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Lithuania elects first female president
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09:23, May 18, 2009

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European Union (EU) budget chief Dalia Grybauskaite will become Lithuania's first female president after a landslide victory in the Baltic's country's presidential on Sunday.

Preliminary figures released by the Central Electoral Commission of Lithuania in the early hours of Monday showed that Grybauskaite won 68.2 percent of the votes casted by over half of the country's 2.67 eligible voters, enjoying a comfortable lead over her closest rival Algirdas Butkevicius, leader of the opposition Social Democrat Party who came second with 11.74 percent of votes.

Turnout was 51 percent according to the latest data, indicating the election will not require a run-off.

"There will be no second round as the president of Lithuania was elected tonight," Zenonas Vaigauskas, chairman of the Central Electoral Commission said.

Millions of Lithuanians went to the polls on Sunday to choose anew president for the country which has plunged into a deep recession due to the global financial crisis.

According to Lithuania's election rules, Grybauskaite has to win over 50 percent of the votes cast on Sunday to secure an outright victory and more than half of all voters must turn out. Otherwise, a run-off between the two leading candidates will be held on June 7.

"Yes, I think I won," Grybauskaite told reporters before the preliminary results were released. "I am grateful for the responsibility invested in me."

Grybauskaite is currently the EU Commissioner for Financial Programming and Budget. If confirmed, she will become the first female president in Lithuania.

"I am very glad that people came and voted for me, because I know what to do to help Lithuania in this difficult situation," Grybauskaite said, adding, "The taste of victory carries with it the weight of responsibility."


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