Assessing Formation of Evidence Based Tobacco and Alcohol Control Policy in Lithuania: the Retrospective Analysis of Voting of the Members of Parliament

Mindaugas Štelemėkas, Vaida Liutkutė, Nijolė Goštautaitė-Midttun, Aurelijus Veryga

Abstract


Goal. To develop the instrument for monitoring and assessment of the Members of Parliament (MP) voting patterns on tobacco and alcohol control policy and present main results of the changes in voting indicator (rating) during 2012–2015.
Methodology. Analysis was conducted using statistical data of MP voting on the issues of the tobacco and alcohol control policy publicly available on the internet page of the Parliament of the Republic of Lithuania. Final analysis included 57 law amendments voted on between 16th of November, 2012 and 30th of June, 2015, after assessment of their potentially positive or negative impact on public health. The instrument is used to assess individual MPs and political parliamentary factions based on their votes on the issues of tobacco and alcohol control policy. The final rating was based on calculating weight coefficient depending of the MP vote having the potentially positive or negative impact on public health. A sum of each MPs positive and negative votes was then converted into 10 point scoring system, with the worst assessment of 0 and best – 10. Overall assessment of each Parliamentary faction was calculated as an average of the scores of individual faction members.
Results. The instrument for assessment of the Republic of Lithuania MPs voting patterns has been developed and implemented for the six Parliamentary sessions during 2012–2016. On average 75 MPs voted per voting round (min. 38; max. 114) through 57 voting rounds included in the final analysis. Out of 146 current and former MPs assessed with this instrument 58 percent received less than 5 points (negative assessment), 27 percent were assessed 5-7 points, 13 percent received 8 points and 2 percent – 9-10 points. The assessment
of the Parliamentary factions revealed differences between individual voting pattern and that of a political group to which MP belongs. Highest assessments were received by the Lithuanian Polish Election Action and Lithuanian Homeland Union and Lithuanian Christian Democratic political groups (accordingly 6.3 and 5.9 points). Labour party and Order and Justice political groups received barely positive assessment (accordingly 5.1 and 5.3 point). Negative assessments were received by the Liberal Movement political group (2.3 points), the Lithuanian Socialdemocratic Party political group (4.4 point) and the Mixed parliament political group (4.6 point).
Conclusions. Assessment of the MP voting patterns has revealed differences between individual MPs and political factions voting rating, also large differences within factions. Over half of the MPS received negative rating assessments. Non-attendance of the Parliamentary meetings by MPs had a significant impact on their negative rating. Instrument is suitable for monitoring individual MPs and political factions inclination to favour public heath interest.

Keywords


tobacco and alcohol control policy, Member of Parliament (MP), Parliamentary political group, tobacco and alcohol.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.13165/SPV-16-1-9-01

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"Health Policy and Management" ISSN online 2029-9001 / ISSN print 2029-3569