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News > World

Right-Wing Nauseda Wins Lithuania’s Presidental Election

  • President-elect Gitanas Nauseda smiles during the second round of Lithuanian presidential election in Vilnius, Lithuania

    President-elect Gitanas Nauseda smiles during the second round of Lithuanian presidential election in Vilnius, Lithuania | Photo: Reuters

Published 26 May 2019
Opinion

The 55-year old economist won the country’s presidency with 72 percent of the votes in a runoff election against Simonyte, who obtained 28 percent of the ballots.

Former central banker and right-wing candidate Gitanas Nauseda won Lithuania’s presidential race on Sunday as his opponent Ingrida Simonyte conceded.

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“I was the independent candidate and my task in this election campaign was to unify Lithuanian people, no matter where they live, in small regions, villages, small cities or big cities,” Nauseda told Reuters after declaring victory.

The 55-year old economist won the country’s presidency with 72 percent of the votes in a runoff election against Simonyte, who obtained 28 percent of the ballots. Lithuanians chose between two right-wing programs, with similar characteristics but different approaches. 

Nauseda refused to be associated with any political party and launched himself as a "catch-all" center-right candidate, who also describes himself as a conservative, focusing his discourse mainly on an economic-driven discussion pushing for a socially-oriented economy with a strong welfare system. 

The Lithuanian president has a wide semi-executive mandate and can veto laws passed by the parliament. He also will have a decisive role in shaping the country’s foreign and security policies as well as in appointing the prime minister, judges, the chief prosecutor, and the central bank governor.

On foreign policy, Nauseda avoided, in contrast with Simonyte, topics related to Russian aggression. Yet his election pledges include supporting Poland in its quest to have a permanent United States (U.S.) military base, named “Fort Trump.” He has said he would use the president’s position to increase revenues and better fund social services, as well as help businesses expand in emerging markets, especially China.

On Sunday, voters also had to elect legislators for the European Parliament. The center-right Christian Democrats won 19 percent of the votes, followed by Social Democrats with 16, and the Greens with 13 percent. 

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