13/05/2014 - Results - 1st round
Dalia Grybauskaite easily drew ahead in the first round of the presidential election on 11th May in Lithuania without however managing to repeat her success of 5 years ago when she won in the first round. She won 45.89% of the vote and will have to wait for the 2nd round which will be organised on the same day as the European elections, 25th May to guarantee her second mandate as head of Lithuania. She was standing as an independent candidate but had the support of the centre-right opposition Homeland Union-Conservatives (TS-LK), the Christian Party (KP) and the Liberal Movement (LRLS).
In the 2nd round Dalia Grybauskaite will face MEP and former Finance and Transport Minister, Zigmantas Balcytis (Social Democratic Party LSP) who won 13.63% of the vote.
Arturas Paulauskas (Labour Party, DP), MP and former leader of Parliament (2000-2006) came third with 12.02% of the vote. He was ahead of MP Naglis Puteikis who won 9.33%; MEP Valdemar Tomasevski (Electoral Action of Poles, LLRA) 8.23%; the Mayor of Vilnius Arturas Zuokas (Civic Homeland Revival Movement and the Future, TAIP) 5.22% and Finally Bronis Rope (Farmers' Union, LVLS) Mayor of Ignalina 4.15%.
Turnout totalled 52.14% i.e. an almost equivalent level to the one recorded in the first round of the previous presidential election on 17th May 2009 (+0.34 points). "In spite of a dull campaign turnout was high, most probably because the electorate is worried about the Russian aggression in Ukraine,
" declared Kestutis Girnius, professor at the Institute of International Relations and Political Science of Vilnius.
"The electorate has decided that there will be a second round. I would like to thank all of the Lithuanians who granted me nearly 47% of the vote, it is magnificent proof of confidence,
" declared Dalia Grybauskaite.
"The outgoing president has taken care to stand as the politician who is in the best position to defend Lithuania. Many of the undecided finally did go and vote for her,
" indicated Kestutis Girnius. Given the events in Ukraine and what Lithuanians are qualifying as "Russian aggression
" - and at a time when national security issues are on the agenda the Head of State knows how to show strength and determination. Her firm stance is particularly appreciated by her fellow countrymen. "Europe is under attack. War and occupation are not words from the distant past that we only find in the history books; there is a real danger of war in Europe. In fact we are practically on the verge of a new Cold War (...) Europe must understand that Russia is redesigning the post-war map and borders. For the time being it is affecting Ukraine, then Moldova will be in the hot seat and then it might reach the Baltic States and Poland. The threat is extremely serious in our region,
" declared Dalia Grybauskaite during the electoral campaign. A poll also revealed that nearly 9 Lithuanians in 10 (87%) believe that Russia could try to occupy their country or part of it.
Former Prime Minister (2008-2012) Andrius Kubilius (TS-LK), in support of the outgoing head of State, called for her re-election in the first round "in case things turn badly by 25th May next,
" the day of the Ukrainian presidential election and to "respond to the Kremlin which wants to use the presidential election to foment trouble in Lithuania.
" "Lithuania's response to rising threats has to be simple: elect the president of the Republic on 11th May,
" maintained the former head of government.
The outgoing President of the Republic said she was "prepared to take up arms herself to defend the country if national security required it.
"We should take up dialogue with Russia. Any kind of peace is preferable to war,
" maintained Zigmantas Balcytis.
"Dalia Grybauskaite was sceptical about the USA and tried to improve relations with Moscow at the beginning of her mandate. But for some years she understood that Russia would only be friendly on its own terms and she is now extremely mistrustful of Moscow,
" declared Kestutis Girnius, Russia has also suspended an agreement dating back to 2001 which allowed Lithuania to send military inspectors to the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad on a yearly basis.
The main role played by the Lithuanian President is to lead the country's foreign policy. At the end of April Vilnius hosted American troops and NATO stepped up its presence in the three Baltic States which have been NATO members for the last ten years. "A strong, united European Union that can act as a counterbalance to Russia's imperial ambitions is extremely important for Lithuanian security,
" declared Dalia Grybauskaite on the 10th anniversary of the country's entry in the EU on 1st May 2004.
Dalia Grybauskaite's result in the first round of the presidential election - and her very probable re-election on 25th May - is all the more remarkable since in the last poll taken mid-April by the Baltijos Tyrimai Institute showed that if the general elections were organised now the Social Democratic Party of present Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevicius and the leftwing would win.
"Lithuanians like the style, the abrupt manner, the determination, and the ease with which Dalia Grybauskaite can put any Minister back into place,
" stresses Kestutis Girnius.