Nauseda and Simonyte re-run 2019 Lithuanian presidential election runoff

Nauseda and Simonyte re-run 2019 Lithuanian presidential election runoff
President Gitanas Nauseda (centre) has focussed on the Ukraine war in his re-election campaign. / bne IntelliNews
By `Linas Jegelevicius in Vilnius May 13, 2024

Like five years ago, in the runoff of the Lithuanian presidential election on May 26 the same names will be on the ballot: the incumbent President Gitanas Nauseda, and Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte, the candidate of the ruling Homeland Union-LKD.

The preliminary results show that Nauseda received just over 44 per cent of the votes in the first round of voting on May 12, and Simonyte garnered almost 20 per cent,  according to the country’s election watchdog, the country's Central Electoral Commission.

"Yes, I wanted to win in the first round, but apparently we’ll have the runoff. I am ready to make a strong push for victory in the runoff and I think I will succeed in doing so," Nauseda told reporters after the voting precincts were closed, BNS, a Lithuanian newswire, reported.

"My key goal was probably to make it to the runoff and I think I have achieved it," Simonyte told reporters.

In 2019, the two rivals were more evenly positioned as they both got around 31 per cent of the votes in the first round of voting.

In the first round, Nauseda, got more than 50 per cent of the vote in almost all municipalities, except Vilnius, where Simonyte won, and Salcininkai and Visaginas, where Eduardas Vaitkus, a medical doctor, scored victory.

Lawyer Ignas Vegele came third nationwide with 12 per cent, followed by Remigijus Zemaitaitis, leader of the Dawn of the Nemunas party, with 9 per cent, Vaitkus with 7 per cent, lawyer Dainius Zalimas with 3 per cent, Labour Party leader MP Andrius Mazuronis with 1.4 per cent, and ex-defence Vice Minister Giedrimas Jeglinskas with 1.35 per cent.

The very high support of the anti-systemic candidates, Zemaitaitis, Vegele and Vaitkus, send a sign that the current coalition of the Homeland Union-LKD and liberal parties will face a struggle in the parliamentary elections in October.

Meanwhile, a second attempt to amend the constitution’s Article 12 and allow more Lithuanians to hold multiple citizenships has not succeeded in a referendum held alongside the election on Sunday.

According to the latest data from the Central Electoral Commission (VRK), 1,396,828 voters, or 59% of the electorate, took part in the referendum. Of these, 1,014,304, or 73.9%, voted in favour of the change that would allow dual citizenship, but this was not enough.

At least half of all eligible voters must vote in favour of a constitutional amendment on citizenship for it to be adopted. The total number of citizens on the electoral roll this year was 2,385,234. Therefore, 1,192,617 had to vote “yes”.