News

2015.09.08 13:45

Early Voting in the Presidential Runoff

Algirdas Acus2015.09.08 13:45

An early voting for the second round of the Lithuanian Presidential elections scheduled for May 25 took start yesterday and will continue today. Incumbent President Dalia Grybauskaite faces Zigmantas Balcytis, Social Democratic Member of the European Parliament.  

 An early voting for the second round of the Lithuanian Presidential elections scheduled for May 25 took start yesterday and will continue today. Incumbent President Dalia Grybauskaite faces Zigmantas Balcytis, Social Democratic Member of the European Parliament.

A clear favourite is Dalia Grybauskaite with 46 percent of votes in the first round, and many expected her to avoid runoff as she did back in 2009.

However, Social Democratic Member of the European Parliament and former Minister of Finances Zigmantas Balcytis managed to challenge Grybauskaite, after receiving 14% percent of votes.

Balcytis is strongly supported by his party leader, Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevicius, with Social Democratic party currently having the highest rankings.

In contrast to Grybauskaite's 'toughness', Balcytis runs a very moderate and modest campaign, in which he mostly concentrates on social issues that grew in importance after austerity measures aimed to overcome the financial crisis.

Most of support to Social Democrats comes from provinces, while Grybauskaite and oppositional Conservatives are invincible in big cities.

 Although Grybauskaite is an independent candidate and as an elected President cannot be a member of any party, she is supported by the oppositional right wing forces that cooperatively worked with Grybauskaite during most of her term.

When Conservatives lost power in the last general election, as a backlash against austerity, Grybauskaite’s ratings still remained high.

She is praised for her sharp-cut style in dealing with financial crisis back in 2009, current Ukrainian crisis, as well as efforts of securing energetic independence from Russia.

Lithuania is constructing an LNG terminal called 'Independence' in the port city of Klaipeda to provide an alternative to Russian gas. The project is to be finished by the end of this year.

Although Lithuania is considered to be a parliamentary republic, the President’s Office still holds a considerable power. Grybauskaite is mainly responsible for foreign policy and she also appoints the Government ministers and judges, but she needs approval of the Parliament or the Prime Minister for most of her appointments.

 SHOTLIST:

Shots of people voting in  a special early voting place (Vilnius Municipality building)

Soundbite (Lithuanian), a woman:
I want stability. No changes in government, peace and security.

Soundbite (Lithuanian), a woman, EGLE DAUGELAITE:
It is easy to choose. I watched electoral programmes on TV. It is easy to choose if you only try to be more curious.

LRT TV presenter talks to both candidates before debates, 2014-05-15

TV presenter asks candidates to take their places

Shot of Grybauskaite

Shot of Balcytis

The start of TV debates (headpiece)

TV presenter presents the topic -- Internal Affairs

Shot of Grybauskaite

Shot of Balcytis

More of presenting Balcytis

Shot of presenting Grybauskaite

Soundbite (Lithuanian)

DALIA GRYBAUSKAITE, Lithuanian President, independent candidate:
 At the moment Lithuania’s economic growth is the fastest in Europe, above 3 percent of GDP – which really impressing. Of course, we had to pay a price, but since we’ve managed to cope with the crisis, it gives us an opportunity to feel secure as regards investments, development and adopting Euro.

Soundbite (Lithuanian)

ZIGMANTAS BALCYTIS,  Social Democratic candidate, member of the European Parliament:
 To begin with, we have to answer ourselves the question who’s been paying the bills and how we’ve managed to come out of the crisis. In contrast to other EU member states we’ve coped due to our people, in fact, the poorest had to pay the bills.

TV presenter ends debates