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

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debatei
X
Shelley Schlender
July 24, 2014 6:43 PM
In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Death Toll From Israel-Gaza Conflict Surpasses 700

Gaza officials say a shelling hit a compound housing a United Nations-run school in the Gaza Strip, killing more than a dozen people, during an Israeli offensive in the area. Heavy fighting between the Israeli military and Hamas militants continued on Thursday, pushing up the death toll. So far, more than 730 Palestinians and 35 Israelis have been killed in the conflict. VOA's Scott Bobb has the latest from Jerusalem.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Researchers Target Low-Cost Avatar Technology

Scientists at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies say 3-dimensional representations could revolutionize social media. Elizabeth Lee has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid