Latviski English По-русски
Tuesday 19.11.2019 | Name days: Liza, Līze, Elizabete, Betija

A nail-biting rivalry in Lithuania’s presidential race

(+1 rating, 1 votes)

Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RU

Lithuanian presidential candiates Ingrida Šimonytė (right) and Gitanas Nausėda

Linas Jegelevičius for the BNN

With just 10 days till the presidential election, Ingrida Šimonytė, the conservative Homeland Union–Lithuanian Christian Democrats (TS-LKD) – backed candidate in May 12 presidential election, has taken a slim lead over Gitanas Nausėda, the frontrunner until recently, the latest poll by pollster Vilmorus shows.

Neck-to-neck rivalry a bad sign for PM Skvernelis

Šimonytė, who is a MP now and was Finance minister in the 2008-2012 Conservatives-led Cabinet, infamous for slashing pensions and social allowances in attempt to curb economic crisis, edges Nausėda by a mere 0.4 percentage point – Šimonytė’s support is at 22.3 percent and Nausėda’s – 21.9 percent.

The neck-to-neck rivalry of the two may be a bad omen for Saulius Skvernelis, the presidential hopeful of the ruling Farmers and Greens, who in the poll came third with 16.7 percent support, down from 18.4 percent a month ago. The difference between the two leading candidates is within the 3.1 percent error margin.

No changes are expected

«I really do not expect any major changes in the polls until May 12, unless a big scandal, entangling some candidate, breaks out.  With so little to go, we see Skvernelis being in particular vociferous and active in trying to herd undetermined voters behind him, but, first, the efforts did not drum up a desired result so far and, secondly, there’re quite few undetermined voters in the race,» Vytautas Bruveris, political analyst and a TV talk-show host, told Baltic News Network (BNN).

Support for MP Šimonytė increased for the fourth month in a row, compared with 22 percent in March, while that for Nausėda, an economist standing as an independent in the election, fell slightly for the second successive month, from 23.5 percent in March, according to Vilmorus.

Razzed frontrunner turns to Facebook

Irked by the Vilmorus poll results, Nausėda posted a comment on his Facebook, questioning the credibility of Vilmorus polling methodology.

«After Gaidys (head of Vimorus)«wrongly»«calculated» Šimonytė ratings in January, putting her behind Skvernelis and me, the Conservatives were turning their heels over heads to change that. And, voila, we have the results: their candidate is climbing uphill since then and my ratings got stalled. This is weird, as the other polling companies, Spinter and Baltijos tyrimai, still see me as a clear frontrunner…I just want to tell Gaidys that I do not rule out giving him a call on the election day and asking why his methodology did not work,» Nausėda said on Facebook.

Pollster does not quiver

«I stand by my words – Šimonytė did slightly better in our last polls. However, if the two candidates met in a run-off, Nausėda would win,» Vladas Gaidys, Vilmorus head, told BNN. «Šimonytė’s voters are much more active, but Nausėda appeals to a broader voter base in terms of both various socio-demographic parameters and as a second-choice candidate,» he added.

The latest Vilmorus poll showed support for European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Vytenis Povilas Andriukaitis, the Lithuanian Social Democratic Party’s candidate, rise to 7.9 percent, from 4.7 percent in March.

Further down the list were philosopher Arvydas Juozaitis with 4.5 percent, MEP Valdemar Tomaševski with 3.1 percent, MP Naglis Puteikis with 2.2 percent, MEP Valentinas Mazuronis.

Candidatereminds Paksas phenomenon

Approached by BNN, Juozaitis, who hinged his election campaign on national ideas – he supports reinstating Lithuania’s former currency litas, doubts the benefits of further EU integration and abides by strict Christian values – did question the results of the presidential polls.

«I have a strong gut feeling, and more than it, that they are tweaked in one or another way by stakeholders of the pollsters. My best pollsters are Lithuanian people, who have by now expressed huge support to me. I am invincible with it. I am sure I will make it to the second round of the election (to be held on May 26),» Juozaitis told BNN.

He reminded phenomenon of Rolandas Paksas, who won 2003 presidential election having erased a double-digit lag behind the other candidates within a couple of the last weeks. He however was impeached later and removed from office.

Sąjūdis can be revived?

During the campaign, Juozaitis, seen as a humble and polite man, did raise eyebrows of many by harshly castigating the European Union for its neo-liberalism, federalization and what he says is «abandoning» of Christianity.

According to him, Lithuania, as a country, has to build its future on four fulcrums: its language, traditional family, proper education and justice.

«People tend to say that the vivid ideas of Sąjūdis (Lithuania’s national movement during 1988-1990 that led to the restoration of independence in 1990 – L.J) are gone forever, but I disagree. I want to be a president of hope and a spearhead of a new movement for national revival,» Juozaitis emphasised.

LRT mulls defamation lawsuit against Juozaitis

Juozaitis’ incendiary rhetoric got him in trouble with Lithuanian public broadcaster LRT, which said last week it mulls suing Juozaitis over his allegations that Lithuanian Television is «a hotbed of corruption.»

Having called it so in a televised prime-air debate, Juozaitis left the TV studio minutes later, accusing the public broadcaster and other media of favouring some candidates over others.

Expert: Candidates ran out of shots

Lauras Bielinis, professor of Kaunas Magnus University, believes that the presidential candidates have already «exhausted» means to influence voters.

«Certainly, Skvernelis, as acting prime minister, possessed most administrative resources throughout the campaign. He pledged this week to raise the minimum pension to 400 euro from next year if elected. However, I doubt if the pledge and all the other promises he made resonate well with voters supporting the other candidates,» Bielinis told BNN.

«I’d rather say that not the candidates, but the political parties, the outgoing President (Dalia Grybauskaitė) and other public luminaries are in a better position to influence the campaign over the next ten days, but, again, to a very limited degree,» Bielinis reasoned.

Leave a reply

Latvian government decides to divert hospitals’ profits for infrastructure development

The government has decided to allow capital associations in which Healthcare Ministry is a shareholder to divert clean profits and dividends for 2018 towards improvement of infrastructure, as confirmed by Healthcare Ministry.

57 children receive intestinal infections in one of Smiltene’s secondary schools

According to deputy principal of a secondary school in Smiltene Inese Raiskuma, 57 children have received virus-induced intestinal infections.

Anti-money laundering: SEB says most suspicious clients from Estonia operations

Swedish investigative journalists, who are looking into suspicions of money laundering, have submitted to the pan-Baltic banking group SEB a list with 194 people, the company has announced.

Demanding Saeima’s and Viņķele’s dismissal, doctors announce another strike

Latvian Trade Union of Health and Social Care Workers has plans to organize a new protest act outside the Saeima on 28 November. The protest will demand the parliament’s dismissal, as well as voice distrust towards Healthcare Minister Ilze Viņķele.

«Was never fit for vice-mayor’s post.» Baraņņiks loses post in Riga City Council

With votes from opposition deputies, Riga City Council’s Vice-Chairman Vadims Baraņņiks was removed from his post on Tuesday, 19 November. He was also removed from his post in Riga Freeport board.

Kundziņsala overpass construction splits Riga Freeport authority over cartel case

Last week, Riga Freeport authority decided to sign a contract worth nearly EUR 40 million on the construction of Kundziņsala transport overpass with companies that have ties with people involved in the so-called construction cartel case, as reported by LTV programme De Facto.

Tusk kept reminding EU of Russia being «strategic problem», not partner

European Council’s outgoing chairman Donald Tusk has in a speech devoted to his five years in office revealed that he had to remind member states that Russia was Europe’s «strategic problem», instead of being its strategic partner.

In Hong Kong protests, 400 people arrested

Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protests a standoff between activists and riot police continues at a university, where around 600 protesters have surrendered and 400 have been arrested, local authorities say.

Riga City Council opposition will likely refrain from Baraņņiks’ dismissal vote

On Tuesday, 19 November, the opposition of Riga City Council will likely abstain or not participate at all in the vote regarding the dismissal of the city council’s vice-chairman Vadims Baraņņiks, as told by For Latvia’s Development faction chairman Viesturs Zeps.

Moscow returns seized Ukrainian ships

Russian coast guard has returned three Ukrainian navy ships that Moscow seized in an incident in the Kerch Strait in 2018.

Warm weather in Latvia to become considerably colder this week

In the first half of the week, the sky will be cloudy in Latvia. Some precipitation zones are possible above certain districts. However, generally no considerable precipitation is expected in the country, as reported by Latvia’s State Environment, Geology and Meteorology Centre.

Happy birthday, Latvia!

«Latvia is a wonderful land, but the beautiful must be helped to appear,» as one of Latvia’s greatest poets Imants Ziedonis once said. And with these words we can celebrate Latvia’s 101st birthday – in happiness for Latvia’s beauty and helping others see it. With flag by the home, flowers at the Freedom Monument, a good word about the home entrusted to use, and a smile on our face – all of this helps reflect Latvia’s beauty.

Week in Lithuania: President pardoned two Russian spies, climate action plan approved and bomb defused

Last week, in Lithuania, the key news stories were a presidential pardon to Russian spies, the approval of a climate change action plan getting approved and the start of a mission of the International Monetary Fund.

BNN summary of the week: budget 2020; excellent Latvian filmmakers; doctors’ worries

The patriotic week passed in Latvia not only with the celebration of the 100th anniversary of Latvian army’s victory over Bermondt forces but also with intense discussions for the country’s budget of 2020. The 25-hour-long debates became so heated in the end the opposition left before the final vote. Because of that, the budget project was adopted with votes from only 57 deputies.

October’s inflation in Latvia higher than average in EU and Eurozone

In October 2019, inflation in Latvia was higher than the average in the European Union and Eurozone, according to information published by Eurostat on Friday, 15 November.

Z-Towers examination reports to be evaluated by construction experts

The State Construction Control Bureau of Latvia has commenced an administrative process and plans to assess the work performed by certified construction experts on Z-Towers. This includes assessing reports associated with the project, as confirmed by the office’s representative Elīna Balgalve.

Riga’s Vice-Mayor dismisses the board of Riga Central Market

Vice-chairman of Riga City Council and shareholder Vadims Baraņņiks has dismissed the board of SIA Riga Central Market.

Unemployment in Latvia drops to 6%

Latvia's unemployment rate constituted 6.0 % in Q3 2019. Compared to the previous quarter, unemployment rate fell by 0.4 percentage points, while over the year it reduced by 1.0 percentage points.

Employment rate in Latvia reaches 65.6% of the population

917.8 thousand people or 65.6 % of the population of Latvia aged 15–74 were employed in Q3 2019. Over the year, employment rate grew by 0.3 percentage points, and number of employed persons fell by 2.3 thousand. During the period, population declined faster than the number of employed persons.

SEB share price heavily affected by suspected money laundering in Baltics

Swedish banking giant SEB AB has seen its stock value sinking by 15% as it awaits a programme by the Swedish public broadcaster over suspected money laundering in the Baltics, where the name of the bank would also appear, Bloomberg reports.

State Security Service detains three persons for illegal arms supply to African countries

Latvia’s State Security Service has detained three persons for illegal supplies of arms to African countries under EU and UN sanctions, as mentioned in VDD’s report.

Investigators of MH17 downing point to close Putin ally

Dutch-led investigators of the downing of the 2014 flight MH17 over Ukraine have published a series of phone intercepts, among them one between former senior Kremlin official and pro-Kremlin separatists rebels blamed for the crash.

Harmony halts work in Riga City Council coalition until GKR makes up its mind

Political party Harmony’s faction in Riga City Council has decided to halt its work in the coalition until Honour to Service Riga makes up its mind in regards to cooperation with Independent Deputies Faction, as confirmed by Riga City Council’s vice-chairman Anna Vladova on Thursday, 14 November.

To increase parties’ independence, Saeima decides to boost support for them

In the final reading, Latvia’s Saeima approved controversial amendments to the Law on Financing of Political Organizations, significantly boosting state support for political parties.

Sweden sells off Australian, Canadian bonds over carbon footprint

Sweden’s central bank has stated it had given up bonds in the mining regions of Australia and Canada as Riksbank said the greenhouse gas emissions of both countries were large.

Newest comments

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!