LITHUANIA
Parliamentary Chamber: Seimas

ELECTIONS HELD IN 2000

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Chamber:
  Seimas


Dates of elections / renewal (from/to):

  8 October 2000


Purpose of elections:

  Elections were held for all the seats in Parliament on the normal expiry of the members' term of office.


Background and outcome of elections:

  More than 58 per cent of the 2.6 million eligible voters turned out in the 8 October 2000 election to choose from among the 1,180 candidates contesting the seats allocated via proportional representation lists, and some 700 candidates competing for the single-member constituency seats.

The main issue in the electoral campaign was the economy. The Social Democratic coalition promised higher social expenditure and less taxes, while the ruling Homeland Union announced the continuation of its austerity policy.

The results showed that the Parliament had swung to the left, with a crushing defeat for the ruling conservative Homeland Union. Two centre-left parties won the highest percentage of the popular vote, the Social Democratic coalition of former President Algirdas Brazauskas (31 per cent), and the New Union (social liberals), led by former Soviet prosecutor Arturas Paulaskas, that came in second (19.64 per cent). The centre-right Liberal Union party, headed by popular Vilnius mayor and former Prime Minister Mr Rolandas Paksas, polled 17.25 per cent.

The Homeland Union won just 8.62 per cent of the vote and 8 seats, far less than the 40 per cent which it had won in 1996. It performed poorly in the single-member constituencies, winning only a single seat. Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius lost his constituency, as did several other cabinet ministers. As for the other single-member constituency seats, the Social Democratic coalition won 23, the Liberal Union 18, the New Union 11 and the Lithuanian Peasants' Party 4. Former President Brazauska's bloc won the most seats but fell short of the 71 needed to gain a majority in Parliament

The results showed that Lithuanians had apparently sanctioned the outgoing government for the economic recession and the 12 % unemployment brought about by the reforms that had stabilised the national budget in preparation for membership of the European Union and the NATO military alliance. This entry has been supported by all the parties with parliamentary representation, but some of them have criticised the increase in the defence budget to 2% of the GDP, the level recommended for NATO entry.

On 19 October 2000, the Seimas elected the New Union leader, Arturas Pauluskas, as its new Speaker. A few days later, on 24 October, President Valdas Adamkus appointed Mr Rolandas Paksas as the new Prime Minister at the head of a four-party coalition government comprising the Liberal Union, the New Alliance, the Centre Union and the Modern Christian Democrats.

STATISTICS
Round no 1 (8 October 2000): Elections results  
Number of registered electors 2 626 321
Voters 1 539 743 (59 %)
Blank or invalid ballot papers 68 496
Valid votes 1 471 247

Round no 1: Distribution of seats  
Political Group Total Proportional Majority
Lithuanian Liberal Union 34 16 18
The New Union 29 18 11
Social Democratic coalition 28 28 0
Lithuanian Democratic Labour Party 14 0 14
Homeland Union - Conservatives 9 8 1
Social Democratic Party 7 7 0
Lithuanian Peasant's Party 4 0 4
Non-partisans 3 0 3
Others 13 n.a. n.a.

Distribution of seats according to sex:  
Men: 126
Women: 15
Percent of women: 10.64


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Copyright 2000 Inter-Parliamentary Union