Lithuanians are voting in a tight general election race after the first round failed to produce an outright winner. The opposition Labour party is tipped to gain the largest number of seats. The parliamentary vote is the first to be held since the Baltic nation joined the European Union and NATO earlier this year. Victor Uspaskich’s Labour won the first round ballot. The party was only set up last year on a populist platform.
The Russian-born millionaire promises to raise pensions and wages. He has also pledged to strengthen ties with Brussels, brushing off fears he would move Lithuania closer to its former colonial master Moscow. Analysts doubt he will win an absolute majority. That means incumbent Prime Minister Algirdas Brazauskas will probably keep his job, and that a deal is likely to be struck between Labour and the outgoing coalition of Social Liberals and Social Democrats.