Advertisement

Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda wins re-election

Lithuania's President Gitanas Nauseda speaks to the crowd before a speech of the U.S. President Joe Biden at Vilnius University in Vilnius, Lithuania, on July 12, 2023. On Sunday, Nauseda won re-election to a second five-year term. File Photo by Eitvydas Kinaitis/ Lithuanian President Press Office/ UPI
Lithuania's President Gitanas Nauseda speaks to the crowd before a speech of the U.S. President Joe Biden at Vilnius University in Vilnius, Lithuania, on July 12, 2023. On Sunday, Nauseda won re-election to a second five-year term. File Photo by Eitvydas Kinaitis/ Lithuanian President Press Office/ UPI | License Photo

May 27 (UPI) -- President Gitanas Nauseda of Lithuania easily won re-election Sunday, securing nearly three-fourths of the vote in a contest held amid soaring tensions in Europe over Russia.

Nauseda, who assumed Lithuania's highest office in 2019, secured another five-year term with nearly 75% of voters who cast ballots on Sunday doing so in his name.

Advertisement

Challenger Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte netted a little more than 24% of the vote, according to results from the Central Electoral Commission of the Republic of Lithuania.

Voter turnout was 1.1 million, nearly 50% of Lithuania's 2.4 million voters.

In a statement to the country early Monday, Nauseda framed his victory as approval of his first term in office.

"The trust shown to me by the people of Lithuania is a recognition of five years of work into which I have put my whole heart," he said.

"It has not been easy. The term was marked by the challenges of the pandemic, illegal migration and the terrible Russian war against Ukraine. I have always tried to find solutions. I have tried to achieve the goals of the welfare state that I set before my first term, primarily to reduce social and regional disparities."

Advertisement

He continued by thanking the people of Lithuania for voting for him, stating their votes "compel" him to cat.

"I will continue to strive for results," he said. "I will strive for our political parties to agree on the issues that are most important for Lithuania."

Nauseda and Simonyte advanced to a run-off election after neither garnered more than 50% of vote to win the presidency outright in the first round of voting held earlier this month.

During the first round on May 12, they bested six other candidates with the president winning nearly 44% of the vote and the prime minister taking a little more than 20%.

Lithuania sees itself as a potential target for Russia and has been a staunch supporter of Kyiv's defense against the Kremlin's invasion, which began in February of 2022.

According to Vilnius, it has pledge more than $504.4 billion in military support to Ukraine. The Ukraine Support Tracker from the Kiel Institute states that represents 1.2% of its gross domestic product, making it the third largest contributor by GDP behind only Estonia at 1.6% and Denmark at 1.2%.

President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine was quick to congratulate Nauseda on his victory online.

Advertisement

"You have been by our side every day and night throughout these most difficult years," he said on X.

"I appreciate all of your genuine support for Ukraine, and I am confident that working together, we will ensure freedom, peace, and security in Ukraine, the Baltic states, and throughout our Europe."

Latest Headlines