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Last Updated: Monday, 25 October, 2004, 01:11 GMT 02:11 UK
Labour fails in Lithuania run-off
Viktor Uspaskich
Viktor Uspaskich had hoped his party could govern outright
Lithuania's recently formed Labour Party has failed to secure an outright majority in the second and final round of parliamentary elections.

With most of the votes counted, the Labour Party, led by Russian-born businessman Viktor Uspaskich, has reportedly secured at least 39 seats.

In the first round of voting two weeks ago, Mr Uspaskich's party came first, with 29% of the vote.

It is not yet clear which coalition will hold the balance of power.

With most of the votes counted, the right-wing Conservative Party and Liberal Centre Union was said to have won 39 seats, with the governing left-wing Social Democrat and Social Liberal coalition scored third with 29 seats.

Other reports had both coalitions neck-and-neck with 56 seats each in the 141-seat parliament, known as the Seimas.

Low turnout

"The results are obviously not what Mr Uspaskich was expecting before the vote. The results by the traditional parties... are impressive," Audrius Baciulis, a political analyst with the weekly news magazine Veidas, told the Associated Press news agency.

Analysts had said Labour was unlikely to do so well in the second round of voting, where MPs are elected locally, and other parties have more established local candidates.

The elections are the first to be held since Lithuania joined the European Union and Nato earlier this year.

Turnout was low, with only 40% of those eligible casting their vote.

The final results will be announced on 31 October.

Mr Uspaskich's victory in the first round took many by surprise.

The native Russian's success heightened fears among many Lithuanians of increasing Russian influence in their country, which regained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.

Some of the country's political parties from the left and right had agreed to team up if necessary to stop Labour getting power.


SEE ALSO:
New probe for Lithuania's Paksas
30 Apr 04  |  Europe
Paksas fall stirs mixed emotions
07 Apr 04  |  Europe
Country profile: Lithuania
01 May 04  |  Country profiles


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