High-profile candidates vie for vacant seat in Lithuanian parliament

DELFI / Tomas Vinickas

A new MP will have to be elected after Social Democrat Vytenis Andriukaitis, who was elected there, took a post at the European Commission. Reviewers say there is no clear favourite in the elections.

Former prime minister Gediminas Vagnorius boasts the most extensive political experience, as he headed the conservative government in 1996-1999. He is now trying to make a political comeback the Labour Party.

The ruling Social Democrats will try to recover the lost mandate by delegating Algirdas Raslanas, former head of the Physical Culture and Sports Department.

The candidate of the conservative Homeland Union in the elections is Radvilė Morkūnaitė-Mikulėnienė who worked at the European Parliament in 2004-2009.

Other candidates include non-affiliated Žydrūnas Plytnikas, former head of the Public Procurement Service who stepped down last autumn after being found guilty of mixing public and private interests, long-standing MP Algis Čaplikas, the former minister of healthcare and environment delegated by the Lithuanian Freedom Union (liberals), ex-energy vice-minister Renata Cytacka of the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania, business consultant Šarūnas Gustainis of the Liberal Movement and Vanda Birutė Ginevičienė of the ruling Order and Justice party.

Among those running for the mandate are also Andžela Andriuškevič of the Path of Courage party, Lilijana Astra of the Lithuanian People’s Party, Ricardas Garuolis of the National Union and Joana Tamkevičiūtė of the Lithuanian Green Party.

Mažvydas Jastramskis, lecturer at Vilnius University’s International Relations and Political Science Institute, says there is no clear leader in the elections.

“Identifying a clear leader in the elections would not be fair in the light of the outcome of the past three results in the Žirmūnai single-mandate constituency. Three different parties were victorious. Therefore, minor changes and minor factors can lead to the victory of one candidate or another,” Jastramskis told BNS.

No opinion polls have been carried out in the constituency. Jastramskis said Social Democratic and conservative candidates stand the highest chances of qualifying for the second round of elections.

According to data provided by the Central Electoral Commission, the constituency has nearly 43,000 voters.

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