Labor wins election, though with less margin than expected

  • 2004-10-20
  • By The Baltic Times
VILNIIUS - The second round of the parliamentary election was completed on Sunday, with the Labor Party winning 16 more mandates and bringing the total number of seats it will control in the new Seimas to 39, which is much less than party leaders had hoped for.

The current ruling coalition of Social Democrats and Social Liberals won 12 more mandates, which added to the 19 they won in the first round (held on party basis), gives them 31 seats in the new Parliament.

The right-wing parties, however, seemed to assume the driver's seat after they won a combined 25 seats in single-mandate districts, giving them a total of 43 seats in the legislature. The two parties are the Homeland Union (the Conservatives) and the Liberal and Center Union.

In order to form a majority coalition, parties will need at least 71 seats in the 140-seat Seimas.

Central Electoral Committee Chairman Zenonas Vaigauskas did not rule out that votes might be recounted in some districts due to a narrow victory.

President Valdas Adamkus was planning to meet with leaders of the winning parties on Monday afternoon. Presidential spokeswoman Rita Grumadaite said Adamkus would meet first with Labor leader Viktor Uspaskich, then with leaders of the ruling coalition - Prime Minister Algirdas Brazauskas and Parliamentary Chairman Arturas Paulauskas - followed by right-wing politicians.

Under the Constitution, the president is to propose the candidate for prime minister for parliamentary approval. Also, within 15 days after the publication of the official election results, the president is to call the parliament of new tenure to its first meeting.

The coalition of impeached ex-president Rolandas Paksas For Order and Justice won 11 mandates, while the Kazimira Prunskiene-led Union of Farmers and New Democracy Parties secured 10 mandates each. Five mandates were won by independent candidates and two by representatives of the Lithuanian Poles' Electoral Actions.