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Lithuanian Voters Oust Austerity Government in Favor of Left-Wing Leaders

Common Dreams staff

A woman casts her vote in Vilnius October 14, 2012. (Photo: Reuters/Ints Kalnins)

Lithuanian voters came out in force on Sunday to vote out their reigning right-wing government, who has imposed extreme austerity measures in the post 2008 financial crisis. Instead votes went largely in favor of a more left leaning governmental coalition in the parliamentary elections.

Lithuania has seen harsh austerity measures combined with skyrocketing unemployment in the wake of the global financial crisis and has seen very little recovery in return as was promised.

"What kind of crisis management are we talking about?" asked Alfonsus Spudys, 78, after he voted on Sunday in the capital, Vilnius. "They scythed people down ... and now they are saying they handled the crisis really well."

With most votes counted early on Monday, it was apparent the center-right government of Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius's Homeland Union party was not going to make it. Instead, the Labor Party had 21 percent of the vote, followed by the Social Democrats, with 19 percent.

The leaders from each of the two parties met to discuss a future coalition, needed to secure the new government, Monday morning.

If the newly elected leaders do as they have promised, Lithuanians will see austerity measures fade in favor of an increase in minimum wage, progressive tax plans including an increase in taxes for top income earners, and new job creation stimulus.

However, if a coalition government cannot be decided upon, a second round of voting will be needed in two weeks.

Additionally, voters turned down plans for a new nuclear power station in the country, halting a nuclear push from the former government.

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