Baltic States: Incumbent Nauseda clearly wins presidential election in Lithuania

Baltic States: Incumbent Nauseda clearly wins presidential election in Lithuania

The presidential election in Lithuania brings the expected victory of Gitanas Nauseda. The incumbent clearly wins the runoff election and secures a second term in office in Germany’s NATO partner country.

Gitanas Nauseda will remain Lithuania’s head of state for the next five years. After more than 90 percent of all electoral districts have been counted, the incumbent received a good 75 percent of the votes cast, the state election commission in Vilnius announced late in the evening. This put Nauseda in an unassailable lead over Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte in the runoff election for the highest state office in the Baltic EU and NATO country. She admitted her defeat and congratulated Nauseda.

“I would like to thank the Lithuanian people for their support,” said Nauseda at his election party, speaking of a “huge mandate of trust.” “I am aware that I must value this vote of confidence,” he stressed, and thanked his rival Simonyte for the honorable election campaign.

Nauseda had already clearly won the first round of voting on May 12, but without achieving the necessary absolute majority. The 60-year-old economist has been at the helm of the Baltic state, which borders the Russian Baltic Sea exclave Kaliningrad and Russia’s close ally Belarus, since 2019.

After Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, Nauseda campaigned resolutely for humanitarian aid and arms deliveries to Kiev. He also made a name for himself internationally as a committed representative of the interests of his home country, which is particularly exposed in the geopolitical confrontation with Russia due to its location on NATO’s eastern flank. Germany therefore wants to permanently station a combat-ready brigade with up to 5,000 German soldiers in Lithuania.

Simonyte lost again in direct duel

In Lithuania, the head of state has predominantly representative duties. However, compared to the German Federal President, the President has more extensive powers in foreign and defense policy. Nauseda, who has been at the head of the largest Baltic state since 2019, regularly represents his country at EU summits. The President is also the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces.

Nauseda and Simonyte had already competed against each other in the decisive round of the previous presidential election five years ago. At that time, the independent politician won the duel with 66 percent of the vote against his rival from the conservative ruling party Fatherland Union. According to preliminary figures, voter turnout was now 49.6 percent – lower than in 2019.

Source: Stern

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