Lithuanians are voting in a general election with the opinion polls predicting victory for EU budget commissioner Dalia Grybauskaite. The former finance-minister – who is currently stood down from her EU post – is running as an independent candidate, and is favourite to become the country’s first woman president.
The president’s role is non-executive and involves overseeing foreign, defence, and judicial policies set by the government. But the incumbent can also influence the budget and has a say in government decisions. Lithuania’s President, 82-year-old Valdus Adamkus is obliged to quit after holding the post for two five-year terms. The main political parties are widely disliked in the current downturn, their reputations sullied by earlier corruption allegations. Grybauskaite’s closest rival is Algirdas Butkevcius, is also a former finance minister. He is the leader of the left-wing Social Democratic Party which was ousted from government last year. Opinion polls forecast his share of the vote at a meagre nine per cent.