May 12 will be held in Lithuania’s presidential elections and two referendum on dual citizenship and to reduce the number of members of Parliament. DW talks about the favorites and the value of plebiscites.
For the post of the President of Lithuania, whose election will be held on Sunday, may 12, fighting nine candidates. Anyway, after this election in Lithuania will be a new head of state. Incumbent President Dalia Grybauskaite, after serving in that post for two terms, to run more can not. DW talks about the chances of candidates, as well as the meaning of the two referendums (on dual citizenship and reducing the number of deputies of the Parliament), which will be held simultaneously with the election.
Candidates in the presidents of Lithuania and their chances
“Compared to the previous presidential election, when the campaign had one clear leader, Dalia Grybauskaite, current differ in that win fights three favorites: former Minister of Finance Ingrida Simonyte, economist, former Advisor to the President of the Lithuanian SEB Bank Gitanas Nausea and the Prime Minister Saulius Squirrels,” explains DW the balance of power Vilnius scientist Mazvydas was Jastramskis.
To be elected President in the first round you must score more than half of the votes of the total number of voters (in Lithuania is about 2.5 million). If it fails any of the candidates, a second round shall be held involving the two candidates with the greatest support. To win in the second round was enough, more than half of the votes took part in the elections.
According to polls conducted by company Spinter tyrimai, a second round is inevitable. Sociologists have found that at the end of April for simonite were ready to vote for 26.2% of Lithuanians (March – 24,8%), Nausea – 24,6% (27,9%), Skordalia is 16.6% (14.5 percent).
Supporters simonite is mostly residents of large cities with good education and high income, told DW the head of the Spinter tyrimai Ignace, socas. According to him, the Prime Minister, Squirrels focuses on voters midlife and older living in small towns and rural areas. And the electorate of Gitanas Nausea, in the words of Sacasa, dispersed and Economics supported by the representatives of different segments of society both from big cities and rural regions.
The peculiarities of the current presidential campaign
According to the analyst Jastramskis feature of this election is that although all three favorites stand as independent candidates, two of whom are members of the major parties in Lithuania, and maintain ties with them. So, Ingrida Simonyte was nominated by the conservative “Union of the Fatherland”, and Saulius Squirrels – the “Union of peasants and greens. Non-partisan only Gitanas Nausea.
The participation of the Prime Minister in the presidential election is quite unusual for Lithuania, says aine Ramonaite, Professor, Institute of international relations and political science of Vilnius University.
“The post of Prime Minister more important from the standpoint of domestic policy. The functions of the President is rather symbolic. He has several more than the Prime Minister, powers in foreign policy. On the other hand, Squirrels have shown themselves to be rather an expert on domestic policy than international,” said Ramonaite.
Dual citizenship and decline in the number of MPs
In addition to the presidential elections of 12 may, the Lithuanians will vote in two referendums – on dual citizenship and on the reduction of the number of members of Parliament. Supporters of the introduction of dual citizenship emphasize that having the ability to store two passports, emigrated from the country, the Lithuanians will have a powerful incentive to return home and can then integrate easier at home. According to polls, the idea of dual citizenship supports about half of the population, against about 30%.
The provision of the Constitution concerning dual citizenship, if it is approved, is not to apply to all States, but only those that meet “the criteria of Euro-Atlantic integration”. Are countries in the European economic area (EEA) which are members of NATO, or included in the Organization for economic cooperation and development (OECD).
“To a certain extent a referendum on dual citizenship and reduce the number of members of the Seimas contradict each other. First, if he is eventually held, will lead to an increase in the number of citizens. And the second is based on the thesis that members of Parliament too much, because of the population, they represent less,” – said in an interview with DW, Professor Ramonaite.
Referendums price of 2.5 million euros
In turn, the political scientist Antanas, Kulakauskas believes that, thanks to the referendum on reducing the number of members of the Seimas, the ruling party “Union of peasants and greens hoping to gain political points in the eyes of voters and to help their candidate, Prime Minister Squirrelys to win the presidential election.
Lecturer at Vilnius University analyst Vytis jurkonis, for its part, believes that the referendum is “a clear example of populism and manipulation,” and his own “is a bad symptom.”
For the introduction in the country of dual citizenship is required to change the 12-th article of the Constitution of Lithuania. To happen, the proposal in the referendum must support more than half of Lithuanians eligible to vote.
For adoption in a referendum, the decision to reduce the number of MPs from 141 to 121 persons it is necessary also to amend the Constitution. But in this case enough lower level support. Voter turnout should exceed 50% and for a decrease in the number of deputies should vote, more than half took part in the referendum (but not less than one third of the total electorate). The main political forces of the country, including the President Grybauskaite, called for a boycott of the referendum.
The organization of both referendums cost the budget of Lithuania to 2.5 million euros.