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Lithuania PM says he would quit if unsuccessful in presidential vote

Lithuania PM says he would quit if unsuccessful in presidential vote
FILE PHOTO: Lithuanian President candidate Saulius Skvernelis speaks during a public discussion in Vilnius, Lithuania April 8, 2019. REUTERS/Ints Kalnins/File Photo   -   Copyright  Ints Kalnins(Reuters)
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By Andrius Sytas

VILNIUS (Reuters) – Lithuanian Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis told Reuters on Tuesday he would resign if he came third or lower in presidential elections as this would signal his government had lost the public’s trust.

Skvernelis is facing an uphill battle in Sunday’s election, polling third with 17 percent of voter support, according to a Vilmorus/Lietuvos Rytas poll.

After the Sunday vote, the two top candidates will proceed to a run-off on May 26.

“The election is an evaluation of the job of this government and this ruling coalition,” Skvernelis said in an interview.

“So, a painful loss – which is to say, if I don’t make it to the runoff – means we do not have trust to continue our job,” said Skvernelis, who has led the government since a 2016 general election.

The poll is led jointly by Ingrida Simonyte, a former finance minister and former central bank deputy governor, and Gitanas Nauseda, a former advisor to the president of the top Lithuanian bank, running neck-and-neck on 22 percent each.

Skvernelis said he wanted to be the president, a semi-executive position, in order to support his parliamentary coalition, which faces a next general election in 2020.

(Reporting By Andrius Sytas, Editing by William Maclean)

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