Lithuanians back opposition populists, SocDems, reject nuclear plant plans
Source: Associated Press
VILNIUS, Lithuania — Lithuanians exasperated with economic hardship handed a stunning victory to a populist party led by a disgraced Russia-born millionaire, nearly complete results of Sunday’s election show, while voicing resounding disapproval of plans to build a costly new nuclear power plant.
The Central Election Commission said that with 45 percent of precincts counted, some 64 percent of votes cast in the referendum were against the new plant, while 36 percent were in support. The commission said the proportion was unlikely to change.
Although the referendum was non-binding, a strong ‘no’ vote could torpedo Lithuania’s plans to build the facility along with neighbors Estonia and Latvia and Japan’s Hitachi, as all sides have suggested that the project made no sense if it lacked popular support.
No less important, the opposition parties geared to take over the government have expressed reservations about the project and said that Lithuania should seek cheaper energy alternatives.