Lithuania swings left, says no to more austerity

15.10.2012, 13:36

As widely anticipated, the political sentiment in Lithuania clearly swung left in the first round of the October general election with two leftist opposition parties, Labour and SocDems, securing a clear lead ahead of the second round.

The result is likely to oust the conservative government of An-drius Kubilius that is publicly accused of intensifying the nation’s deepest recession, triggering record-high unemployment and exodus of workers.

Together with Order and Justice, the two leaders are already talking a coalition that may in the end attract another small party, such as the more leftist Polish Election Action or the more rightist Liberal Movement.

The election picture may still change quite considerably after the second round.
Only 3 out of 71 new MPs won their mandates on 14 October.

During the second round on 28 October, the would-be leftist coalition may add another 40-50 seats while the Conservatives together with their junior coalition partners Liberal Movement may hope for some 40 at best

The leftist camp says it is too early to talk about its future economic policy but chances are that debate about introducing progressive taxation will receive a new momentum, although the leftist parties have officially promised to refrain from sud-den taxation changes.

During the election campaign, there was no shortage of promises to raise wages and pensions although no winning party could comprehensibly explain where it would take the funds to do so.

The SocDems earlier claimed they would also scrutinise the multi-billion new nuclear power project by putting aside the energy independence rhetoric to look for the project's clear economic advantages.