Polls open for runoff in parliamentary election in Lithuania

Lithuanians are heading to the polls for runoffs in parliamentary elections that may give the opposition a chance to govern after four years of rule by a coalition led by Social Democrats.

The second round is a runoff for 68 of the 141 seats in parliament.

In the first round two weeks ago, the conservative Homeland Union secured 20 seats, closely followed by the centrist Lithuanian Peasants and Green Union party with 19 seats, leaving the current government party in third place with 13 seats. A few smaller parties also won some seats.

Lithuania’s opposition Homeland Union hopes to capitalize on voters’ dissatisfaction with low wages and labor exodus from their Baltic eurozone state.

Some voters say ruling Social Democrats “blew their chances” and would like to see a coalition led by the conservative Homeland Union.

Experts say the current government is failing to revitalize the nation’s economy that is still struggling to be on the same level as richer countries in Europe.

Sunday’s election for the remaining 68 seats is expected to be a close race where reports say no single party is likely to end up with a majority in parliament.

The biggest of the three Baltic countries, Lithuania regained independence after the collapse of the Soviet Union and joined the European Union in 2004. Since then, approximately 370,000 people have left the country and an estimated 50 percent of those moved to Britain.

The long-ruling Social Democratic-led government and opposition parties are promising to raise living wages in the country of 2.9 million.

Source: VOANews.com