Lithuanian Labor Party Pledges Action Amid Voting Allegations
Lithuania’s Labor Party said it would expel any members found guilty of violating the election law amid allegations that some bribed voters during an Oct. 14 round of parliamentary elections that the party won.
Police are looking at a video claiming to show prison inmates being offered money in return for voting for the Labor Party, the Prosecutor General’s Office in Vilnius, the capital, said on its website yesterday. The party called for a swift investigation of the allegations.
“Media reports that some members of the Labor Party may have bribed voters are casting a shadow on our authority,” the party said on its website today. “If the mentioned facts are confirmed, the chairman of the Labor Party intends personally to propose the expulsion of any members who have broken the law.”
The party of Viktor Uspaskich, a Russian-born entrepreneur, won 19.8 percent of votes in the first round on Oct. 14. Labor wants to form a ruling coalition after runoff ballots on Oct. 28 with Finance Minister Algirdas Butkevicius’s Social Democrats, and Order & Justice, led by impeached ex-President Rolandas Paksas.
Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius’s Homeland Union-Christian Democrat party stands third before a second round of voting with 15.1 percent support.
“Lack of prosecution in previous elections has led us a point where vote-buying has even started to become organized, there are signs it’s becoming systematic,” Kubilius said in an e-mailed statement after meeting today with the heads of the election commission, the police and the prosecutors office to discuss voter fraud and how to avoid similar violations during the runoff.
He promised action on a list of recommendations submitted today by the general commissioner of the police aimed at strengthening law enforcement’s authority to investigate election law violations as well as levying heavier punishments on individuals and parties.
Separately, a regional prosecutor asked election officials to strip the legal immunity of a Labor Party candidate accused of bribing voters, the office said.
To contact the reporter on this story: Bryan Bradley in Vilnius at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Balazs Penz at email@example.com
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