Lithuania is just emerging from one of Europe’s worst recessions, has a shrinking population and one of the world’s highest suicide rates. Politicians, however, appear to be ignoring many of those issues as the Baltic nation prepares to vote Sunday in the first round of choosing a new Parliament. Political scandals and vows to raise living standards are dominating the election campaign. “This time it’s not about programs or ideas, but promises and scandals,” said analyst Lauras Bielinis from the Vilnius International Relations Institute. “People are concerned about rising prices, low wages and everyday living, so parties are competing who will promise more and who will dig up more dirt on each other.”
… The main opposition party, the conservative Homeland Union-Christian Democrats, led by Gabrielius Landsbergis, a grandson of Lithuania’s independence hero, was given third spot — with 9 percent support — in the survey by the Vilmorus polling agency. It interviewed 1,035 people in Sept. 2-10 for the poll, which had a margin of error of 3 percentage points.
Lithuania, like its Baltic neighbors Latvia and Estonia, regained independence after splitting from the Soviet Union in 1990 and has since lost more than a quarter of its pre-independence population of 3.7 million to emigration as people search for jobs elsewhere in Europe. It is a member of the 28-nation European Union, and was further hit hard by the global economic recession in 2009-2010.
Full Article: Lithuanians to vote amid scandals, economic concerns.