VILNIUS, October 13 (Itar-Tass) —— Lithuania declared a ban on canvassing before the first round of the parliamentary elections due on October 14. “For 30 hours before the voting the election campaign is to be halted fully under the election law,” a source in the Central Elections Commission of the republic told Itar-Tass.
The ban took effect at 01:00 local time (02:00 Moscow time) on Saturday.
The so-called day of silence, though it is more than 24 hours, is declared so that before the voting day the voters can think over everything that they heard and saw during the election debates and decide for what political forces they will vote.
According to the Central Elections Commission, 2.579 million people are entitled to vote in the republic. This number of voters is 116,600 people fewer than in the previous election campaign in 2008. The negative demographic situation and the economic migration to the Western countries affected the number of voters.
The Seimas, Lithuania’s one-house parliament, consists of 141 deputies, who are elected in a general secret vote. A candidate can be a Lithuanian citizen aged over 25 years permanently living in the republic. A record number of 2,000 candidates are running in the parliamentary elections compared with 1,500 candidates at the previous elections.
The elections will be found valid, if the turnout makes 25%.
A referendum over the expediency to build a Visaginas nuclear power plant will be held simultaneously with the parliamentary elections. According to the preliminary estimates of the experts, the chances that the referendum will be found valid are small, because a 50% turnout is needed. In 2004 the turnout reached 46% and 48% in 2008. The progress of the early voting on Wednesday and Thursday do not favour any pessimistic forecasts. The turnout was twice higher than during the early voting four years ago.
The Lithuanian population is not unanimous in the position on the nuclear power plant. The construction project of the nuclear power plant is estimated at five billion euros and is considered costly. The referendum is advisory, its results will not have a compulsory effect, but the position of people will be an important argument in the debates about the future of nuclear power in Lithuania.