Large numbers change official place of residence ahead of Lithuanian local elections

  • 2015-02-21
  • from wire reports, VILNIUS

It has been noted recently that in certain parts of Lithuania, large numbers of people have been changing their official place of residence from one municipality to another. This has been especially noticeable in Alytus and Vilnius Districts, and the city of Salcininkai, and comes just before local government elections.

A meeting took place on Friday between President Dalia Grybauskaite and representatives of civic initiatives seeking to ensure election transparency.

The Presidential Advisor on Interior Policy, Mindaugas Linge, said after the meeting that such actions have signs of organised manipulation. He specified that the process has been most obvious in the three districts mentioned before. He claimed that residents fill in and submit special forms to the electoral commission, but afterwards they are listed in electoral registers of another district. What is more, Linge said that in some cases dozens of voters are registered at a single address.

Simas Simanauskas, head of the civic initiative Baltos Pirstines (White Gloves), says that this time around people have been informing them about election violations more often. For example, a week before the most recent presidential and European Parliament elections there had only been merely three reports about violations. Now, however, with two weeks left to the upcoming municipal election, over 150 reports of possible violations have been registered. Most of them have been transferred to the Central Electoral Commission and municipal electoral committees. But what complicates the work is that the commissions have to respond in 20 working days, thus most reports will be analysed only after the election.

As reported, according to the Lithuanian Constitution and the rulings of the Constitutional Court, only people constantly residing in a specific municipality may vote there.

Seeing manifestations of organised manipulation, the head of state will put forward amendments to the Law on Elections to Municipal Councils intended to prevent fraud and illegal influence on voting results.