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Lithuania - 11 May 2014 Presidential election

The 11 May 2014 Presidential election campaign officially started on 11 November 2013 following the announcement of the election. A campaign silence period starts 30 hours before the opening of the polls on election day and lasts until the end of voting. During this period, there is no obligation to remove outdoor campaign materials placed before the start of the campaign silence period.

Lithuania held a presidential runoff vote May 25, 2014 with incumbent "Iron Lady" Dalia Grybauskaite the front-runner. On 3 February 2014 Ms. Grybauskaite announced that she would run for re-election. HU/CD and LM declared their support for the incumbent, although they will not formally nominate her as a candidate. All four political parties in the governing coalition, the SDP, LP, Order and Justice, and LPEA, announced their intention to nominate candidates.

President Grybauskaite dominated the first round of voting two weeks earlier in the country's sixth presidential ballot, but failed to secure the majority needed to win outright. Lithuania's election commission said Grybauskaite, a former EU budget commissioner, had about 45 percent of the vote. Her rival was Zigmantas Balcytis of the center-left social democrats.

Grybauskaite won the first consecutive presidential term in the country's history, with her anti-Russian platform striking a chord with voters. Grybauskaite won 57.9 percent of the votes in the nation of 3 million. Zigmantas Balcytis, a social democrat supported by prime minister Algirdas Butkevicius, scored 40.1 percent.

Russias annexation of Ukraines Crimea region has unnerved neighbors from Kazakhstan in the south to the Baltic states in the northwest. In an 08 July 2014 interview with VOA, Grybauskaite warned of a "great Russian chauvinism" within the Kremlin that is fueling the pro-Russian separatist rebellion in Ukraine. The great Russian chauvinism, which is now increasing in Russia, mainly very much depends on the elite, who are trying to revive it. And this is very dangerous," she said. "So I['m] not much sure it will be over in five years, because it will surely be specific to President [Vladimir] Putin. Both Grybauskaite and Putin have black belts in karate. Some feel that the Russian president may have met his Baltic match - on the verbal level, at least. Grybauskaite was sworn in for second five-year term as the President of Lithuania 12 July 2014. As president of Lithuania, the largest of the three Baltic states, she was expected to take the lead in countering Russias regional ambitions. All three Baltic nations - including Estonia and Latvia -- are members of the European Union and of NATO. The Lithuanian president warned that interference in Ukraine this year marks a dangerous turn in modern Russias relations with its neighbors. It is very worrying. And it looks like its not over. The same methods that are now used in Eastern Ukraine -- the same threats, at least not directly military yet, but informational, cyber. Propaganda wars already we are feeling ourselves in the Baltic states [and] Poland, for example. The military exercises also we do have on our borders, in the Kaliningrad region, Grybauskaite said.

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