Final returns of the first round of Lithuania’s parliamentary elections indicate that Fatherland Union/Lithuanian Conservatives are headed for an absolute majority in parliament, either singly or jointly with their ally, the Christian Democratic party. Fatherland Union won 33 seats and the Christian Democrats 11 seats, out of the 70 which were adjudicated in the first round of the election on the basis of party slates. The second round, due on November 10, involves runoffs in 65 single-mandate constituencies. In most of those runoffs FU and CD candidates are leading and/or competing only with each other.
Five parties overcame the 5 percent threshold of parliamentary representation. The left-of-center Democratic Labor party, which has governed since 1992, placed fourth, winning only 9 seats, despite a pre-election endorsement from its founder, President Algirdas Brazauskas. (ELTA, BNS, October 27 and 28)
The president had, however, distanced himself from party leaders involved in corruption affairs that had tarnished and splintered the party. While the DLP is scrambling to organize a parliamentary and extraparliamentary left-of-center bloc, the stage seems set for political cohabitation between Brazauskas and the FU-CD bloc. FU leaders Vytautas Landsbergis and Gediminas Vagnorius, and CD leader Algirdas Saudargas, have virtually reclaimed their former posts of chairman of parliament, prime minister, and foreign minister, respectively.
The prospective government leaders look set to carry out the terms of their pre-election pact with the Confederation of Lithuanian Industrialists, envisaging inter alia income tax cuts, tax exemptions for reinvesting profits, economic deregulation, and priority to industrial investment in the allocation of long-term foreign credits. (BNS, October 22)
New Ukrainian Naval Command Appointed.