Lithuanian liberals ‘on verge of elimination’

The Liberal Movement
DELFI / Domantas Pipas

A Vilmorus poll, conducted in early June, has only 3.6% of the respondents planning to vote for the Liberals. Half of Lithuania’s 141 MPs are elected in proportional representation vote, but only parties that clear the 5% threshold get Seimas seats.

Things look a little better if one eliminates those voters who have not yet decided if they are coming to the polls in October. Of those who are, 5.5% said they would vote for the Liberal Movement. Moreover, over a fifth, 22%, of the polled said they had yet to make up their mind how to vote, according to the poll commissioned by the daily Lietuvos Rytas.

In early May, the Liberals’ rating was 8.9%, but it plummeted following revelations that the Special Investigations Service was investigating the party’s leader Eligijus Masiulis who is suspected of taking a €106,000 bribe from one of Lithuania’s biggest business groups, MG Baltic. Masiulis immediately stepped down from the post and has been replaced by the popular Vilnius Mayor Remigijus Šimašius who took over the party’s leadership.

“3.6% means that the Liberal Movement is teetering on the verge of elimination,” Vilmorus head Vladas Gaidys has told BNS. “A drop of 5.3 points is very significant.”

The drop suggests that liberal voters are sensitive to corruption allegations and harshly penalize their party for perceived untoward behaviour.

The Social Democratic Party continues to lead in opinion polls, with 16.2% saying they would vote for the current governing party, the same number as in May.

The Peasant and Greens Union is third with 13% (12.5% in May), followed by the conservative Homeland Union (10.9%, up from 8.9% in May), the Labour Party (8.2% in both June and May), and the Order and Justice party (6.3% in June, 5.3% in May).

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