Lithuanians say no to nuclear power plant15.10.2012, 10:43
Only 34% of Lithuanians who cast their ballots in Sunday's advisory referendum voted for building a new nuclear power plant in Lithuania while 62.1% were against, according to Lithuanian media.
Voter turn-out passed the required 50-percent threshold and was at 50.77, according to initial results provided by the Central Electoral Commission.
In the non-binding referendum, which was held in tandem with Lithuania's general elections, voters were asked to respond "yes" or "no" to the statement, "I support the construction of a new nuclear power plant in the Republic of Lithuania."
Because of the no, Japan's Hitachi, the builder of the reactor, may consider pulling out of the project, Dalia Straupaitė, the mayor of the town of Visaginas, said.
"People's opinion matters a lot to them. Now that people in Lithuania have said that they oppose the construction of the plant, Hitachi may doubt very seriously if it's worthwhile. They may consider withdrawing," she said.
The mayor said that she was disappointed with the results of the non-binding referendum and that she had hoped that there would be roughly equal camps of supporters and opponents. "I expected that it would be about fifty-fifty," she said.
"The referendum is consultative and, therefore, it is nonsense because it is throwing a bad image onto Lithuania," the mayor said.
Straupaitė said that the referendum had been organized hastily, given several failed initiatives to collect 300,000 signatures in support of holding a binding referendum.
"People did not have full information about the project. They did not read the business plan. Information was not easily accessible. They did not demand a referendum, because they did not know which way to choose, but the Seimas announced the referendum. That is why the result is what it is. They had to measure three times and cut once, as the proverb says," she said.