Lithuania – Incumbent president Dalia Grybauskaite elected for second term in office

On 25 May 2014 Lithuania held the second round of presidential elections. After incumbent president Dalia Grybauskaite had already dominated the first round of voting, she also won the second round as expected. Nevertheless, she was not able to significantly increase the total number of votes and her opponent Balčytis finished with more than just a succès d’estime. lithuania presidential elections 2 In the first round of voting, Grybauskaite won 45.9 % of the vote, compared to only 13.6% won by runner-up Zigmantas Balčytis, leading many analysts to predict a victory close to the 69% that earned her the presidency in 2009. Given these prospects both candidates hardly engaged in any further campaigning during the last two weeks. In their last TV debate President Grybauskaite continued her rather aggressive rhetoric with regard to Lithuania’s security interests and criticised the government for not setting a higher defence budget. Balčytis tried to defend the government and overall presented himself as the more conciliatory candidate. The eventual result is in so far surprising as Grybauskaite was only able to increase the number of votes by 88,009 (a 14% increase), while Balčytis was able to attract an additional 304,276 (167% increase). Nevertheless, it also reflects the fact that Grybauskaite was the only credible candidate from the beginning. Not only because of Grybauskaite’s certain victory, Balčytis motivation to actively engage in the campaign was somewhat limited. Already two days after the first round of elections, the Prime Minister Butkevicius sparked speculations about Balčytis becoming Lithuania’s candidate for EU commissioner. Although the approval of parliament and president is needed before Balčytis can be nominated as an official candidate, given his background as former minister of finance and MEP (as well as the good election result) his nomination seems very likely.

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Detailed election results can be found on the website of the Lithuanian Electoral Commission http://www.2013.vrk.lt/2014_prezidento_rinkimai/output_en/rezultatai_vienmand_apygardose2/rezultatai_vienmand_apygardose2turas.html

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