Lithuania’s main center-right opposition party – the Homeland Union – has led the first round of the national parliamentary vote, as the rising unemployment rate and public debt hurt the ruling coalition.
The Homeland Union, which originated in the 1980s anti-Soviet independence movement, led the vote with 24.8% opposed with 17.5% for the Farmers and Greens party (LVZS), an agrarian group that leads the coalition of Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis.
Under the country’s election system, half of the 141-member parliament was elected on Sunday 11 October in a proportional vote. Remaining lawmakers are elected in constituencies, with a run-off vote for the top two candidates in each held on 25 October.
While it is not guaranteed that the second round of voting could potentially shift the current balance, the leader of LVZS recognized that his party might be heading out of government as none of his coalition partners reached the 5% of votes needed to secure seats in the Lithuanian parliament.
“Working in opposition could be easier than in the government, and the salary is same either way,” Ramunas Karbauskis told reporters on Monday, a day after the vote.
About 20 per-cent of people were at risk of poverty in 2019 – mostly the elderly population segment – unchanged from a decade ago, state figures show.