While corona numbers are rising sharply, Lithuania is electing a new parliament. An interim result confirms the expected close race between a ruling party and an opposition force.

In the first round of parliamentary elections in Lithuania, the Union of Peasants and Greens came out on top after just over 60 percent of the constituencies were counted. The ruling party from the political center received 21.1 percent of the vote, the election committee in Vilnius announced on Sunday evening. The conservative opposition Patriotic Union party comes in second with 17.8 percent, followed by the populist Labor Party with 12.6 percent and the Social Democrats with 10.7 percent.

Counting the remaining constituencies could shift the balance of power a bit. Experts believe that the Conservatives and Social Democrats will still get votes from the larger cities of the Baltic EU country.

Of the other 13 political forces that ran for election, three more could make it to the NATO state parliament, according to information. The preliminary final result is expected on Monday. Voter turnout was 47.2 percent, lower than in the election four years ago.

The second vote will follow in two weeks

The vote on Sunday was the first of two votes: voters initially voted on the basis of proportional representation to 70 seats in parliament. In two weeks, they will vote on 71 direct mandates in the Seimas parliament.

The parties did not want to talk about possible coalitions until after the elections, which took place at a stage when the number of corona infections increased sharply. The focus of the election campaign, which was overshadowed by the pandemic, was economic and socio-political issues.

Lithuania recently came into the spotlight internationally due to the crisis in neighboring Belarus. After the presidential elections, which were criticized as seriously falsified, many members of the opposition were accepted, including opposition leader Svetlana Tichanovskaya.

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