Adamkus finishes strong; Labor Party dominates EP poll

  • 2004-06-10
  • By The Baltic Times
VILNIUS – Former President Valdas Adamkus will face off against MP Kazimira Prunskiene in the second round of presidential elections in two weeks, while the upstart Labor Party scored a resounding victory in the country's first EP election.

According to the Central Electoral Committee, Adamkus won 30.7 percent of the vote, while Prunskiene mustered 21.3 percent. Since neither won an outright majority, a run-off ballot will be held on June 27.
Adamkus, 77, won most votes in the largest cities – Kaunas, Vilnius, Klaipeda, Panevezys and Siauliai – followed by Prunskiene, 61.
Among the other candidates, former European Union negotiator Petras Austrevicius, received 19.3 percent, Social Security and Labor Minister Vilija Blinkeviciute 16.62 percent and acting Parliamentary Chairman Ceslovas Jursenas 11.9 percent.
It was widely believed that Austrevicius, who was backed by the Conservatives, was capable of finishing second, but the last-minute support of ousted President Rolandas Paksas for Prunskiene may have turned the tide.
In the EP election, six parties collected more than five percent of the vote, though by far the largest support went to the Labor Party (30.3 percent), a new party founded by millionaire MP Viktor Uspaskich. The Social Democrats mustered 14.4 percent, the oppositional Conservatives and Liberal and Center Union 12.4 and 11.1 percent, respectively, while the Farmers and New Democracy Union received 7.4 percent and the pro-Paksas Liberal Democrats 6.8 percent. The coalition of the Polish and Russian parties received 5.74 percent of votes.
Central Electoral Committee Chairman Zenonas Vaigauskas said on Monday that the populist Labor Party should get five mandates, the ruling Social Democrats and the oppositional Conservatives and Liberal and Center Union two each, and the Farmers and New Democracy Union and the Liberal Democrats one mandate, the Baltic News Service reported.
A new poll by the Vilmorus company published in the Lietuvos Rytas daily on Monday showed that the Labor Party would win the country's parliamentary elections.