Lithuanians exasperated with economic hardship handed a stunning victory to a populist party led by a disgraced Russia-born millionaire, nearly complete results of Sunday’s election show, while voicing resounding disapproval of plans to build a costly new nuclear power plant. The opposition Labor Party, led by Viktor Uspaskich, once dubbed as the “pickle king” for having made his fortune selling jarred pickles, was leading with 23.4 percent of the vote after nearly three-fourths of precincts was counted.The victory set the stage for a coalition with the Social Democrats, who were second with 19.4 percent, and Order and Justice, a populist party led by Rolandas Paksas, a stunt pilot who eventually became president in 2003 — only to be impeached the following year for violating the Constitution and abuse of office. Paksas’ party was fourth with 9.2 percent.
All three parties promised radical policy changes, including increased wages and lower taxes, while the Social Democrats said that Lithuania should postpone introducing the euro until Europe could straighten out its current financial mess. The current conservative ruling coalition, led by Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius, has expressed its interest in adopting the euro in 2014.