What the sweeping wave of elections promises to us all?

  • 2019-02-28
  • Linas Jegelevicius, The Baltic Times editor-in-chief

It is good to see you clutching the newest issue of The Baltic Times, which created some buzz in late January with the release of its magazine, this time devoted for the year 2019 winter and spring season.

The magazine release party in Riga attracted quite a few distinguished guests, the photos of whom we share in our colourful spread on pages 12 and 13.

As the promising product of our diversification effort, The Baltic Times Magazine 2019 is available free pan-Baltic and if you’re interested to take a look through it please drop me a line via the email above – I’ll gladly send you a pdf copy of it.

As good old Europe is gearing up for the European Parliament election, to be held throughout the bloc during May 23-26, two, soon-to-be-outgoing EU commissioners, including Lithuania’s Vytenis Andriukaitis, EU Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, send this message to the voters in  The Baltic Times contributor Rokas Tracevskis’ article from Brussels:  the EU investments in health should not suffer due to cuts in the next EU financial perspective for 2021–2027 and...  the EU policy on health matters could be a useful tool in tackling the rise of eurosceptic populism in the EU. 

The forthcoming EP elections are moreover likely to bring about changes in traditional power relationships in Europe. It is expected that the European People's Party (EPP) will remain the largest group in the European Parliament, but will bleed off significantly. Socialists in a downward trend in support all over Europe are likely to surrender second place to Liberals, but many fear that garden-variety populist movements and opponents of the EU, especially in larger member states, will muscle into the Parliament as a formidable force.

With the election nearing, the word - populism - is finding its way into headlines of the national press too. No wonder: Lithuania is holding municipal Council elections on March 3 and the presidential election is slated for May 12.

Meanwhile, on March 3, Estonia looks forward to electing a new Riigikogu, the country’s parliament. In four days since the beginning of the voting, 128 266 votes have been cast at Riigikogu elections - 21,375 voters have voted in county centres, and 106,891 over the internet, which is a significant increase from four years ago.

It seems that populists and wannabes are kept at bay in both the Lithuanian and the Estonian elections, but their victorious journey to the European Parliament can become a headache not only to Brussels but to Tallinn, Vilnius and Riga as well.  

Let’s wait a little and see how things pan out!