2nd LD: Presidential election, 2 referendums kick off in Lithuania

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VILNIUS, May 12 (Xinhua) -- The presidential election and two referendums kicked off in Lithuania Sunday with nine candidates running for the country's top job, including incumbent Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis.

Polling stations are open from 7 a.m. local time (0400 GMT) to 8 p.m. (1700 GMT), with about 2.47 million eligible voters to cast their ballots.

So far economist Gitanas Nauseda, former Finance Minister Ingrida Simonyte, and Skvernelis led the race.

According to the last poll conducted by Baltijos tyrimai before the election, 21.1 percent of Lithuanians were to vote for Nauseda, compared with 19.5 percent for Simonyte and 18.4 percent for Skvernelis.

Lithuania's European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Vytenis Povilas Andriukaitis ranked fourth with 6.6 percent.

Nauseda, running as an independent candidate, cast his vote on Friday, saying he voted for one that could ensure Lithuania "chooses the right path."

"I feel responsible as regards Lithuania's efforts to regain dignity, respect, to ensure Lithuania's firm position whether in foreign or domestic policy," Nauseda told reporters after casting his advance vote at Vilnius city municipality.

Simonyte, supported by Lithuania's main opposition party Homeland Union-Christian Democrats, and Skvernelis, backed by the ruling Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Union, are to vote on Sunday. Enditem

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