Lithuania: Nauseda Secures Landslide Victory in Second Round

Gitanas Nauseda, Lithuania’s outgoing president, has won the presidential election, the eighth since the country’s independence.

The small Baltic country (2.8 million inhabitants) chose to re-elect the former banker with about three-quarters of the vote (with 90% of the ballots counted).

“Lithuanians gave me a great mandate of trust, and I am well aware that I will have to learn a lesson from this credit of trust,” were Nauseda’s first statements in Vilnius. “Now that I have five years of experience, I think I will definitely be able to utilize this jewel properly, first of all to achieve the goals of the well-being of all Lithuanian residents.”

The challenger, the country’s prime minister, Ingrida Simonyte, acknowledged Nauseda’s victory and congratulated the “Lithuanian president-elect.” It should be emphasized that the positions of these two politicians, pro-European and similar on foreign policy and defense (both promising more funds), differed noticeably, especially on domestic affairs: Nauseda takes a more conservative approach, while Simonyte takes a more liberal approach. One of the issues of conflict is the recognition of homosexual couples, which has always been the losing candidate’s strong suit.

In Lithuania, the role of the president can be defined as “semi-executive”: he heads the armed forces, plays a central role in defense and national security matters, as well as representation in the EU and NATO: he determines these policies together with the government, he has the right to veto and express his opinion when appointing key figures, such as the chief prosecutor, judges, the head of the central bank…