Lithuanians vote for change handing farmers’ party surprise win

Lithuanians fed up with low wages and a labour exodus voted for major changes in Sunday’s general election, handing victory to a farmers’ party that previously held just one seat in parliament.

The centrist Lithuanian Peasants and Green Union party (LGPU) won 54 seats in the 141-member parliament, while the conservative Homeland Union took 31 and outgoing ruling Social Democrats 17, the state election commission explained on Sunday, citing full results.

Three other small parties also entered parliament.

Lithuanians voted overwhelmingly for change, Ramunas Vilpisauskas, director of the Institute of International Relations and Political Science in Vilnius, stated.

“The LPGU will spearhead the coalition. This result means that people really want new faces in politics,” he said, adding candidly that he “didn’t expect it.”

He also said that on the foreign policy front, the LPGU would keep Lithuania firmly rooted in the EU, the eurozone and NATO.

“We will forge a rational coalition government and we’ll chose people who want to bring about changes,” Saulius Skvernelis, a popular former national police chief who ran as the LPGU’s candidate for prime minister said on national TV as the results rolled in.

He said the party was opening coalition talks with both the Homeland Union and the Social Democrats of outgoing Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevcius.

“We’ll bring transparent and responsible policies,” said Skvernelis, who is widely respected for tackling corruption in the police force during his term as commander.