Lithuanian PM to quit following poor election result

Lithuania’s prime minister Saulius Skvernelis has said he will step down after failing to qualify for the second round of the country’s presidential election.

“This failure to get into the second round is an assessment of me as a politician,” he said.

The second round will be contested by a former finance minister, Ingrida Simonyte, who took just over 31 per cent of the vote, and a prominent economist, Gitanas Nauseda, who took 30 per cent. Mr Skvernelis was a disappointing third, taking less than 20 per cent. Turnout was close to 57 per cent.

Both candidates are staunchly pro-European and anti-Russian, with Mr Nauseda viewed as the more economically conservative of the two. Although backed by Lithuania’s main right-wing party, the Homeland Union, Ms Simonyte is a social liberal popular with young, urban Lithuanians.

The pair will be competing to replace the current president Dalia Grybauskaitė, whose second term in office ends in July. The second round will be held on May 26, the same day as European parliamentary elections.