VILNIUS – Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda announced on Thursday his decision to seek re-election next year.
"I am determined and committed to continue the started work. I will run for president in May 2024 and I hope that the people of Lithuania will give me a strong mandate of trust, as they did in 2019," Nauseda told a press conference at the Presidential Palace on Thursday.
Nausda says his attitudes have not changed since 2019 when he first ran for president.
"I want to say that whatever I am, I cannot be accused of changing my opinions or changing my attitudes," the president said, adding that he still has unfinished work.
The president refrained to assess his chances in next year's presidential election.
"I think all the candidates should be respected, each of them comes with their own vision, their own ideas, and I think it's good that we will have a big choice, and my goal is to diversify that choice," Nauseda said.
Public opinion polls show Nauseda, 59, is the clear favorite to win the presidential election next year.
Asked about his slogan and team, the president said the answers would be provided "when the time comes", adding that his election team will include people he trusts.
The president also assured that the resources of the presidential office would not be used for the election campaign, adding that the election campaign would not interfere with his direct duties.
At the press conference, Nauseda highlighted the "tectonic shifts" that have taken place during his four years as president. He mentioned the agreements on the deployment of a German brigade in Lithuania, to allocate more than 2 percent of the country's GDP to defense, and others.
"All this allows me to say that Lithuania is safer than ever in terms of external threats," Nauseda said.
The president also highlighted the success in withstanding the consequences of rising energy prices, talked about people with disabilities and the country's progress in this area, and explained that the welfare state is "about reducing exclusion."
Nauseda also spoke about local government institutions that, he said, had demonstrated their activeness in dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, illegal migrants and supporting Ukraine.
Nauseda was elected president in 2019, defeating incumbent Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte in the runoff.
His main rivals are Simonyte and lawyer Ignas Vegele. The latter has already announced his plans to run for president earlier this month.
In total, more than ten people have announced their plans to run for president in May.