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Lithuania conservatives hope for 2nd-round victory

Lithuania conservatives hope for 2nd-round victory

Lithuania's main conservative party hopes capitalize on voters' fears of energy dependence on Russia and exasperation with the center-left parties in the second stage of parliamentary elections scheduled for Sunday.
The Homeland Union won the most votes _ about 20 percent of those cast _ in the first round on Oct. 12. The second round is a runoff for 68 of the 141 seats in parliament. The Homeland Union has candidates in 45 of the races.
"We are facing a major crisis here, and the legacy left by the previous government will comprise a serious challenge for those who will run the country," party chairman Andrius Kubilius told The Associated Press.
Lithuanians are leery of losing their energy independence after their atomic power plant closes at the end of 2009. The Chernobyl-style nuclear plant's design flaws scare EU members.
Russia's invasion of Georgia has many feeling less confident about national security, despite NATO membership.
Kubilius, a former prime minister, said the party was confident it could shore up a strong showing in the first round and end up with as many as 45 seats in parliament, allowing it the possibility of forming the next government.
Analysts said, however, that the long-ruling Social Democratic Party could strike a deal with two populist parties in order to hang onto power.
The country of 3.4 million regained independence in 1991 during the collapse of the Soviet Union and underwent an economic boom after joining the EU in 2004. Lithuania struggling with high inflation and slumping growth but with GDP expanding over 6 percent year-on-year in the first half of 2008, it is showing more resilience than most European economies.


Updated : 2021-06-14 05:45 GMT+08:00