May 12, 2014 - 10:01 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite faces a second round run-off after presidential elections in the Baltic state on Sunday, May 11, after she fell short of the 50 percent of votes needed to get re-elected in the first round, Reuters reported.
With 97 percent of votes counted, Grybauskaite, popular for her abrasive style and strong criticism of what she sees as Russian expansionism, had gathered 45.8 percent of votes, the Lithuanian election commission said on Monday.
In two weeks, she will face Zigmantas Balcytis in a run-off, a social democrat who has the support of Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevicius and who received 13.7 percent of votes.
"The people has decided that there will be a second round. I would like to thank all Lithuanians that I received almost 47 percent of the vote, this is a big trust," Grybauskaite told reporters. "I believe in everyone who voted. I believe in an honest Lithuania."
Grybauskaite has supported moving Lithuania away from energy dependence on Russia - which she described as an "existential threat" to the small republic. Lithuania is constructing an LNG terminal called "Independence" in the port city of Klaipeda to provide an alternative to Russian gas.
The 58-year-old president, who has a black belt in karate, held consistently high ratings throughout her first five-year term and had been touted for a senior EU job in Brussels before she announced her candidacy for re-election.