Viewing cable 04VILNIUS1261

04VILNIUS12612004-10-12 14:50:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Vilnius
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 VILNIUS 001261 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/11/2014 
Classified By: Pol/Econ Chief Nancy Cohen 
for Reasons 1.4 (b) and (d) 
 ¶1. (C) SUMMARY: Lithuania's Labor Party took the greatest 
number of votes in the October 10 first round of 
parliamentary elections, but failed to win enough seats to 
form a government or even ensure their leadership when all 
the votes are in.  The coalition of ruling parties finished 
second, in light voting, with right-wing Conservatives and 
the populist Paksas Coalition beating predictions.  Run-off 
elections for single-mandates October 24 will determine the 
final configuration of Lithuania's Parliament (Seimas).  The 
Brazauskas-Paulauskas Coalition is set to best Labor in the 
second round.  With a majority of seats for any party all but 
numerically impossible, leaders and losers are jockeying for 
place in a governing coalition.  The most likely scenario 
would have current Prime Minister Brazauskas head a 
Government of Social Democrats, Labor, and Liberal Center. 
For the USG, such a combination bodes well.  END SUMMARY. 
Labor Wins Round One 
¶2. (U) Tycoon-turned-politician Victor Uspaskich led his 
young Labor Party to a first-round victory taking nearly 29 
percent of the vote in the October 10 first round of 
parliamentary elections.  As a result, Labor will seat at 
least 22 of the candidates from its party list in the 
141-member Seimas.  The coalition of ruling Social Democrats 
and New Union parties finished second at about 21 percent, 
and Conservatives, performing better than expected, bested 
the Liberal and Center Union for third.  The Coalition led by 
impeached former President Rolandas Paksas outperformed 
expectations, even though the courts have barred him from 
holding office.  Leftist ex-Premier Kazimiera Prunskiene 
fared poorly.  The results were as follow: 
Labor Party                              28.60%   22 seats 
Coalition of Algirdas Brazauskas 
   and Arturas Paulauskas                20.66    16 
Homeland Union (Conservatives)           14.58    11 
Coalition of Rolandas Paksas             11.42     9 
Liberal and Center Union                  9.13     7 
Union of Farmers Party and 
   New Democrats (Kazimiera Prunskiene)   7.22     5 
Other parties failed to pass the threshold of votes necessary 
to win parliamentary seats in the multiple-mandate contest. 
¶3. (U) The first round of voting determined the allocation of 
70 multiple mandates.  In addition, five candidates, 
including Victor Uspaskich, won majorities in single-mandate 
races, throwing three more seats the way of the 
Brazauskas-Paulauskas Coalition (BPK), one to Labor, and one 
to the otherwise unseated Polish Electoral Action. 
Round Two Up for Grabs 
¶4. (U) A second round of voting October 24 will decide the 
assignment of the remaining 66 seats.  Labor, having placed 
first or second, will run in 44 of the 66 districts whose 
seats are at stake, but Conservatives, BPK, and Liberal 
Center candidates have reasonable or better chances to win in 
many.  With the runoffs limited to two candidates, it is at 
this point uncertain to whom the also-rans will give their 
support, and how the numbers will add up in the end. 
(Analysis and projections to follow septel.)  Voter turnout 
will play significantly in the final outcome.  Only 46 
percent of registered voters cast ballots in the first round. 
 Even fewer voters will likely head to the voting booth on 
October 24, as it marks the fourth election in Lithuania this 
Coalition Building Ahead 
¶5. (U) At the end of this process, neither Labor nor BPK are 
likely to end up with a majority.  Under such a scenario, 
Lithuania's Prime Minister will have to form a coalition 
government.  Party leaders will wait until after the second 
round before counting their seats and publicly identifying 
coalition partners, but they are already laying down some of 
the rules and ruling out some possibilities.  Uspaskich 
already announced that he will not form a coalition with the 
Paksas Coalition. 
¶6. (C) A senior advisor to the PM told the Ambassador today 
that Brazauskas favors a coalition with Labor, but only on 
the condition that he retains his current position as PM. 
Under such a scenario, Labor would take over the leadership 
of the government in two years.   There has been talk, 
especially in the Presidency, of a Rainbow Coalition of all 
parties excluding Labor and the Paksas Coalition.  The 
Conservatives, whose numbers would be necessary to form the 
coalition, would have few natural allies in such a 
Government.  It would therefore probably prove short-lived. 
¶7. (C) The next Government of Lithuania will probably include 
some of the same old faces, including at the top. Uspaskich 
is trying to establish himself as non-threatening -- 
increasingly describing himself as a Centrist and, following 
the elections, saying that the voters chose for 
Western-leaning leadership.  If he completes the make-over in 
time, Brazauskas will likely ask him to dance, and the 
unlikely pair (unimaginable just six month ago) will lead the 
Government as PM and Deputy.  For the USG, such a combination 
bodes well, promising continuity of policy, a stable economy, 
and more assiduous courtship of foreign investors.