What You Need To Know:
✅ The ruling Social Democrats suffer a major upset in the first round of parliamentary elections in Lithuania, paving the way for two center-right parties to form a new government.
✅ The current government is blamed for failing to halt the demise of Lithuania’s economy in recent years, in line with the country’s EU neighbors. The Russian threat, corruption, immigration, and poverty are other key concerns of voters.
✅ Both leading parties have pledged not to restore relations with Russia and to boost defense spending.
✅ Lithuania’s population has fallen from 3.3 million to 2.9 million since the Baltic country joined the European Union in 2004.
Lithuania's governing Social Democrats Party has slumped into third place in the country's preliminary round of parliamentary elections. This means the center-right Peasants and Greens and the Homeland Union political parties along with the 'Liberal Movement' is in a position to form a new coalition government.
The Social Democrats have been blamed for failing to revive the economy, an issue which has dwarfed continued threats of a Russian intervention in the country.
"(It is always a parallel topic. Currently, it wasn’t a lead topic because this topic was already on the table since the annexation of Crimea. We were trying to strength our defense. The military spendings were significantly increased so it was on the table already and meanwhile, the people are concentrating on local issues, on immigration, which is one of the biggest problems, economics and also several corruption scandals that will also influence the election results."
The run-off vote will be held on October 23.
Hromadske International presenter Maximus Eristavi spoke with DELFI Editor-in-Chief Monika Garbačiauskaitė Budrienė.