Lithuania headed for runoff vote in presidential race – National

Lithuania headed for runoff vote in presidential race – National

VILNIUS, Lithuania — A prominent economist and a former finance minister held the top two spots in returns from Lithuania‘s presidential election Sunday and appeared headed to a runoff ballot later this month to choose a successor to incumbent Dalia Grybauskaite.

With 1,631 of the country’s 1,972 voting districts counted early Monday, results provided by Lithuania’s Central Electoral Commission showed Gitanas Nauseda, a banker-turned-politician, leading the nine-candidate field with 31.2 per cent of the votes.

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Ingrida Simonyte, Lawmaker and former finance minister, was in second with 27.2 per cent.

A candidate needed to get more than 50 per cent to avoid a May 26 runoff.

Preliminary voter turnout was 56 per cent.

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Grybauskaite has served the maximum two 5-year terms as Lithuania’s head of state since 2009, a Baltic country bordering Russia that is a member of the European Union and NATO.

Grybauskaite has been a strong critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin and campaigned on stopping corruption and improving Lithuania’s economy.

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