By Petras Vaida
May 27, 2014
Lithuania has made its decision. Incumbent President Dalia Grybauskaite will remain in her office for the next five years. Based on preliminary data, in the second round of the presidential election she received 57.87% of votes, while social democratic candidate Zigmantas Balcytis has collected 40.14% of votes., reports LETA/ELTA, referring to Vakaro zinios.
In total, Grybauskaite was supported by 700,674 voters, while Balcytis was supported by 485,968 voters.
Chair of the Central Electoral Commission (VRK) Zenonas Vaigauskas informed that Grybauskaite will be presented with the certificate of the President next week, while her oath is planned on 12 July. One of the first to extend congratulations to Grybauskaite was Parliament Speaker Loreta Grauziniene. Grybauskaite’s rival Balcytis did the same. “One has to be a winner, the other has to be a loser. The election campaign was too short for me and I was not able to present my ideas, to talk to everyone,” said Balcytis after the election.
After such an end of the election, the current Government cannot be sure that its composition will remain the same. Before the inauguration, Grybauskaite plans to meet with all the minister and the heads of institutions, appointed by her, and to discuss future works. She has mentioned that even the composition of the ruling coalition may change and promises to speak about it with Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevicius. After the inauguration, the head of the state plans changes in her team as well, yet so far she does not go into details, which advisors could be replaced. Among her priorities is seek to reduce social exclusion, to prevent plundering the state, to enhance energy independence, transparency, to tackle corruption.
According to political scientist Saulius Siliauskas, the results of the election show that Dalia Grybauskaite still receives a solid support. “Her election strategy to do not identify with competing political parties, to be equally far from all of them or to be equally just to everyone, has approved. However, when the president does not have a pro-presidential political power, it impedes the ruling. A very significant fact is that Zigmantas Balcytis, who ran both for the presidential and the European Parliament elections, has failed: he lost not only to Grybauskaite but also to his party fellow Vilija Blinkeviciute, who received more support in the EP election than he did. It can be said that the social democratic party has lost the election. It should be noted that pre-election polls had indicated that the social democrats were leading; however, it did not prove out. The social democrats have to assess these results and they will have to think it over before the municipal e lection as to how the voters could be attracted,” said Siliauskas.vLithuania will not allow to be ordered by Russia. The work of every minister will be discussed. The survival of the ruling coalition will depend on its efforts. Defence spending has to be increased this year. The advisory corps will be renewed. This was expressed by the re-elected President Dalia Grybauskaite at a press conference in the Presidential Palace. Speaking of her activity directions in the coming five years, the president said: “I expect civil relations based on mutual respect with Russia. If there are the same wishes on its side, we are always ready to cooperate and trade but we will never allow it to impose pressure on us, neither push us nor order around.” The head of the country wished Russia to become more democratic and success in dealing with its economic challenges, she also wished Russia wellbeing, ensuring human rights and reforms.
And enemies became friends. This could be said about the five years of Grybauskaite’s ruling. The term began with searches for CIA’ prisons in Antaviliai and ended with friendly flights of American jet fighters over Vilnius. Grybauskaite commented on the events in Ukraine by blaming the both sides, while the decision of Parliament Speaker Loreta Grauziniene and her deputies to show up in Maidan was booed by a mocking choir of young conservatives. During the five years, there was much effort made to destroy relations with Warsaw, though particularly this friendship is of utmost importance to carry out energy independence projects and it used to help Lithuania to be heard in Europe, writes Lietuvos Rytas.
According to political scientist Lauras Bielinis, the second Grybauskaite’s term of office will be not much different from the first one. “However, there is one nuance that may affect it: the President is aware of the fact that this term is the last one. Therefore, she will not stand on ceremony and it will be most likely easier for her to act where she used to stop acting during the first term. As a result, I think we will see a tougher approach, and it really will not be diplomatic,” said Bielinis in an interview with daily Lietuvos Zinios. Asked about changes in foreign policy, the political scientist hoped for an establishment of a dialogue with neighbours. “I do not know when it will happen or how, yet I think there should be an attempt, they are our neighbours, we have to look for a contact,” said the expert. Political scientist Kestutis Girnius forecasted that Grybauskaite would attempt a more open communication with people. According to Girnius, her victory in the el ection shows that the President remains the most popular politician after President Algirdas Brazauskas.
According to Jurgis Razma, Deputy Chair of the Homeland Union – Lithuanian Christian Democratic Party, “social democrats cannot be regarded as winners, they have received only a half the mandates they expected based on forecasts.” What could the statement issued on Monday by Andrius Kubilius about possible changes in the ruling coalition mean? “Our leader just has meant that we are open for talks, if there was a so called rainbow coalition formed. We are not obstinate to remain in the opposition. The same has been said by the Liberals’ Movement. Now it is time for the social democrats to choose if the want changes or to continue suffering with the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania and the Labour Party,” said Razma.