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Lithuanian municipality election 2015 results

2015 03 02. The key part of Lithuanian municipality elections have ended and most results are already known.

All the municipality council members and 19 out of 60 mayors have been already elected. The remaining mayors will be elected in the runoffs held on 2015 03 15.

Party results

Map of the leading parties in each municipality.
©HNIT-BALTIC (map), ©Esri ArcGIS Online (system).

Both in the council and mayoral elections Socialdemocrats have prevailed, receiving 19,03% of total vote and 356 seats. However, their positions are the strongest in many rather unimportant rural municipalities and minor in the main cities.

Homeland Union (15,72% of total vote, 247 seats) won some rural councils and also many seats (but not the first place) in all the city councils, where it will likely be a part of the ruling coalition.

Liberal Movement (15,54%, 216 seats) came close behind, winning the key elections in Vilnius and Klaipėda (but a coalition will be needed in both), as well as a few rural municipalities. Liberal Movement's results are thought to be the most impressive as the party has largely consolidated once-fragmented laissez-faire voters community under its own banner.

Labour Party (8,42%, 148 seats) won the few municipalities it traditionally dominates, such as Kėdainiai, the hometown of its leader Viktor Uspaskich.

Tomaševski's caucus (Lithuania's Poles Electoral Action + Russian Alliance) (7,76%, 68 seats) once again caused southeast Lithuania to vote along ethnic lines, winning the Polish majority areas and gaining some votes from the Russian/Russophone community.

Peasants/Greens (6,82%, 138 seats) continued their traditional dominance in some particular rural municipalities where it is seen as the best representative of the local agricultural communities.

Order and Justice (5,6%, 84 seats) may be the disappointed about its result as it fell behind other parties even in its leader's Paksas's homeland Samogitia where it once prevailed and came first merely at 2 municipalities.

Freedom Union (5,09%, 57 seats) may have lost even more as the liberal voter drifted towards Liberal Movement. Another comeback attempt of Freedom Union's leader is likely unsuccessful as the party led no municipality councils.

Non-partisan electoral committees have shown up unexpectedly well (10,59% of total vote, 115 total seats), with the most well-funded ones prevailing in some key municipalities, including the cities of Kaunas, Šiauliai, Panevėžys, and Alytus. This may indicate a protest against the party system as many voters regard the parties to be either "stained in scandals" or "caring primarily about Vilnius".

Mayors and the councils of major cities

Vilnius City

In Vilnius (pop. 550 000), the most prized possession, incumbent Artūras Zuokas (Freedom Union) barely made it to the runoff with 18,36% of votes, where he will face Remigijus Šimašius (Liberal Movement, 34,53%). Zuokas has especially divided opinions about him, ranging from admiration for his "grand projects" (e.g. a municipal airline, bicycle rent and taxi services) and publicity stunts, to intense hatred of such actions as "wasteful and corrupt". Šimašius is seen as a "new face" who had made his reputation in his recent tenure as minister of justice, characterized both by modernization reforms and alleged mishandling of some major long-term issues (e.g. "giving in to lobbying effort" and paying over 100 million to an American-led Jewish organization as a "compensation for Soviet-destroyed religious properties", while such compensations were not available to any other minority nor to the local Jewish religious communities). Valdemar Tomaševski, an ethnic minority leader, has been left 3rd with 17,25% of the vote.

All three political groups will be represented in Vilnius council, with Liberal Movement gaining 26,34% (15 seats), Tomaševski's caucus 17,19% (10 seats) and Freedom Union 11,27% (6 seats). They will be joined by Homeland Union (14,74%, 8 seats), Socialdemocrats (7,86%, 4 seats), the new Lithuanian List protest party (6,23%, 4 seats) and Order and Justice (4,65%, 3 seats).

Kaunas City

In Kaunas (pop. 320 000) businessman Visvaldas Matijošaitis (electoral committee, 37,81%) has prevailed over incumbent Andrius Kupčinskas (Homeland Union, 25,22%), but a runoff will be needed. Visvaldas Matijošaitis, the owner of Vičiūnai food industry group, is among the richest people of Lithuania, which helped him fund a massive campaign. Andrius Kupčinskas is a professional politician. After completing his political studies he had a successful career, becoming mayor of Kaunas aged 32 back in 2007.

Kaunas council elections mirrored the mayoral elections, with Matijošaitis's electoral committee gaining 29,69% and Homeland Union 23,19% votes (16 and 13 seats respectively). Homeland Union percentage changed little since 2011 elections, while Matijošaitis gained his support from other parties. Socialdemocrats (8,08%, 4 seats), Liberal Movement (8,09%, 4 seats) and another electoral committee (4,69%, 3 seats) will also be represented in the council.

Klaipėda City

In Klaipėda (pop. 160 000), the popular jazz musician/mayor Vytautas Grubliauskas (Liberal Movement, 43,16%) fell short of being elected in the first round and will have to face Agnė Bilotaitė (Homeland Union, 12,08%) in the runoff. Once the youngest member of parliament and former Miss Photo Klaipėda, Agnė Bilotaitė, now 33, is a famous name for Homeland Union, but she will fight an uphill battle in the Liberal-dominated Klaipėda.

The Liberal dominance is also echoed in Klaipėda council elections where the Liberal Movement received 31,62% of votes (11 seats) and Homeland Union 12,35% (4 seats). Being a city with a strong Russian minority Klaipėda will also have many Tomaševski's representatives in the council (11,86%, 4 seats) as well as one Russian Union representative (4,15%). Socialdemocrats (8,11%, 3 seats), Order and Justice (4,38%, 2 seats) and two electoral committees (8,27% - 3 seats and 6,76% - 2 seats) will also have their councillors.

Šiauliai City

In Šiauliai (pop. 105 000) parties suffered a major blow as two non-partisan candidates will contest the runoff: Artūras Visockas (17,15%) and Valerijus Simulik (15,43%). Their respective electoral committees gained 12,76% and 11,66% votes in the Šiauliai council elections, leading to 5 and 4 seats respectivelly Socialdemocrats (17,83%), the traditional power, won the most (6) seats. Liberal Movement (11,98%, 4 seats) and Homeland Union (8,99%, 3 seats) also showed up strongly. Peasants/Greens, Labour, People's Party and Order and Justice gained 2 seats each.

Panevėžys City

In Panevėžys (pop. 100 000) the incumbent mayor Vitalijus Satkevičius (Homeland Union) chose not to contest the elections and his party offered Maurikijus Grėbliūnas instead. He came second in voting (16,03%) after architect Rytis Mykolas Račkauskas (22,65%), who represents Povilas Urbšys's electoral committee. Urbšys, a former head of local anti-corruption agency (who is now an MP), famous for solving some key cases, has amassed immense popularity in Panevėžys - which he now transformed into municipality votes. His committee also received 20,44% of votes (7 seats) in Panevėžys council election, leaving 16,49% (6 seats) for the Homeland Union, 12,21% (4 seats) for Peasants/Greens, 10,79% (4 seats) for Socialdemocrats, 6,82% (3 seats) for Labour. Liberal Movement and two additional electoral committees have also passed the threshold of 4%, gaining 2 seats each.

Vilnius District

In Vilnius district (pop. 100 000) incumbent Marija Rekst (Tomaševski's Poles' Electoral Action) triumphed once again, her 60,02% of votes precluding a runoff and holding on the post she has since 2004. Her party will continue to hold the majority in what is a minority-majority municipality (60,83% votes for Vilnius District council and 20 seats out of 30). Still, however, as Vilnius District population is rapidly growing together with the suburbanization of Vilnius, the ethnic breakdown is changing in favor of Lithuanians, meaning that in the future political life there may become more diverse. After all, back in 2011 64,72% of local residents have voted for the Poles' Electoral Action.

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