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Lithuania President Faces Runoff Election

  • VOA News

Lithuania's incumbent president, Dalia Grybauskaite, casts her ballot at a polling station during the first round of voting in presidential elections in Vilnius, Lithuania, May 11, 2014.

Lithuania's incumbent president, Dalia Grybauskaite, casts her ballot at a polling station during the first round of voting in presidential elections in Vilnius, Lithuania, May 11, 2014.

Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite dominated the first round of voting Sunday in the Baltic country's sixth presidential ballot, but failed to secure the 50 percent needed to win outright.

Lithuania's election commission said Grybauskaite, a former European Union budget commissioner, had won about 45 percent of the vote in the election with 95 percent of the ballots counted.

The preliminary results mean she will likely face Zigmantas Balcytis of the center-left social democrats in a runoff to be held on May 25.

The election comes on the heels of Russia's takeover of Ukraine's Crimean peninsula.

Lithuania until its independence in 1991 was part of the Soviet Union and largely controlled by Moscow. President Grybauskaite has welcomed the presence of NATO troops in Lithuania since the upheaval in Ukraine.

The 58-year-old has a karate black belt and promised on the campaign trail last week that she would not flee in the face of Russian aggression, saying "I'll take a gun myself to defend the country if that what's needed for national security."

Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.
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