• Leftists fight for survival as Lithuania votes


    VILNIUS, Lithuania: Lithuanians fed up with economic inequality and mass emigration began voting in round one of a tight general election Sunday, which could see the governing Social Democrats lose power.

    Wage growth and job creation have been key rallying cries for many candidates in this eurozone state of 2.9 million people.

    Opinion polls show two parties running neck-and-neck with Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevicius’s leftists on 15.6 percent support.

    The centrist Lithuanian Peasant and Green’s Union (LPGU) take 14 percent, while the conservative Homeland Union enjoy 13.7 percent backing, local pollsters Spinter Tyrimai found.

    Five to eight parties are expected to pass the five percent threshold to enter parliament, signaling complicated coalition talks.

    Seventy lawmakers are elected by proportional representation from party lists and 71 in single-member constituencies, where final run-off rounds are due on October 23.

    Polls are open from 0400 GMT to 1700 GMT for 2.5 million registered voters, with no exit poll available and official results expected early Monday.



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