Wednesday, January 20

Before the change of power: Lithuania votes conservatively

Litauen is facing a change of power. In the second round of the parliamentary elections, the opposition Patriotic Union became the strongest political force. The conservative party is expected to hold 50 of the 141 seats in parliament after the second round of elections. This was announced by the election commission in Vilnius on Monday night after counting almost all electoral districts.

The second strongest force in the Baltic EU and NATO country, with 32 seats, will be the ruling Union of Farmers and Greens. Its three previous coalition partners also lost significantly – two of them only got three seats each. Farmer boss Ramunas Karbauskis admitted the defeat of his center party after the results were announced and congratulated the conservatives.

Conservatives want to form a coalition

Fatherland Union top candidate Ingrida Simonyte made the right to form a government coalition on election night. The non-party ex-finance minister announced talks with the two liberal parties: the Liberal Movement (13 seats) and the newly founded Freedom Party (eleven seats).

In a joint statement after a meeting, the chairmen of the three parties announced their intention to form a center-right government led by the 45-year-old Simonyte. “We are determined to pool our efforts to restore trust between the state and the people,” it said.

The three-party coalition would only achieve a slim majority in parliament, in which the Social Democrats (13 seats) and the populist Labor Party (ten seats) are also represented. In addition, several smaller parties and independent candidates succeeded in joining the Seimas parliament. The turnout was 39.7 percent.

Even after the first ballot two weeks ago, the Conservatives were considered likely to be successful. At that time, 70 seats were allocated according to proportional representation and three direct seats, the remaining 68 seats were decided in runoff elections on Sunday.

Strict coronavirus protective measures were applied in the election. In the days leading up to the vote and on election day, the number of new infections in Lithuania reached a record level. Dealing with the pandemic and its consequences had also shaped the otherwise low-tension election campaign, which was determined by economic and socio-political issues.

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