Lithuania Votes for Fresh Hope: Emigration is at Crisis Point
Noriko Watanabe and Lee Jay Walker
Modern Tokyo Times
The Peasants and Green Union (LPGU) astonished political pundits after becoming the biggest party after the election in Lithuania. Prior to the election, it seemed infeasible that the LPGU would emerge the biggest party but the message of this minor party hit a raw nerve. Therefore, a new political chapter is set to emerge in this nation state.
Alarmingly, for Lithuania, an endless “brain drain” is endangering the future of this nation. Emigration since 1990 is reported to be approximately 800,000, thereby leaving the population to be just below 2.9 million in 2016 from a once 3.7 million.
AP reports, “Lithuania, like its Baltic neighbors Latvia and Estonia, regained independence after splitting from the Soviet Union in 1990 and has since lost nearly a quarter of its pre-independence population of 3.7 million with many seeking work elsewhere in Europe. It is a member of the 28-nation European Union and was hit hard by the global economic recession in 2009-2010. At the beginning of last year it adopted the EU’s common currency, the euro, which has sharply increased prices while wages and pensions remain among the lowest in the bloc.”
The LPGU message of stemming emigration, focusing on rejuvenating the economy, creating new jobs, opening up the nation to foreign investment, helping the younger generation in the housing market, and other policies, are all aimed at galvanizing Lithuania. Of course, it will not be easy for the new coalition government but at least the LPGU is offering fresh hope.
The Daily Telegraph comments, “The Peasants and Green Union (LPGU) must now forge a coalition government after becoming the biggest party in Lithuanian politics, with 54 of the 141 seats in the lower-house of parliament.”
Saulius Skvernelis, the Prime Ministerial candidate of the LPGU, says, “We will forge a rational coalition government and we’ll chose people who want to bring about changes.”
Modern Tokyo News is part of the Modern Tokyo Times group
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