News / Europe

Lithuania President Re-elected on Anti-Russian Platform

Lithuania's Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevicius (L) and center-left presidential candidate Zigmantas Balcytis (C) congratulate President Dalia Grybauskaite after her winning the presidential election in Vilnius, Lithuania, May 26, 2014.
Lithuania's Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevicius (L) and center-left presidential candidate Zigmantas Balcytis (C) congratulate President Dalia Grybauskaite after her winning the presidential election in Vilnius, Lithuania, May 26, 2014.
Reuters
Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite has won the first consecutive presidential term in the country's history, with her anti-Russian platform striking a chord with voters.
 
Grybauskaite, a 58-year-old former European Budget Commissioner and former minister of finance, won 57.9 percent of the votes in the nation of 3 million on Sunday, the electoral commission said.

Zigmantas Balcytis, a social democrat supported by prime minister Algirdas Butkevicius, scored 40.1 percent.
 
Escalating tensions with Russia are likely to define Grybauskaite's second five-year term, just as financial austerity was the hallmark of her first term, which started in 2009, the year Lithuania's economy shrank by 15 percent.
 
Fears are growing that Russia will try to destabilize the Baltic states of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia - all members of NATO and the European Union - which have small armed forces and Russian speaking minorities.
 
Grybauskaite wants the government to give more money to the army immediately, even if it needs to relax budget discipline and borrow more.

“We are in a vortex of threats today,” she said during presidential debates last week.
 
“We are always ready to cooperate and trade, but we will never allow ourselves to be pressured, pushed or ordered what to do,” she told a media conference on Monday, referring to the relationship with Russia.
 
“We wish Russia would become more democratic and solve the upcoming economic challenges. It would be good ... if people in the country were not hungry and angry, as they usually are when the economy goes bad,” she said.
 
Deployment of foreign troops

About 150 U.S. troops were sent to each of the Baltic states and Poland this year to reassure them that their NATO ally is taking its security commitments seriously - the first permanent deployment of foreign troops on Lithuanian soil since 1993.
 
“Keeping Lithuanian foreign and defense policy strong and on track will be the big challenge for the president,” said Kestutis Girnius, associate professor at the Institute of International Relations and Political Science.
 
“The fact that she won so strongly, while the social democrats appeared weak in recent European Parliament elections means that she will have an upper hand in her relationship with the government,” Girnius said.
 
The president holds considerable power in Lithuania, appointing government ministers, judges, and the central bank chief as well as Lithuania's member of the European Commission, needing approval from the prime minister or parliament for most.
 
Grybauskaite's tough stance will be supported by the Independence liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal starting imports next year, breaking Lithuania's total dependence on Russian gas. She has called the dependence on Russian gas an ``existential threat'' to the republic.
 
Lithuania pays one of the highest prices for natural gas in the European Union, and about 20 percent more than its neighbors, which are similarly dependent on Russia.

You May Like

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More