Skvernelis voters‘ votes will be very valuable for the presidential hopeful in the second round of the Lithuanian presidential elections. Left second in the first round of presidential elections, but has the greatest chances to win in the second. This can be said about non-partisan expat from the banking system Gitanas Nausėda, who was only 3935 votes behind independent Conservative nominee Ingrida Šimonytė on 12 May. lrytas.lt wrote in its editorial Laiko ženklai (The signs of time’).
Nevertheless, even if the recently slowing down G. Nausėda does not catch a second wind or switch to higher gear, his chances to win the post of president are more realistic.
The main reason is that the economist can expect support from more voters, who voted for other candidates in the first round.
That said, in many voters’ eyes, I. Šimonytė managed to form the image of a non-partisan, independent candidate, a specialist unrelated to both parties and traditional politics. The same that has paved the way to top ratings for G. Nausėda.
However much the member of Seimas may work on her image, many will still recall the party lying behind her.
Liberal supporters behind Šimonytė
Namely Conservative and also some of Liberal supporters will be most decisive for I. Šimonytė‘s success. They could be joined by some “Farmer” supporters.
Take how Seimas Speaker V. Pranckietis has declared he would vote for her. It could be that I. Šimonytė will also receive backing from a part of the Social Democrats.
Of course, if G. Nausėda makes mistakes or falls asleep on his laurels in the final stretch, he may end up losing.
One of the largest variables is how all the so-called second echelon candidate voters will act, to whom I. Šimonytė and G. Nausėda are both two sides of the same evil.
The candidates backed by these citizens have more or less achieved their goals. For example, V. Mazuronis and V. Tomaszewski have advertised themselves prior to the European Parliament election, while V. Andriukaitis, M. Puidokas, N. Puteikis and A. Juozaitis have tested their political capital.
Take how M. Puidokas and A. Juozaitis have declared they would create parties of their own, while European Commissioner V. Andriukaitis – that he will return to domestic politics.
Just that is it important to themselves, where the votes of voters drawn into political games will go?
Factors of referendums
Looking at the mists of the second round of presidential elections, we also mustn’t miss some other figures related to the first round. That is the results of the two referenda.
The referendum on citizenship retention occurred, with 52.5% turnout. However, despite the landslide almost 72% in favour, the overall number of votes was below what was required by the Constitution.
Voters also overwhelmingly said yes in the other referendum – to reduce the number of members of Seimas from 141 to 121. This received the approval of 73.7% of participating voters.
However, the referendum had too low participation, with a turnout of 47.2% of eligible voters. Many simply refused to take this referendum’s ballots.
A number of reasons can be observed, why the two referenda failed.
One of the most important is that in terms of both questions, politicians themselves were mired in their own games and manipulations. Due to this, preparations for the referenda were delayed and even when the campaign formally started for them, it was essentially unnoticeable.
Furthermore, voters were handed confusing and unclear wording, particularly regarding the citizenship referendum.
Meanwhile, various politicians clearly demonstrated a negative attitude to the referendum on reducing the number of MPs, protesting against the ruling “Farmers”, who pushed this question in the hopes that it would aid their candidate Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis in the presidential elections.
President D. Grybauskaitė also publicly remarked the referendum is a “Farmer” play. During advance voting, she not only demonstratively refused to take the ballot, but also publicly decried the referendum.
It is clear that such behaviour by the head of state had an impact on a large number of voters.
D. Grybauskaitė has unceremoniously demonstrated her political positions or sympathies and antipathies before. Her open support for Vilnius Mayor R. Šimašius and against his rival A. Zuokas during the second round of municipal elections in the capital was unseemly.
Back then, bar justified criticism from opponents, the president did not face at any point despite complaints being lodged to electoral watchdogs.
This time, D. Grybauskaitė withheld from open campaigning in the presidential elections, but she did not even have to. The president’s attitude to the “Farmers” and S. Skvernelis, due to which I. Šimonytė and G. Nausėda are the most suitable for her, is something that most of her supporters know anyway.
But why did D. Grybauskaitė vote in advance? Is it not in order to be even more secured from potential unpleasantness and have more freedom for various political statements?
After all, during each elections, there is a paradoxical eyesore – all campaigning is prohibited the day before and on election day, but during advance voting, everyone can say and do whatever they will.
This is an eyesore because increasing numbers of voters participate in advance voting. During these elections, advance votes tallied more than 10%.
In other terms, an old rule of our young democracy has proven itself again – during every elections, regulation issues are unveiled. Ones that it seems legislators should have patched long ago.