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Lithuania: Labor Party in the lead after 1st-round parliamentary elections, according to exit poll

According to an exit poll, Lithuania’s opposition Labor Party won the most votes in parliamentary elections in the Baltic nation today.

Lithuania election 2012 10 14Enlarge
Voters read about the candidates for the parliamentary elections at a polling station in Vilnius, Lithuania, on Oct. 14, 2012. (PETRAS MALUKAS /AFP/Getty Images)

According to an exit poll, Lithuania’s opposition Labor Party leads after the first round of voting in parliamentary elections in the Baltic nation today, Reuters reported.

The RAIT/BNS poll showed the Labor Party, led by Russian-born entrepreneur Viktor Uspaskich, as winning 19.8 percent of the vote, the Social Democrats winning 17.8 percent and Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius’ Homeland Union party capturing 16.7 percent, Reuters reported.

The preliminary results make it likely that the left-leaning Labor Party will lead a new coalition government, Bloomberg Businessweek reported.

According to Reuters:

The final result will not be clear until a second round, in two weeks, to settle races in local districts where there was no outright winner. However, in past elections the run-offs have not substantially changed the first-round result.

If the results hold, Kubilius will be the latest European leader to lose power after imposing austerity measures on voters.

In recent years, Kubilius’ center-right government cut pensions and public sector pay and clamped down on other spending to tame the country’s budget deficit, according to BBC News. The government rationed gas for police cars and allowed only every third street lamp in the capital Vilnius to be lit, BBC News reported.

Opposition parties pledged to raise pay and cut sales taxes if elected, Bloomberg Businessweek reported.

However, some analysts say that sweeping away the current austerity measures may prove to be impossible. “The left-of-center parties won’t go through with their rather populist promises, for objective reasons and because they won’t have enough power to make it happen,” Ainius Lasas, a senior research fellow focusing on media and democracy in central and eastern Europe at Oxford University, told Bloomberg Businessweek on Oct. 10. “It will all be blamed on the coalition.”

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/121014/lithuania-labor-party-wins-parliamentary-elections-kubilius