Lithuania's agrarian party to form new government

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Lithuania's Peasant and Greens Union (LVZS) took the lead in the runoff of parliamentary elections on Sunday, the Central Electoral Commission (CEC) data shows early Monday morning local time.

A voter casts her ballot in a polling station for the parliament election in Vilnius, Lithuania, Oct. 23, 2016. [Photo/Xinhua]

A voter casts her ballot in a polling station for the parliament election in Vilnius, Lithuania, Oct. 23, 2016. [Photo/Xinhua]

Based on the data after counting all ballots in the 1,922 polling stations, the agrarian party is set to form the new Lithuania's government for the next four years term with 54 mandates in the Seimas, Lithuanian parliament.

"We can expect a big responsibility; we assume that and we are ready to take it," Ramunas Karbauskis, leader of LVZS was quoted as saying by local website

He did not rule out negotiation both with the conservative Homeland Union - Lithuanian Christian Democrats (TS-LKD) and Social Democratic party (LSDP), which fall behind the agrarian party respectively as second and third.

"I believe we can agree about wide coalition, given the other political forces understand the need to work together," Karbauskis said in direct local broadcaster LRT's show after the election.

However, Karbauskis himself does not intend to become the new prime minister. Saulius Skvernelis, the leader of the agrarian's party electoral list, is being mentioned as a potential candidate for the office. Some political analysts see this move as a controversial choice as usually leader of the winning party becomes the head of government in Lithuania.

TS-LKD, the conservative political force which won the first round of the election, falls behind the agrarians in the runoff with 31 mandates secured after preliminary results were announced. Social democrats won 17 mandates, the preliminary data from CEC shows.

According to Karbauskis, separate negotiating groups will be formed on Monday for talks with both conservatives and social democrats.

The idea to separately negotiate with two competing parties was severely criticized by Gabrielius Landsbergis, leader of TS-LKD.

"The plan to form two negotiating groups, for two separate negotiations; my question would be, if this is a market place, we will buy bananas or oranges?" said Landsbergis in an interview with

"There are some principal values, such as transparency, responsibility and readiness to work; if these principles seem suitable to other forces, we are ready for talks," Landsbergis added.

Meanwhile, Karbauskis repeatedly said the government should be formed out of professionals.

He also said his party would not concede on some particular issues such as Lithuania's Visaginas nuclear plant project which, in the politician's words, should be "cancelled".

The leader of the agrarian party also insists on creating state-controlled alcohol selling monopoly in Lithuania. The idea is heavily questioned by nearly all other Lithuanian political forces.

Karbauskis is an agricultural millionaire aged 47 and famous for the initiative to hold alcohol-free family festivals in his native village Naisiai. He is also a writer and producer of TV series Naisiu Vasara (Summer in Naisiai), based on stories from the village.

Saulius Skvernelis, the leader of the agrarian party's list on the elections, earlier said he saw opportunities to work in coalition with all political forces.

The political leaders also commented on President Dalia Grybauskaite's role while forming the ruling coalition.

"I think her opinion is very important, however, people's choice goes first," Skvernelis said.

"The president's stance is important no doubt, we could see how she participated in forming governments before, in an intelligent way; we will see how it goes this year," Landsbergis, leader of conservatives, was quoted as saying by local media.

"In a democratic country we must first pay attention to what voters say," Landsbergis commented to reporters.

Meanwhile, the country's incumbent Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevicius repeatedly said on Sunday he saw his social democratic party to work in opposition.

Together with early votes, 37.85 percent of Lithuanian eligible voters casted their ballots in the Lithuanian parliamentary runoff election, CEC announced on its website.

The Seimas, the parliament of Lithuania, consists of 141 MPs. 71 of them are elected directly in single-member constituencies and 70 are elected in the multi-member constituency based on political parties' lists.

The latest data shows nine parties and one electoral coalition have entered the Seimas, together with four independent candidates.

Besides LVZS, TS-LKD and LSDP, the other parties are Liberal movement, 14 seats, Order and Justice, eight seats, Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania - Christian Families Alliance, eight seats, Labour party, two seats, Lithuanian Green party, one seat, and Political party "Lithuanian List", one seat. The anti-corruption coalition of Naglis Puteikis and Kristupas Krivickas, formed by Lithuanian Centre party and Lithuanian Pensioners' party, also has secured one seat.

The CEC must confirm the final voting results, both from the first round on October 9 and the second on Sunday, by October 30. The commission will announce the full list of new members of parliament by then.

It is expected that the first meeting of the parliament will take place by November 14 at the latest.

The same day when the new parliament has its first seating, the current government's powers will expire, however, it will remain as a caretaker government until the new government is formed.

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