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Setback for social democrats

Friday 1 October 2004

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A new party which calls itself a “Labour” party, created in autumn 2003 by an entrepreneur who made his fortune in canning, topped the polls at the European elections, beating the social democratic party of Prime Minister Algirdas Brazauskas, the conservative party of Vyatautas Landsbergis and the established liberal parties.

If the rate of participation was higher than in the neighbouring countries (49.15%) it was because this election coincided with the first round of the presidential election organized following the dismissal of the former president, Rolandas Paksas, accused of accepting illicit campaign financing from a Russian helicopter manufacturer. The presidential election was won by Valdas Adamkus, a former president (1998-2003) with 52.14% against Kazimiera D. Prunskiene, leader of the Peasant Party, supported by the ousted president. Adamkus, a member of the US Republican Party before his return to Lithuania in 1997, favours neoliberal shock therapy. His success, like the failure of the Social Democrats, does not augur well for the future of the ruling coalition.

European 2004 Parliamentary 2000
 % seats  %
Labour Party (DP) 30.20 5 -
Liberal Democrats (LDP) 6.83 1 -
Social Democratic Party (LSDP) 14.40 2 31.08
New Union (Social Liberals) (NS) 7.41 1 19.64
Lithuanian Liberal Union (LLS) - - 17.25
Patriotic Union - Conservatives (TS) 12.58 2 8.62
Lithuanian Christian Democrat Party (LKDP) 2.75 0 3.07
Lithuanian Union of the Centre (LCS) 11.23 2 2.86
Electoral Action of Lithuanian Poles (LLRA) 5.71 0 1.95