Lithuania voted on a new president on sunday – but results were not yet available. Results were not expected until monday night.
Nine candidates had applied to succeed dalia grybauskaite in the highest office in the baltic EU and NATO country – pre-election polls had put former finance minister ingrida simonyte in the lead. But the economist gitanas nauseda and the incumbent head of government saulius skvernelis were also considered to have good chances.
More than 50 percent of votes needed for first-round victory. If, as expected, no candidate achieves an absolute majority, the two best-placed candidates will go out on 26. May – parallel to the european election – in a runoff election.
Almost 2.5 million eligible voters were called to the polls. Voter turnout was 56.5 percent in vilnius, according to the electoral commission.
In lithuania, the head of state has mainly repressive duties, but in comparison to the german president, he has more extensive powers in foreign and defense policy.
Head of government skvernelis linked his current office to the outcome of the presidential election this evening. If he does not make the cut in the vote for the new head of state, he will resign on 12 july. July, the non-party politician announced his resignation as prime minister at an election party in vilnius, according to lithuanian media reports. If skvernelis were to become the new president, however, he would also have to relinquish his office as head of government under the constitution.
Grybauskaite not allowed to run for office again after two five-year terms, according to the constitution. Since july 2009, the former EU finance commissioner has been the first female head of state since lithuania regained its independence from the soviet union in 1990.
There were two referendums at the same time as the presidential election. The inhabitants of the baltic state voted on the introduction of a dual citizenship on the one hand and on the reduction of the number of deputies in the lithuanian parliament on the other.