Opposition in lead in Lithuanian election

Early results from the count in Lithuania’s general election give the centre-right opposition a slender lead, and a totally new party in second place, with over 50 percent of the votes counted.

Former prime minister Andrius Kubilius’s Homeland Union will, however, need coalition partners.

With the stunning success of former TV game host Arunas Valinskas’s National resurrection party running second, former president Rolandas Paksas’s Law and Order party has been pushed into third place.

However the referendum on extending the life of a controversial nuclear reactor did not pick up enough votes for it to be valid. That will please the EU, which wants it closed next year, but some will be unhappy.

“The problem is when Lithuania closes Ignalina nuclear plant, with the current price of gas and oil, we will be very much dependent on Russia for the energy supplies, and one of the ways to keep our security independence from Russia is to have Ignalina,” says one analyst.

The ageing Soviet-built plant, of a similar design to Chernobyl, is deemed dangerous, and is a worry for neighbours as well as Brussels. It supplies some 70 percent of the country’s electricity

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