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Sunday 21 September 2014

Polls open in Lithuania election

Published 11/05/2014 | 11:32

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Lithuania's President Dalia Grybauskaite casts her ballot at a polling station during the first round of voting in presidential election in Vilnius

Polls have opened for the presidential election in Lithuania, where incumbent Dalia Grybauskaite is widely expected to be re-elected.

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Today's presidential election is the sixth since the former Soviet republic regained independence in 1991.

Recent opinion polls showed 58-year-old Grybauskaite, who was previously EU budget commissioner and Lithuania's finance minister, winning about 47% of the vote. Although the polls put her far head of rivals, she is below the simple majority needed to avoid a runoff, to be held along with European Parliament elections on May 25.

In a country occupied by the Soviet Union during the Cold War, Ms Grybauskaite's approval ratings have risen after her strongly worded rejection of Moscow's annexation of Crimea and her staunch support for boosting Nato forces in Lithuania.

Press Association

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