Sunday, May 17, 2009

Lithuania Adventure, Part 2: Election Day

Erik spent election day focusing on research. In the morning, he met with Monika, a colleague on the NSF project, to review plans for data collection and interviews with officials during the week. Monika also arrange for an opportunity to observe the election process in polling stations, so in the early afternoon they visited two precincts in Vilnius (one in a "sleeping neighborhood" outside the city and one in the center. A sleeping neighborhood is a region of large apartment complexes and relatively limited commercial activity.). Election day was relatively quiet and turnout was low, probably due to expectations that a particular candidate would win as well as the steady rain falling throughout the morning and early afternoon.

In the evening, he attended a Vilnius University-sponsored post-election event. The election party was an interesting combination of entertainment, political analysis, and live TV interviews with participants. Since the event was in Lithuanian, Monika translated. Below you can see photos of one of the on-camera interviews with a faculty member, and a performance by a well-known and talented bard, Kostas Smoriginas. The main issue to resolve at the moment is turnout. Without 50% turnout, the leading candidate is unlikely to win in the first round. With 50% turnout, she will win (for a more detailed discussion of the particulars, visit Erik's election blog).

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