Viewing cable 04VILNIUS1245
Title: LITHUANIAN PRE-ELECTION WATCH: A SMALL TOWN LEANS

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
04VILNIUS12452004-10-08 13:19:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Vilnius
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS VILNIUS 001245 
 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR EUR/NB 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PGOV LH
SUBJECT: LITHUANIAN PRE-ELECTION WATCH: A SMALL TOWN LEANS 
AWAY FROM THE ESTABLISHMENT 
 
 
¶1.  Summary. An incumbent from the ruling Social Democrats 
is paradoxically running on an anti-establishment platform 
and is likely to win re-election in the town of Anyksciai, 
62 miles west of Vilnius.  Residents are concerned with job 
security, the lack of youth employment options, and rising 
heating costs.  By supporting an independent, the people of 
Anyksciai will register their protest against the local 
party establishment that has so far failed to meet their 
expectations.  End summary. 
 
¶2.  Anyskciai, a town of 13,000, is a predominantly 
agricultural community.  Voters here traditionally support 
politicians on the right.  The Conservatives, Christian 
Democrats and the Liberal Center Party hold 15 of 25 seats 
on the Regional Council.  Social Democrat Grazina 
Smigelskiene, Peasants party member Antanas Baura, and 
Conservative Saulius Nefas currently represent Anyksciai in 
Lithuania's parliament (Seimas).  Recent redistricting will 
leave Anyksciai with one Seimas member following the 
October 10 elections. 
 
¶3.  Basic economic issues dominate the local political 
agenda.  Mayor Alvydas Gervinskas noted that, at USD 204, 
the average monthly salary in Anyksciai is 40 percent below 
the national average.  The mayor continued to say that many 
citizens are unhappy that they have to commute to work in 
Vilnius, Kaunas and Panevezys, the largest cities in the 
area, in order to find decent salaries.  Young people, 
impatient because they are unable to find adequate salaries 
locally, are migrating to Lithuania's large cities or 
abroad.  Renata Gudoniene, the local Business Information 
Center's Director, told us that the town has 15 active 
enterprises per 10,000 inhabitants, less than the 
Lithuanian average of 19.  Local residents voiced concerns 
that the recent privatization of one of these businesses, 
the Anyksciu Vynas winery, will lead to further job cuts. 
 
¶4.  Grazina Smigelskiene, candidate for Seimas re-election 
from Anyksciai, hopes that dissatisfaction with the local 
Council will sway voters to the left and support her 
candidacy.  The Council's failure to repair the centralized 
heating system, despite a USD 6.8 million loan for that 
purpose, has kept heating bills high, property values low, 
and triggered an investigation.  Smigelskiene noted that 
heating costs in Anyksciai are the second highest in the 
nation.  Smigelskiene thinks that people are angry that 
life is not better after more than 10 years of 
independence. 
 
¶5.  Smigelskiene is running for re-election as an 
independent against the wishes of her party, the ruling 
Social Democrats, who are backing another candidate in 
Anyksciai and who have low-ranked Smigelskiene on the party 
list.  Among her opponents, the two strongest are 
businesspersons from the Farmers Party and the Liberal 
Democratic Party.  The Labor Party, riding high in the 
polls nationally, has 400 members in Anyksciai, against the 
Social Democrats' 300, but is running what many people 
believe to be a lack-luster candidate.  (Note: The Mayor 
expects Smigelskiene to win.) 
 
¶6.  Comment: A runaway Social Democrat campaigning on a 
platform for change appears to be the front runner in the 
Anyksciai election.  Stealing the thunder of the Labor 
Party, she is arguing for ethics, efficiency, and 
transparency in government and for a better life for those 
at the bottom of the economic ladder.  She will likely 
steal Labor's votes, as well. 
 
MULL