- Title: LITHUANIA: Counting starts in gthe Lithuanian election
- Date: 15th October 2012
- Summary: VILNIUS, LITHUANIA (OCTOBER 14, 2012) (REUTERS) BALLOT BOX LIFTED ONTO TABLE DETAIL OF COAT OF ARMS BALLOT BOX BEING TIPPED OVER - BALLOT PAPERS BEING PULLED OUT MORE OF BALLOT PAPERS BEING PULLED OUT CLOSE OF VOTES VARIOUS OF VOTE COMMISSION MEMBERS COUNTING BALLOT PAPERS CLOSE OF BALLOTS BEING SORTED LITHUANIAN FLAG ON WALL OF BUILDING
- Embargoed: 30th October 2012 12:00
- Location: Lithuania
- Country: Lithuania
- Topics: Politics
- Reuters ID: LVABALCU3I345HMX7GBTWSAPP2VU
- Story Text: Lithuania's opposition prepared to take power on Monday (October 15) after voters rejected the austerity-minded government, a foretaste of what may await other European leaders forced to make unpopular cuts by the financial crisis.
An ex-Soviet state of about three million people, Lithuania crashed hard when the crisis hit four years ago. It slashed spending in response and is now returning to economic health - but too late for voters fed up with belt-tightening.
An exit poll after a parliamentary election on Sunday (October 14) showed Lithuanians had thrown out centre-right Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius in favour of a coalition of left-leaning opposition parties who promise to soften the austerity.
The government of the Baltic nation lost out despite winning praise from big European powers and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for its thrift and discipline.
As one of the European Union states most severely hit by the crisis, and one of the fastest to implement austerity, Lithuania is a bellwether for governments in Greece, Spain, Ireland and elsewhere, who are being forced to make similar swingeing cuts.
The RAIT/BNS exit poll gave the biggest share of the vote, 19.8 percent, to the Labour Party. The centre-left Social Democrats, likely coalition partner for Labour, were second with 17.8 percent and the prime minister's Homeland Union was in third place on 16.7 percent.
Partial official results, based on the votes that have been counted so far, ranked the parties in the same order.
The final shape of the next government will not be clear until talks take place on forming a coalition. It may come down to a second round, to take place in two weeks, which will settle races in local districts where no candidate had a clear lead.
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