Lithuania holds municipal, mayoral elections

  • 2019-03-03

VILNIUS - Lithuania is holding municipal council and direct mayoral elections on Sunday.

Polling stations across the country opened at 7 a.m. and will close at 8 p.m.

Alma Raubaite, a long-time member of the electoral commission at Vilnius' Vytenio electoral district, says elderly people and those working on Sunday are usually the first to arrive.  

"Those who come early in the morning are people working on Sunday and elderly people, who then go to church and shops," she told BNS. 

The chairwoman of the commission added that turnout was expected to increase after 9 a.m. 

Some 153,000 people, or 6.25 percent of all eligible voters, cast their ballots during four days of early voting, slightly up compared with the same period four years ago. 

The total voter turnout in the 2015 municipal elections was 47 percent. 

There are almost 2.5 million eligible voters in Lithuania.

A ban on political campaigning remains in force until the closing of polling stations. The "campaign silence" applies not only to the local elections, but also to the upcoming presidential election and several referenda.

Local politicians are vying for 1,502 council seats and 60 mayoral positions. Due to Lithuania's shrinking population, this year Lithuanians will elect 22 fewer councilors than four years ago.

All in all, over 13,000 politicians are standing for election as councilors and over 400 politicians want to be elected mayor.

Candidate lists have been fielded by 14 political parties and 90 public election committees. Fourteen election coalitions have been formed.