Gitanas Nauseda Clinches Second Term as Lithuanian President in Landslide Victory

Gitanas Nauseda secured a second five-year term as Lithuanian President with a decisive 74.5% of the vote, defeating Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonyte. Nauseda, a strong backer of Ukraine, continues to navigate Lithuania’s strategic position in NATO. He will be sworn in for his new term in July.

PTI | Copenhagen | Updated: 27-05-2024 15:28 IST | Created: 27-05-2024 15:28 IST
Gitanas Nauseda Clinches Second Term as Lithuanian President in Landslide Victory
Gitanas Nauseda
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Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda secured a second five-year term as Lithuanian president in a landslide victory over Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonyte.

Preliminary figures by the Lithuania's Central Electoral Commission showed that Nauseda won 74.5 per cent of the votes and Šimonyte 24.1 per cent.

The 60-year-old Nauseda is a moderate conservative and has been a strong backer of Ukraine, a position shared across most of the political spectrum. During his time in office, Lithuania has also given refuge to many who have fled an authoritarian crackdown in neighbouring Belarus and increased repression in Russia.

"Lithuania's independence and freedom is like a fragile vessel that we must cherish, protect and prevent from cracking," Nauseda said Sunday night after the ballots had been counted, the Baltic News Service reported.

Speaking of the Baltic country's allies, the United States, Germany, Poland, among others, he added that, ''We have a very similar position on fundamental issues, like support for Ukraine, the attitude towards the Russian threat.'' Nauseda, a former banker, entered politics with his successful presidential run in 2019. He and Šimonyte won the first round but failed to muster the 50 per cent of the votes needed to win the presidency outright.

The election came at a time as Russian gains in Ukraine are fuelling greater fears about Moscow's intentions, particularly in the strategically important Baltic region.

Lithuania is north of Poland and south of the two other Baltic countries, Latvia and Estonia. It separates Belarus, an ally of Russia, from Kaliningrad, a heavily militarised Russian exclave on the Baltic Sea that is separated from the Russian mainland.

The president's main tasks in NATO-member Lithuania's political system are overseeing foreign and defence policy, along with acting as the supreme commander of the armed forces.

Given that Lithuania is strategically located on NATO's eastern flank, the presidency of the relatively small nation has added importance as tensions rise between Russia and the West over the war in Ukraine.

Before the votes were counted Sunday evening, Šimonyte conceded defeat and congratulated her opponent.

Both Nauseda who ran as an independent candidate, and Šimonyte who became prime minister in 2020, have voiced support of Ukraine. The pair also ran against each other in a presidential runoff in 2019, when Nauseda won with 66 per cent of the votes.

Nauseda will be sworn in for a new five-year term in July. Šimonyte said she will return to work as prime minister in Lithuania, a country of nearly 3 million people on Monday, Lithuanian television said.

Turnout in Sunday's election was 49.15 per cent.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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