2023.03.19 20:03

Ballots close in Lithuania’s runoff mayoral elections

updated 2023.03.19 20:03

On Sunday, residents of 34 municipalities in Lithuania voted in the runoff mayoral elections.

Polling stations closed at 20:00. According to the Central Electoral Commission (VRK), the turnout stood at 45.82 percent.

In the first round on March 5, 26 mayors were elected, with the highest voter turnout in twenty years (48.93 percent).

In the remaining municipalities, including the Lithuanian capital Vilnius and port city Klaipėda, voters chose from two candidates who received the most votes in the first round.

In Vilnius, Valdas Benkunskas of the conservative Homeland Union (TS-LKD) faced Artūras Zuokas of the Freedom and Justice party in the runoff vote. The candidates secured 31 and 22 percent of the vote, respectively, in the first round.

Benkunskas, 38, is a lawyer by trade. He currently sits in the Vilnius Council and is a deputy mayor of the Lithuanian capital.

Zuokas, 55, is hoping to retake the post that he previously held three times. Accusations of corruption marked his mayorship, and Zuokas was convicted of bribery.

In Klaipėda, Lithuania’s third biggest city, Arvydas Vaitkus, running with the political committee Loyal to Klaipėda, and Audrius Petrošius of TS-LKD competed for the mayorship.

Vaitkus, 59, is a businessman and politician. He has headed the Klaipėda State Seaport Authority, served as director of logistics of the Achema Group and as secretary of the Ministry of Transport and Communications.

Petrošius, 32, is currently a member of the Lithuanian parliament Seimas. He has previously served as a member of the Klaipėda City Council.

In Kaunas, Lithuania’s second city, Visvaldas Matijošaitis, the incumbent mayor, was re-elected in the first round with 58.33 percent of the vote.

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