True Lithuania

Lithuanian European Parliament & President election results

2014 05 26. After counting all the ballots it seems that the Lithuanian president election runoff drew little surprises with Dalia Grybauskaitė easily reelected for a second term. The concurrent Lithuanian European Parliament elections, on the other hand, resulted in an extremely colourful array of representatives (known as MEPs).

European parliament election results in Lithuania, 2014

11 of the Lithuania's seats are to be split among 7 political parties - more than ever.

Parties within the Lithuanian ruling coalition received the most votes, with Socialdemocrats (leftist) and Order and Justice (personal party of Rolandas Paksas) receiving 2 seats each, while Labour party (personal party of Viktor Uspaskich) and the Polish-Russian block received 1 mandate each. The ruling coalition received 52,43% of votes and 6 MEP seats in total.

The opposition received 5 MEP seats in total, split among the centrist conservative Homeland Union (2), laissez-faire Liberals (2) and agriculturalist environmentalist leftists - the Union of Peasants and Greens (1).

Hereunder is the comparison of 2014 election results to those of 2009 as well as a short introduction of the elected MEPs. The voters chose not only the party but also which of its MEPs should be elected.

1.Homeland Union (17,39%) lost 2 seats (previously 4, now 2). Professional politician Algirdas Saudargas will be the only Homeland Union MEP re-elected with the remaining seat going to Gabrielius Landsbergis, a grandson of the "patriarch of Lithuanian independence" Vytautas Landsbergis (who now retired as an MEP after two consecutive terms). Laima Liucija Andrikienė and Radvilė Morkūnaitė sought to be re-elected as MEPs but failed (they remained 3rd and 4th among the party members respectively). The Homeland Union was the strongest in the cities, winning Vilnius, Kaunas and Panevėžys ballot, however, its support may be somewhat decaying as the youngest generation no longer remembers its members' 1987-1991 fight for Lithuanian freedom.

2.Socialdemocrats (17,27%) lost 1 seat (previously 3, now 2). Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (especially loved by older Lithuanians) and Zigmantas Balčytis (also a presidential candidate) have been reelected as MEPs while incumbent Justas Vincas Paleckis will lose his seat (however he did not even contested this election). Socialdemocrats were the strongest in the countryside winning most rural municipalities.

3.Liberals (16,52%), gained 1 seat (previously 1, now 2). Their previous MEP Jewish philosopher Leonidas Donskis chose not to seek reelection and a betting-tycoon-cum-poker-player-cum-basketball-sponsor Antanas Guoga (a.k.a. Tony G) has been elected instead. Interestingly both are not members of the Liberal party. Instead, they are popular figures who have been invited to improve the party's chances. Such tactics may have paid off this time as likely it was the Guoga's popularity that gained the party its second seat, to be filled by a diplomat Petras Auštrevičius. Liberals fared the best in the cities and won the vote at their traditional seaside stronghold (including the 3rd largest city Klaipėda).

4.Order and Justice (13,48%) retained 2 seats. Party leader Rolandas Paksas has been re-elected as MEP (which is the highest political position he may achieve as he is controversially banned from local elections by Constitutional Court after being impeached once) and he should be joined in the EP by the party's obvious "second-in-command" Valentinas Mazuronis. The former mayor of Vilnius Juozas Imbrasas may lack charisma and has not been re-elected as MEP (he remained 4th among party members). In addition to the two leaders, Juozas Imbrasas also yielded to Petras Gražulis, who will be offered an MEP place if Valentinas Mazuronis will not want to leave the cabinet where he is now the minister of environment. Petras Gražulis was a human rights activist (and thus a political prisoner) under the Soviet occupation. To this day he campaigns against dictatorships and ethnic persecutions abroad, but, having suffered a totalitarian regime first-hand, he sees the modern Western rights activism (e.g. LGBT) as a form of vanity that fails to address serious global issues and, when followed religiously, threatens the freedom of speech. Order and Justice prevailed in Samogitia where both its leader Rolandas Paksas and Petras Gražulis hail from.

5.Labour Party (12,12%) retained 1 seat. The party leader ethnic Russian millionaire Viktor Uspaskich was reelected. Like many MEPs he is a controversial figure back home, accused of various things from fraud to following the orders of Vladimir Putin. However, his supporters claim this is fabricated. Moreover, despite all his riches Viktor Uspaskich managed to build an image of an "average Joe" (i.e. someone who laughs at the same jokes and has the same flaws as an average Lithuanian).

6.Polish-Russian block (8,06%) retained 1 seat. It should be filled by the Poles' Electoral Action leader Valdemar Tomaševski, made famous by his campaigning for an increasing role of Polish language in the Polish-majority municipalities as well as limiting abortions. Valdemar Tomaševski is less critical of modern Russian and Soviet policies than most other candidates (he even participated in the Soviet victory day). However, he declares to be against Soviet-style state atheism, imperialism, and genocide. Polish-Russian block, quite understandably, won the minority-majority regions.

7.Union of Peasants and Greens (6,62%) gained 1 seat (previously 0, now 1). This is one of the best election results for the party that usually gains ~4% of the vote. A millionaire farmer Ramūnas Karbauskis is elected as MEP. He has been made famous by his arduous effort at raising the prestige of Lithuanian agricultural village life, destroying the myth that the Lithuanian rural dwellers are necessarily poor, uneducated and addicted to alcohol. Among the projects funded by Ramūnas Karbauskis are a village life soap opera, a museum of Baltic pagan gods and an alcohol-free annual musical festival. Ramūnas Karbauskis's activities likely broadened the party's massive rural support base (where they won a quarter of votes in some municipalities) to cities as urban dwellers started to see it as a "safeguard of traditions and nature" rather than a "farmer lobbying group" it used to be. Nevertheless, Ramūnas Karbauskis may want to stick with his lucrative farms and yield his MEP seat to the mayor of Ignalina Bronis Ropė who is little-known outside of his home region.

It should be noted that the total number of seats allocated to Lithuania decreased from 12 to 11 after Croatia joined.

Generally, the elected parties are in support of European integration. The only party suggesting greater sovereignty was Tautininkai, which received 1,99% of votes, remaining 9th and failing to gain an MEP seat. Only two other parties failed to gain a single seat: the newly-established Greens (3,55%) and Liberal Center (1,49%). However, most of the Lithuania's smaller parties chose not to contest the elections altogether as EP is not held as an important institution.

Lithuanian presidential election results, 2014

Well before counting the votes in Lithuania's presidential elections it became clear that Dalia Grybauskaitė, an independent center-left candidate, will be reelected over the leftist Socialdemocrat Zigmantas Balčytis in the runoff. Final results (after excluding the bad ballots) are 59,05% for Dalia Grybauskaitė vs. 40,95% for Zigmantas Balčytis.

Zigmantas Balčytis closed a part of the initial gap (he lost 13,83% to 46,64% in the first round) as many of those who voted for other candidates in the first round supported Zigmantas Balčytis in the runoff. However, this proved to be not enough to dislodge Grybauskaitė who gained a wide support of both centre-left and rightists (the right lacked its own strong candidate this election). Z. Balčytis prevailed only in his native areas of southern Samogitia and the minority-majority regions as the minorities (especially Russophone) voted for him.

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