- October 15, 2012
The historic triumph of AWPL
For the first time since Lithuania regained its independence, the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania [Polish: Akcja Wyborcza Polaków na Litwie, AWPL] has crossed the 5% election threshold in the parliamentary elections. After the first ballot AWPL led by Waldemar Tomaszewski gained 6 seats in the future Parliament. In the second ballot, on October 28, six Poles are going to fight for the parliamentary seats.
The seats in the Parliament were received by Waldemar Tomaszewski, the party’s leader and a member the European Parliament, Wanda Krawczonok, the party’s vice-leader and a leader of the AWPL faction in the local government of the Capital City, Józef Kwiatkowski, a chairman of the Association of Polish Teachers in Lithuania, Michał Mackiewicz, a chairman of the Association of Poles in Lithuania, and Zdzisław Palewicz, a mayor of Šalčininkai district municipality. Leonard Talmont, a member of the previous Parliament, has gained his seat as well already in the first ballot in Vlinius-Šalčininkai constituency. In the second ballot Jarosław Narkiewicz (Vilnius-Trakai constituency), Rita Tamašiuniene (Vilnius-Širvintos constituency), Zdzisław Palewicz (Varėna-Eišiškių constituency), Tadeusz Andrzejewski (Naujoji Vilnia constituency), Zbigniew Macijewski (Šeškinė constituency), and Zofia Matarewicz (Justiniškės constituency) are going to fight for their seats as well.
Monday in Lithuania was devoted to counting the votes in the Parliamentary elections and referendum on the new nuclear power plant in Wisagini. After the first ballot the Labour Party was a leader of this year’s elections. In general, seven parties entered the Parliament.
The Central Electoral Commission announced the final results yesterday evening. In the moment of the closing the votes form 1,956 constituencies of total 2,017 were already counted. According to this data, the Labour Party received 20% of all votes in the parliamentary elections. It confirms the political scientists’ pre-electoral prognoses who expected the success of the populist Labour Party led by a controversial Russian millionaire, Wiktor Uspaskich, and social democrats. The prognoses turned out to be true because the social democrats got second place with 18,45% of all votes. The third place belongs to currently governing conservatives. They got only 15% of all votes. Among the seven parties that have their representatives in the future Parliament are also the Liberal Movement (8,42%) and “Order and Justice” Party (7,38%). Also a new party named “Path of Courage” crossed the 5% election threshold with 7,89% of all votes. AWPL, a Polish party led by Waldemar Tomaszewski, achieved a great success in this year’s elections. It received almost 6% of all votes.
The referendum showed that in Lithuania there were twice as many opponents as supporters of a new nuclear power plant. 34% of all citizens with the right to vote showed their support for the new project. However, 63% of citizens expressed their negative attitude to the nuclear power plant.
In general, 53% of citizens with the right to vote participated in this year’s elections. 2,000 candidates form 17 political parties and one coalition including 4 parties waited for the citizens’ votes. This year’s elections, like the previous ones, could not manage without any incidents.
The Police Department informed that on Sunday it received 188 reports about the possible breaches on the election day. Consequently, it is investigating 5 cases in Šiauliai, Vievis, Skuodas and Zarasai. In Vilnius, Kaunas and Šiauliai district municipality the police arrested at least 7 people suspected of bribing voters.
Serious allegations of corruption are made against the Labour Party. Yesterday the media received special material, namely a video record filmed secretly in penal institutions. It probably contains filmed negotiations with prisoners on voting for the Labour Party. The prisoners are being persuaded to vote for a vice-mayor of Vilnius, Jonas Pinskus, and his wife Živilė in return for a proper financial reward.
The officers of the criminal police have been investigating this case since Friday on the basis of the article on the disturbance of the election law. The Criminal Code provides for public works, fine, arrest or imprisonment up to 3 years for this type of offence.
Tłumaczenie Karolina Rolka w ramach praktyk w Europejskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, www.efhr.eu. Translated by Karolina Rolka the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.