By Angele Kedaitiene
Today Lithuania holds most important national election of the President of the country, as well as European Parliament election for 11 members of the European Parliament.
Polling stations open at 7:00 am and work until 20:00 local time. However, the Central Electoral Commission may extend the election time as necessary. If there is a queue in front of a constituency at 20:00, the Electoral Administration is obliged to continue accepting ballots until all voters vote.
There are 1970 electoral stations in Lithuania, and 2 461 394 registered voters. Lithuanians abroad can vote at the embassies and missions, also at the consulates, open through the day.
The first results of the exit polls may be announced during the day, and then data from the parallel counting of ballots will also begin to appear with first preliminary results for all stations to be available by midnight. The final results will be available early morning 27 May, Monday, subject of the later approval by the Central Elections Commission.
According to forecasts, independent center-right candidate Gitanas Nauseda could win the Presidential elections over also center-right candidate Ingrida Simonyte from Homeland Union, Lithuanian Conservatives. Both they are strong economists, good colleagues, who run intelligent campaign against each other.
The European Parliament elections most likely will be dominated by the ruling Peasantries and Green Union and by the opposition Homeland Union, Lithuanian Conservatives.
15:30 local time. Already voted 42% of all voters, including Ingrida Simonyte, President Valdas Adamkus, Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis, also EU Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis. All of them forecast tight competition.
17:00 local time. Already voted 45% of voters. According to Central Elections Commission, ones stations are closed at 20:00, the votes for the President of the county will be counted first, and then – the votes for the members of the European Parliament. Lithuania did not yet have the electronic voting, procedure involves paper lists and manual counting.
20:00 local time Lithuania has ended voting with high 53,4% participation rate. First results from around 600 stations show 75% lead of Gitanas Nauseda. He leads all over Lithuania, except capital Vilnius, where Ingrida Simonyte shows stronger results.
22:00 local time. Ingrida Simonyte has congratulated Gitanas Nauseda with the victory in Presidential race. According to data from 1142 stations out of 1972, Gitanas Nauseda leads with 73% of votes. Simonyte lost also in Vilnius.
Midnight local time in Vilnius. Lithuania celebrates new President Gitanas Nauseda, sizing victory with preliminary 70% of votes.
EP election results to come by morning.