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Lithuania - Election 2019 - President

The Lithuanian presidential elections are scheduled to be held in May 2019. The president of Lithuania is the head of state of the country, elected directly for a five-year term and can serve maximum of two terms consecutively. Incumbent President Dalia Grybauskaite was inaugurated on July 12, 2009 and reelected in May 2014 for the second consecutive term.

Lithuania's former diplomats Vygaudas Usackas and Zygimantas Pavilionis confirmed plans of running for early elections of the conservative party that will pick its candidate for president. The party's two potential candidates SEB Bankas economist Gitanas Nauseda and MP Ingrida Simonyte pledged to give their decisions later.

"I plan to run for the presidential election, I will announce my decision this summer," Usackas told BNS on 07 April 2018. "I hope my party will propose me as the candidate. I will seek to become a candidate of all citizens of Lithuania, regardless of the party they belong to," he added. Usackas, 53, has been a diplomat since 1991, serving as Lithuania's foreign minister in 2008-2010. He has headed Lithuania's embassies to the United States and Great Britain, the European Union's (EU) diplomatic missions to Afghanistan and Russia. He is currently the director of the Europe Institute at the Kaunas University of Technology.

Conservative MP Zygimantas Pavilionis told BNS he would also seek to become the Homeland Union Lithuanian Christian Democratic Party's candidate for the 2019 presidential race. "I have been integrating Lithuania with the West all my life, both working in Brussels and Washington, I have been defending it against all types of outside enemies, to I believe it is my duty to do the same in the current elections, as third countries will also take part in our elections," said Pavilionis. Pavilionis, 46, has been a diplomat since 1993, serving as secretary at the Foreign Ministry in 2006-2009 and heading Lithuania's Embassy to the US in 2011-2015.

Nauseda, 53-year-old adviser to president of SEB Bankas, told BNS his decision on joining the race would come in September. In his words, the issue remains open at the moment, and the decision "can be positive or negative." "I will make a decision in September. This will give me time to see the society's feelings, meet many people and the decision will then come naturally," said the economist.

Simonyte, 43-year-old former minister of finance, said she would decide on the matter, if her party proposes her as candidate. "I will not be very surprised to see my name among the proposed candidates but I will only say then what I will do with the name," Simonyte told BNS.

The conservatives say their initial elections will be open to people from the outside. The party's election is scheduled for this fall. The ruling Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Union had not yet decided on the scheme of proposing a candidate for the next year's presidential election. Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis has said he had not yet decided on joining the race, pledging to give his decision later.

European Commissioner Vytenis Povilas Andriukaitis, viewed as the most prospective candidate of the Social Democratic Party, said he would announce his decision at a later date. The party's MEP Vilija Blinkeviciute has told the media she would not join the race. The party is still proposing candidates for its internal elections.

The Liberal Movement will pick a presidential candidate in an internal ballot. The candidates proposed by the party's board include MEP Petras Austrevicius and MP Arunas Gelunas, Lithuania's former ambassador at UNESCO. MPs Naglis Puteikis and Ausra Maldeikiene along with MEP Valentinas Mazuronis have announced plans of running for president next year.

Lithuanian economist Gitanas Nauseda took the lead on the list of potential candidates for Lithuania's presidency in the newest poll of Spinter Tyrimai (Spinter Surveys) published on 21 May 2018. According to the poll, commissioned by and conducted by Spinter Tyrimai, the country's prime minister Saulius Skvernelis, mayor of Lithuania's second largest city Kaunas Visvaldas Matijosaitis, former diplomat and EU ambassador to Russia Vygaudas Usackas, as well as lawmaker Ingrida Simonyte are among top five politicians on the list, local media reported.

According to the poll, 22.9 percent of respondents would support Nauseda if election were to take place in the nearest future, while 12.8 percent and 12.2 percent of respondents, respectively, would support Skvernelis and Matijosaitis. 6.9 percent of respondents would vote for Usackas, 5.3 percent for Simonyte. 10.2 percent of respondents said they were not sure whom they would support in the election, while 11.9 percent indicated that they would not participate in the ballot.

Former EU Ambassador to Russia Vygaudas Usackas decided to run for the post of Lithuanian president in the next election slated for May 2019. "I have taken a responsible decision to run for the post of Lithuanian president in the 2019 election," Usackas said 03 September 2018. Usackas served as the Lithuanian foreign minister in 2008-2010. The politician resigned after President Dalia Grybauskaite, who has been the president of the Baltic nation since 2009, declared loss of confidence in him.

Lithuanians voted in the first round of a presidential election on May 12. The front-runners among the nine candidates are Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis, former banking economist Gitanas Nauseda, and former Finance Minister Ingrida Simonyte. The winner will succeed Dalia Grybauskaite, who has completed her maximum two terms in office.

With ballots from 1,586 of 1,972 polling places reportedly counted, Lithuanian Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis was third with 22.24 percent of the vote, behind economist Gitinas Nauseda leads with 31.52 percent and former Finance Minister Ingrida Simonyte with 26.76 percent. Skvernelis said that he would step down on 12 July after the vote tallies reportedly showed his defeat in the country's presidential election. "The trend is evidence of our defeat. I accept this as an assessment of my work as a politician, as a prime minister, and resign," Skvernelis told his supporters. His speech was broadcast on Lithuanian television.

Conservative ex-finance minister Ingrida Simonyte and independent economist Gitanas Nauseda made it to an expected May 26 run-off that would coincide with European Parliament elections. They both 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. Simonyte was popular with wealthy, educated urban voters while Nauseda, an economist, sought to bridge the rich-poor divide in the former Soviet republic of 2.8 million people, which joined the EU and NATO in 2004. The country is struggling with a sharp decline in population owing to mass emigration to Western Europe by people seeking a better life.

Gitanas Nauseda won Lithuania's presidential election after his opponent conceded defeat. "I am grateful to the people who voted today and I can promise that politics will be different now in Lithuania. Everybody deserves a better life in our beautiful country," Nauseda told a cheering crowd of supporters. With all the votes from the countrys 1 972 polling districts tallied on the late evening of May 26, Gitanas Nauseda, who ran the election campaign as an independent candidate, came out victorious in the runoff election with 65,86 percent of the voters wanting him as Lithuanias next president.

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