The first round of Sunday’s presidential elections in Lithuania has not revealed a final winner. On the strength of the processing of ballot-papers from 99 percent of polling stations, the present Head of State polls 45.83 percent of the vote.
No serious violations that could serve a reason to question the legitimacy of voting were registered, deputy police chief Renatas Pozela told journalists.
“The police received about 60 complaints about possible violations of the voting procedure but not a single investigation was initiated over these complaints,” he said, adding that these had been minor violations, such as illegal canvassing on the voting day and suspected bribe taking.
Nonetheless, activists from the Baltosios Pirstines (White Gloves) civil initiative registered about 80 possible violations. But these are not enough to question the validity of the elections.
Meanwhile, the voter turnout at the presidential polls has exceeded 50 percent, chairman of the central election commission Zenonas Vaigauskas told journalists on Sunday. “The registered turnout has already exceeded 50 percent and this is not the final figure,” he said.
Presidential polls in Lithuania are valid regardless of the turnout. Elections may be declared invalid only in case of major violations of the voting procedure. Nonetheless, the 50-percent threshold is a very important landmark. If this threshold is exceeded, the winner will be a candidate scoring more than half of the total number of votes in the first round. In case, the turnout is less that 50 percent, the winner of the first round is a candidate winning a simple majority of votes given this number is at least a third of the number of eligible voters (2.541 million).
Experts say that the high turnout is advantageous to the incumbent head of state, Dalia Grybauskaite, who is running for her second term in the office. She is the frontrunner at these elections. So, in case the turnout is less than 50%, it will be more difficult for her to win in the first round.
Seven candidates are running for presidency. Grybauskaite’s chief rivals are Vilnius Mayor Arturas Zuokas, candidate of the Electoral Action of Poles of Lithuania political party Waldemar Tomasevski and candidate from the ruling Social-Democratic Party Zigmantas Balcytis.
The president is elected in a direct secret ballot for a term of five years. Presidential candidates should be no younger than 40 years, should be republican citizens and should live not less than three last years in the country.