Viewing cable 08VILNIUS855
Title: LITHUANIA'S SEIMAS ELECTION: CONSERVATIVES FARE

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
08VILNIUS8552008-10-14 12:34:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Vilnius
VZCZCXRO5158
OO RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHVL #0855/01 2881234
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 141234Z OCT 08
FM AMEMBASSY VILNIUS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2933
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 VILNIUS 000855 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/13/2018 
TAGS: PGOV LH
SUBJECT: LITHUANIA'S SEIMAS ELECTION:  CONSERVATIVES FARE 
WELL IN FIRST ROUND 
 
Classified By: Ambassador John A. Cloud for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d). 
 
1.(U) SUMMARY.  Seventy-three of the Parliament's 141 seats 
were decided in the first round of elections on October 12. 
The remainder will be decided in the runoff elections on 
October 26.  The opposition Conservatives were the biggest 
winners of the seven parties who beat the five percent 
threshold, with 19 percent of the vote.  The new National 
Revival Party did better than expected, finishing in second 
place.  The disappointing third place finish by the populist 
Order and Justice Party could mean they will be frozen out of 
any coalition.  The ruling Social Democrats finished fourth. 
The Conservatives are in a good position to negotiate with 
other parties to form a coalition, though they could be left 
out of a center-left coalition.  The parties that did well in 
the first round are pro-NATO and pro-EU and we expect they 
will continue Lithuania's current pro-Western foreign policy 
path.  End Summary. 
 
Conservatives Fared Well 
------------------------ 
¶2. (U) Seven parties passed the five percent threshold to 
earn seats through the party list.  The 70 seats available 
through the party list were distributed as follows: 
 Conservatives   17 
 National Revival  13 
 Order and Justice  11 
 Social Democrats  11 
 Labor      8 
 Liberal Movement    5 
 Liberal and Center Union  5. 
In addition, three of the 71 single mandate candidates 
received more than 50 percent of the vote and will not face a 
runoff:  two Social Democrats and one member of the Polish 
Electoral Action party.  The October 26 runoff will determine 
the remaining 68 seats. 
 
Runoff Elections 
----------------- 
¶3. (U) The Conservatives' favorable results may well be 
repeated in the single mandate district runoffs.  With 25 
first place finishers and 19 second place finishers in the 
first round, they are sure to come away with a fair number of 
additional seats.  The other parties' first round results 
don't even come close:  Social Democrats (15 first place and 
11 second place), Order and Justice (5 and 11), Liberal 
Movement (5 and 4), Liberal and Center Union (3 and 7), Labor 
(5 and 0) and National Revival (0 and 8).  In total, there 
are nine parties that could win seats in the runoffs.  There 
are also five independent candidates with a chance to win a 
seat via the runoff election. 
 
Possible Coalitions 
------------------- 
¶4. (U) Although real bargaining won't begin until after the 
runoffs, there are probably three possible coalitions.  One 
would be a Conservative-led right-center coalition.  It would 
require the participation of the new National Revival party, 
led by comedian Arunas Valinskas, as well as the two Liberal 
parties.  Another possibility is a rainbow coalition with the 
Conservatives, Social Democrats, and others -- probably the 
two Liberal parties and National Revival.  A third 
possibility is a center-left coalition including the Social 
Democrats, Labor, National Revival, and Liberal Center Union. 
 Some politicians do not want to work with the Order and 
Justice party, led by impeached ex-President Rolandas Paksas, 
and the numbers make it look like it could be frozen out of 
any coalition. 
 
Disappearing Parties 
-------------------- 
¶5. (U) Several parties that looked reasonably strong prior to 
the elections have almost disappeared from Parliament, 
including current coalition partners Social Liberals and 
Peasants.  The ailing Civil Democrats and the new, far left 
Front have also effectively disappeared from national 
politics.  Of these four parties, only the Peasants have a 
chance to hold an MP seat, through the runoff elections. 
 
Turnout and Invalid Referendum 
------------------------------ 
¶4. (U) Turnout was 48.42 percent, slightly more than in 2004 
(46.08 percent).  Turnout may have been helped a bit by a 
"consultative" referendum about whether the public felt the 
Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant should stay in operation until a 
new power plant is built.  (Note:  Lithuania promised to 
close the Chernobyl-style reactor by the end of 2009 in its 
EU accession treaty.  A new nuclear power plant is likely to 
take until at least 2015 to be built, more likely longer.) 
Although voters were in favor of the extension by a large 
margin (88 percent), according to the Lithuanian 
Constitution, a referendum is invalid unless voter turnout is 
 
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greater than 50 percent. 
 
Comment 
------- 
¶6. (C) By and large, the parties that did well in the first 
round are pro-NATO and pro-EU; they can be counted on 
generally to continue along Lithuania's current pro-Western 
foreign policy path.  In addition, if a center-right 
coalition forms, it might mean that some needed domestic 
reforms would be re-launched.  But the Conservatives are not 
always liked by other parties, due to their loyalty to their 
strong (anti-Russian and pro-business) principles.  The two 
weeks before the runoffs will be a time of intense 
politicking and positioning for the future.  Paksas's past 
makes him an unattractive partner for some; many 
Conservatives would rather be out of power than work with 
him, and the National Revival Party actively campaigned to 
keep him out of power.  (Note: Valinskas was again quoted on 
election night saying he would not work with Paksas.)  We 
view Liberal Movement as too loyal to its ideals to go into 
coalition with the Social Democrats, except as part of a 
rainbow coalition.  This leaves Revival and Liberal and 
Center Union as the swing parties, key to any viable 
government. 
CLOUD