News2023.05.02 10:06

Fifth of Lithuanians take negative view of president after he admits Communist Party membership

BNS 2023.05.02 10:06

A fifth of Lithuanians have reported a negative shift in their opinion of President Gitanas Nausėda after he admitted he had joined the Communist Party in the late 1980s, a new survey shows.

According to a BNS survey, 20.7 percent of people in Lithuania changed their opinion of the president to the negative side. 61.2 percent reported no change in their opinion, and 3.3 percent said their opinion changed for the better. Another 14.8 percent said they had no opinion on this issue.

A separate Vilmorus poll, published by the Lietuvos Rytas daily on Saturday, shows that the public's favourable opinion of Nausėda has dropped from 64 percent to 54.5 percent over a month.

In April, the presidential office confirmed that Nausėda had joined the Communist Party in May 1988, which he called a youthful mistake. When running for president in 2019, Nausėda failed to mention his membership to the Central Electoral Commission.

Last month, Nausėda said he did not commit a violation, as the question on party memberships was optional in the pre-election questionnaire.

Voters of the ruling conservative Homeland Union – Lithuanian Christian Democrats reported the biggest negative shift in opinion, with 54.5 percent saying they now viewed the president negatively.

Freedom and Justice party voters were the most neutral about Nausėda's Communist Party membership, with 85.7 percent saying they did not change their opinion of the president.

While most people under 29 said they now held a more negative opinion of the president (26.7 percent), the age group also had the highest proportion of people with no opinion (28.3 percent).

The largest number of those who did not change their opinion about Nausėda were those aged 50 to 59 (75.3 percent).

Vilmorus surveyed 1,000 adults in 24 cities and more than 40 villages between April 14 and 22 through in-person and telephone conversations.

LRT has been certified according to the Journalism Trust Initiative Programme

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