Lithuanian opposition party names favorites for presidential election

Lithuania’s opposition Homeland Union-Lithuanian Christian Democrats (TS-LKD) party put 12 candidates for the 2019 presidential election on Monday, including prominent politicians and other public leaders on the list.

Lawmaker and former minister of finance Ingrida Simonyte, lawmaker and diplomatic official Zygimantas Pavilionis, the former banker and economist Gitanas Nauseda, and politician and diplomat Vygaudas Usackas ranked respectively first on the TS-LKD list.

“42 branches of TS-LKD and the Lithuanian Union of Political Prisoners and Deportees expressed their will while naming the candidates whom they would see in the further election process,” said Aiste Gedviliene, executive secretary of conservative TS-LKD.

“Ten out of the 12 named persons are also put forward for the European Parliament election,” Gedviliene was quoted as saying in a statement released by the political party.

Those who decided to participate in the election to the European Parliament would not be considered as TS-LKD candidates for presidential election as provided in the party’s rules, Gedviliene said.

Gitanas Nauseda, former adviser for SEB Bank president, announced on Monday that he would participate in the 2019 Lithuanian presidential election. In his announcement, Nauseda called to create a country of wellbeing.

A public opinion poll commissioned by news agency ELTA and conducted by pollster Baltijos Tyrimai between Aug. 21 and Aug. 31 showed that Nauseda led among the potential presidential candidates with 66 percent of the respondents having a favorable opinion about him.

Vygaudas Usackas, a Lithuanian diplomat who earlier served as the European Union’s Ambassador to Russia, announced earlier on September that he would run for Lithuania’s President office.

Zygimantas Pavilionis said on Monday he would not run for the president while Ingrida Simonyte, a popular conservative, is yet to announce her decision.

The TS-LKD Council will convene on Nov. 17 to officially appoint the party’s presidential nominee chosen in the general vote.

Lithuania will elect its next president on May 12, 2019.

The Baltic country’s incumbent President Dalia Grybauskaite was reelected for a second consecutive term in 2014. According to Lithuania’s constitution, the president is elected directly for a five-year term and can serve maximum of two terms consecutively.

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