Lithuanian presidential rivals in 2nd round face off

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By Euronews
Lithuanian presidential rivals in 2nd round face off

Lithuanians are voting today in a close presidential runoff between two centre-right rivals.

Former Finance Minister Ingrida Simonyte from the Homeland Union-Lithuanian Christian Democrats came first in the first round with 31.31 percent of the vote.

Political newcomer and economist Gitanas Nauseda gathered 30.94 percent in second place.

Nauseda had been an advisor to the president of SEB bank in Lithuania. He left his job to run for office as an independent candidate. He was endorsed in the last week by the ruling Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Union.

Both candidates have an economic background and say they want to unite the country.

Dalia Grybauskaite, the popular outgoing President of Lithuania who will finish her ten years in office in July, said that the pair deserve to be in this second round run-off.

Something else Simonyte and Nauseda have in common is that they have said they won't go to Moscow to meet President Vladimir Putin unless Russia withdraws from Crimea, which it annexed from Ukraine in 2014.

Meanwhile, candidates from 16 political parties, coalition and public election committees have been competing for Lithuana’s 11 seats in the European Parliament.

Uppermost in voters minds has been anger over economic inequality - which is at one of the highest levels in the European Union - and corruption.