Lithuanian PM to quit after failure in presidential election

Lithuanian PM to quit after failure in presidential election

Agency News

Vilnius, May 13: Lithuanian Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis has said that he would step down after failing to qualify for the second round in the country's presidential election.

Skvernelis who was a police officer before he entered politics on Sunday said, "The failure to get into the second round is an assessment of me as a politician," adding that he would tender his resignation in July, local media reported.

Elections of the head of the Lithuanian state were held in the republic yesterday. With ballots from 1,586 of 1,972 polling places counted, Skvernelis is third with 22.24 per cent of the vote, behind economist Gitinas Nauseda leads with 31.52 per cent and former Finance Minister Ingrida Simonyte with 26.76 per cent.

Preliminary voter turnout was 56 per cent. "The trend is evidence of our defeat. I accept this as an assessment of my work as a politician, as a prime minister, and resign," Mr Skvernelis told his supporters. Gitanas Nauseda, an independent candidate topped the first round and will face runner-up Ingrida Simonyte a conservative ex-finance minister in the second round set. An economist and political novice Nauseda expressed his gratitude to supporters.

"At the moment, the trend is obviously good. I would like to thank all the people who supported us, who accepted the message that we have sent to the society. Indeed, we want to create a state of welfare in Lithuania, we seek for more political peace, decision making in our country rather than pointless hustle," Nauseda said at his election headquarters. Simonyte, backed by Lithuania's main right-wing party Homeland Union, stated that the theory about two right wing candidates in the second round of the elections has materialised.

"It seems this scenario will happen in the second round. Thank you all for your votes. Two weeks of hard work is ahead of us," Simonyte told journalists at her election headquarters.

A candidate needed to get more than 50 per cent to avoid runoff on May 26, the same day that Lithuanians will vote for their European Parliament representatives. The winner will succeed the popular President Dalia Grybauskaite after her second and final five-year term. (UNI)