Lithuania's 'Iron Lady' in Presidential Runoff

  • VOA News

    May 26, 2014 08:16

    Lithuania's President Dalia Grybauskaite casts her vote during European Parliament and Lithuania's presidential elections in Vilnius on May 25, 2014. /Reuters

    Lithuania is holding a presidential runoff vote Sunday with incumbent "Iron Lady" Dalia Grybauskaite the front-runner in the European Union and NATO state absorbed with security concerns over a resurgent Russia.

    President Grybauskaite dominated the first round of voting two weeks ago in the Baltic country's sixth presidential ballot, but failed to secure the majority needed to win outright.

    Lithuania's election commission said Grybauskaite, a former EU budget commissioner, had about 45 percent of the vote. Her rival is Zigmantas Balcytis of the center-left social democrats. 

    The election comes amid Russia's takeover of Ukraine's Crimean peninsula. 

    Lithuania was ruled by Russia during the Cold War. President Grybauskaite has welcomed the presence of NATO troops in Lithuania since the upheaval in Ukraine.

    The 58-year-old president has a karate black belt and promised during the campaign that she would not be intimidated by Russian aggression, saying "I'll take a gun myself to defend the country if that what's needed for national security."

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