Lithuania will elect a new parliament in two rounds of balloting on October 20 and November 10. Half of the total number of deputies are being elected under the proportional system based on party lists, and the other half in single-mandate constituencies. Twenty-four parties and numerous individual candidates are competing. Public opinion surveys suggest that the governing Democratic Labor party (DLP) — a left-of-center, social-democrat-type party that developed from the Lithuanian Communist party’s reformist and pro-independence wing — faces defeat by a "right-wing" and right-of-center coalition. The DLP had won an absolute majority in the last parliamentary elections in 1992, but has since been weakened by corruption scandals and mismanagement. It has also suffered significant defections, and last week saw its leader and former prime minister, Adolfas Slezevicius, arraigned on charges of misuse of office. Attempting to stave off a serious defeat, the DLP government announced yesterday a 10 percent increase in pensions, effective November 1, and a similar increase in the salaries of public employees, effective December 1. It failed, however, to identify funding sources in the budget.
The six-party rightist alliance is based on former president Vytautas Landsbergis’ Fatherland Union/The Conservatives and former foreign minister Algirdas Saudargas’ Christian Democrat Party; the two men led Lithuania’s struggle for independence in 1989-1991. The alliance has the support of Lithuanian-American ecologist Valdas Adamkus, who consistently tops Lithuanian political popularity polls. The rightist parties have pledged to support each other’s candidates in the runoffs. In the last electoral consultation — the 1995 local elections — Fatherland Union received more than 30 percent of the votes country-wide from a field of 17 parties, and currently administers 35 out of 56 municipalities and districts. (ELTA, Radio Vilnius, October 15 through 17)
Fallout in Kiev from Russian Duma’s Black Sea Fleet Bill.