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EU budget commissioner wins Lithuanian presidential vote


VILNIUS, May 18 (RIA Novosti) - Lithuanian voters have elected Dalia Grybauskaite, the EU budget commissioner, as their new president, according to preliminary results released on Monday.

With more than 95% of the votes in Sunday's poll counted, independent candidate Grybauskaite had 68% of the vote. Turnout was just over the 50% barrier, meaning that for the first time since 1993 no runoff will be required.

Election commission chairman Zenonas Vaigauskas said Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius had sent his congratulations to Grybauskaite, who will be Lithuania's first woman president.

Kubilius is likely to stay on as the head of the government, although the new president is expected to insist on some changes in the makeup of the Cabinet. Grybauskaite told journalists that she would discuss changes to the government's anti-crisis program.

"I have some questions for the prime minister, and there are changes that I would like. If the prime minister agrees to cooperate, I will not rush to replace him. A hasty change in government would be costly for Lithuania. If Kubilius wants to work with me, I will work with him," she said.

Grybauskaite graduated from university in Leningrad and completed postgraduate studies in Moscow in 1988. She worked in the Lithuanian Foreign Ministry for much of the 1990s, including on EU membership negotiations.

She speaks Russian, Polish, English and French.

Her main rival in the election, Social Democrat MP Algirdas Butkevicius, received 12%, with the remaining five candidates even further behind.

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