Lithuanian President Nauseda re-elected in vote held amid security fears over Russia

Lithuania's President Gitanas Nauseda won re-election on Sunday in a vote marked by defence concerns over neighbouring Russia, official results showed.

The count published by the electoral commission showed that Nauseda won 76 percent of votes with 80 percent of ballots counted after polls closed in the second-round vote.

Voters "have handed me a great mandate of trust and I am well aware that I will have to cherish this," Nauseda, 60, told journalists in Vilnius.

"Now that I have five years of experience, I believe that I will certainly be able to use this jewel properly, first of all to achieve the goals of welfare for all the people of Lithuania," he said.

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His opponent, Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte, conceded defeat in comments to reporters and congratulated Nauseda.

The Lithuanian president steers defence and foreign policy, attending EU and NATO summits, but must consult with the government and parliament on appointing the most senior officials.

While the candidates agree on defence, they share diverging views on Lithuania's relations with China, which have been strained for years over Taiwan.

Both candidates agree that the NATO and EU member of 2.8 million people should boost defence spending to counter the perceived threat from Russia, and to that end the government recently proposed a tax increase.

'Threat of war'

Pensioner Ausra Vysniauskiene said she voted for Nauseda.

(AFP)


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