Members of the Lithuanian Social Democratic Party (LSDP) on Thursday start voting in the party's first-ever direct leadership election.
Mindaugas Sinkevičius, Gintautas Paluckas
© DELFI montažas

Five candidates are competing for the post of LSDP chairperson, including MPs Artūras Skardžius and Andrius Palionis, Economy Minister Mindaugas Sinkevičius, Vilnius Vice-Mayor Gintautas Paluckas and Mantas Varaška, a former lawmaker.

Former Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevičius, the incumbent chairman, is not seeking re-election following the party's poor showing in last autumn's general election.

After the Social Democrats finished third in the elections with only 17 seats in the 141-member, Butkevičius in early November announced his intention to resign, but the party's council did not approve of the move.

The results of the LSDP leadership election are expected to be announced on Aprril 10.

The Social Democrats are electing their leader in a direct election for the first time. Its chairpersons were until now elected by the party's congresses.

The LSDP is Lithuania 's largest political party with over 20,000 members.

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