The Lithuanian press calls former mayor, Prime Minister and incumbent President Rolandas Paksas “Zhirinovsky” (as his political conduct is similar to that of Russia’s Liberal-democratic leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky).
Rolandas Paksas won presidential elections in Lithuania. By this moment, calculation of votes has been already completed at 1916 out of the 2015 election centers. At that, Paksas with the votes of 56% voters is 12% ahead of former president of Lithuania Valdas Adamkus. As a consolation prize, Valdas Adamkus won sympathy of the citizens who didn’t support him in the second round of the presidential elections, but at that called him the Man of the Year. Such is the gratitude of the people.
Paksas’ sure victory turned out to be rather unexpected. The first round of presidential elections in Lithuania took place on December 22, 2002; Valdas Adamkus got over 35% votes and Rolandas Paksas won less than 20% votes. Majority of analysts predicted Adamkus’ victory in the second round of the elections. The analysts believed that having to choose between the two probable candidates, the voters would prefer Valdas Adamkus. The people were expected to prefer stability and the old, wise and time-proved president to the young unpredictable politician. It was not accidental that social-democrats might have turned the situation in favor of the incumbent president, the same way it had been done at the previous presidential elections when Paulauskas nearly won the presidency. Rolandas Paksas, 46, is good at driving a motor cycle and in the sky (he used to be a pilot). He certainly wins the sympathy of the population when takes decisions unusual for a governmental official; for instance, when he resigned from the prime minister post to demonstrate his protest against signing a fettering agreement between Lithuania and America’s Williams International. But driving a motor cycle and flying in the sky are good to demonstrate one’s physical state and belonging to some definite layers of the society. Sudden political moves are just some kind of PR or self-advertising in the situation when they cannot seriously influence decisions taken by the authorities.
However, we can’t get away from facts; cautious Lithuanian voters preferred extraordinary Rolandas Paksas to the “father of the nation”, Valdas Adamkus. The newly elected president has already declared that he would continue the policy of his predecessor. During his pre-election campaign, Rolandas Paksas promised to compensate losses of the republic’s population after the breakup of the USSR; to take up privatization and to improve the well-being of the population. In the very first responses of the Lithuanian press to the results of the presidential elections, the newly elected president was called “Lithuanian Zhironovsky.”
Before September 2001, Rolandas Paksas was the leader of the opposition Lithuanian Union of Liberals. When the colleagues blamed him for the breakup of the coalition with social-liberals, Paksas had to resign from the post of the Union chairman. In October 2001, he lost the elections of the party leader. As soon as Paksas lost the opportunity to be put forward as a candidate to the presidential post from the Liberal party, together with his followers he abandoned the liberal faction and created Lithuania’s liberal-democratic party at the beginning of March 2002.
Dmitry Litvinovich PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Maria Gousseva
Read the original in Russian: http://world.pravda.ru/world/2003/5/14/38/5177_Litva.html
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