparency.
The new leader admits there were cases of “corruption, nepotism, protectionism” in the party.
“We will get rid of these things. The changes of internal cultural tradition in the social democratic party will be inevitable,” Paluckas told Lithuanian national radio LRT on Saturday.