Analysis Voices of Europe 2024 | Lithuania

Irrational and invisible: Lithuania’s European elections

Of the three elections to be held this year in Lithuania, the contest for European Parliament seats is getting the least attention. Brussels seems remote to Lithuanian voters and their choices may not prove rational.

Published on 28 March 2024 at 11:08
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Of Lithuania's three countrywide polls that will take place this year, the European Parliament (EP) election usually receives the least attention. Vladas Gaidys, a sociologist and head of pollster Vilmors, is even a little lost for words about them.

"To tell you the truth, I haven't given [the EP election] much attention", he says. "Everyone is more interested in the presidential ones. My first response would be that people here don't really differentiate between the roles [of the elections].” Of the year’s three elections, he too finds the EP contest to be the least interesting.

"The most interesting, of course, is the presidential election. There you can look a candidate in the eye, like in athletics, or a horse race. It is harder to look their parties in the eye, but even so, there is still excitement there. But here [the EP] is something very far away. Your interests are being represented, but it takes a specialist to understand the subject."

Mr Gaidys says that one will search hard to find any specific European Parliament election campaign going on in Lithuania.

"If you searched, you could find it. Those already in the European Parliament, I think, would like to stay for another term. It takes five years to understand how it works. [Social Democrat leader] Vilija Blinkevičiūtė is the obvious example here. Clearly she is not drawn to this country, where she is at the mercy of journalists. Over there, you are dealing with heads of state and government..."

A European salary

Vytautas Dumbliauskas, a political scientist at Mykolas Romeris University (MRU), says only half-jokingly that the EP election is only of interest to those who are on party lists.

"The EP does not determine the life of an ordinary person very much. It is somewhat powerless. The European Commission, which is not elected by anyone, has more power than a parliament elected by citizens", he argues.

But voter…


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