Lithuania opposition ahead in polls deemed blow to leftists

The Social Democrats finished third with 15 percent, a huge blow for Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevicius ahead of the decisive October 23 run-off vote.

Lithuania opposition ahead in polls deemed blow to leftists

World Bulletin / News Desk

Early results showed Lithuania's opposition ahead in the polls Monday, a blow to the Baltic state's leftwing government, with voters bitter over economic inequality and mass emigration.  

With results in from three-quarters of polling stations, the national elections commission said the centrist Lithuanian Peasants and Green Union party (LGPU) had garnered 23 percent of the votes, while the Homeland Union conservatives took 19 percent.

"It was a protest vote against the ruling coalition," said Ramunas Vilpisauskas, director of the Institute of International Relations and Political Science in the capital Vilnius.

He said a new labour law which makes it easier to hire and fire employees as well as corruption allegations had alienated voters already angered by low wages and mass emigration to Western Europe.

The election commission earlier tallied turnout at 50 percent of the 2.5 million eligible voters. 

Gabrielius Landsbergis, leader of the Homeland Union, has vowed to seek a new centre-right coalition with the LPGU.

Positioning itself as kingmaker, the LGPU said it was open for talks with both conservatives and leftists, but said it would not clinch any deal before the decisive runoff round in two weeks. 

Seventy members of Lithuania's 141-seat parliament are elected by proportional representation from party lists in the first round. The remaining 71 are chosen in single-member constituency races.

Initial results showed LGPU, led by popular former national police chief Saulius Skvernelis, claimed 19 seats compared to 17 won by the conservatives and 13 for Social Democrats.

Last Mod: 17 Ekim 2016, 16:40
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