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Lithuania: President Faces Runoff Next Month

Vilnius, 23 December 2002 (RFE/RL) -- Lithuanian President Valdas Adamkus (pictured) may face a 5 January runoff after early results suggest he did not win the required majority of votes in yesterday's presidential poll. The country's Central Election Commission today said that with 75 percent of the votes counted, Adamkus won 35 percent and former Prime Minister Rolandas Paksas received 20 percent. The commission said about half of Lithuania's registered voters participated in the election.

Final official results are expected later today. Opinion polls predicted Adamkus -- president since 1998 -- to win a second term, largely because Lithuania has recently received invitations to join both NATO and the European Union. He ran as an independent.

The election commission said preliminary returns show the Social Democrat and Liberal Union parties leading in voting for the 1,560 seats on city and county councils.