Sunday, May 17, 2009

The Results are In

Overnight, Lithuania's CEC completed the count of over 98% of the ballots. Turnout rose from just under 50% to 51.67%. Dalia Grybauskaite has claimed 68.17% of the ballots. Her closest rival, Algirdas Butkevicius, received 11.70%. If the results are finalized, and no court challenges emerge, she will be the first female president of Lithuania.

At the election night event I attended, the commentary and analysis of the candidates suggested that Grybauskaite is viewed as "above" some of the local squabbles and is a skilled manager, especially due to her experience as EU budget commissioner. However, the most vexing problems for Lithuania - the economic crisis and the impending power problems with the closure of the Ignalina nuclear power plant - are matters that the president has less authority to manage. While the president can affect domestic policies, her portfolio is more strongly oriented toward foreign affairs.

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