Image of M. Schulz used to promote homophobia in Lithuania

As the Lithuanian presidential elections and the European Parliament elections are approaching, ex-president of Lithuania Rolandas Paksas, who was impeached and removed on corruption charges in 2004, has started a misleading pre-election campaign. Not to mention the fact that R.Paksas’ electioneer address him as a President, trying to re-establish his political prestige and to veil the fact that he was removed from office by impeachment, the organizers of the campaign pick even more puzzling tools to promote his candidacy. An image of the President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz is used for R. Paksas campaign, though M. Schulz’s programme is notably incompatible with R. Paksas line of policy. The reference to the President of EP is most likely used to add status for Lithuanian politician’s campaign.

The advertisement, repeatedly announced in the major internet portal in Lithuania DELFI last week, is composed of three parts. The first image depicts two Lithuanian members of the Europe of Freedom and Democracy (EFD) – a right-wing Eurosceptic political group in the EP – R.Paksas and J. Imbrasas standing next to the President of the EP M. Schulz (who is not a member of EFD). The second part of the advertisement reads “Sexual orientation does not provide grounds for claiming exceptional rights”.   The last part shows a logo of EFD with a line beneath it, which reads: “The EP political group EFD. The Lithuanian delegation”. Homophobic assertion expressed in a second part of the advertisement is indeed a part of R. Paksas political line, but it is truly unlikely that M. Schulz supports this discriminatory position.

On February 15th R. Paksas gave a 30-minute speech at the party congress Order and Justice which he is leading expressing his Eurosceptic views. He stated: “The concepts of gender, homosexuality and the doctrines disrupting the traditional conception of family, promoted by the European Union, has to be essentially removed from its agenda”. This is not the first time when R. Paksas expresses highly negative opinions about the EU policy and is questioning the union’s substantiality, therefore using the EP President’s image for his political campaign seems, to say the least, inadequate.