Monday 13 October 2008

Lithuanian elections: Chaos and Conservatism

When you look at the results of yesterday's vote in Lithuania (one that is quite likely to be forgotten), you will discover two obvious outcomes: Chaos and Conservatism.

While participation remaind almost the same as in 2004 (48% in 2008 compared to 47% in 2004), the ruling Social Democrats lost heavily and fell from 20.7% to 12.0%.

The Conservative Homeland Union "won" the elections with just 18.5%, about 4% more than four years ago.

This is pretty low, especially when you compare this figure with the 28.4% the winning Labour Party (which should not be confused with the Social Democrats) received in 2004.

And if you add the fact that the five highest ranking parties (from different political spectra) unite less than 60% of the vote, then it becomes clear that despite a 5%-threshold and despite a mixed proportional and majority voting system, the Lithuanian political system - or at least its parliamentary dimension - seems in a sort of crisis: No political movement has the trust of a larger share of the population.

Not surprisingly, coalition talks are expected to be tough...