As general elections approach, Lithuania's political parties are looking for recognizable names to spice up their candidate lists. The conservatives are eyeing racer Benediktas Vanagas while the liberals would like to have TV presenter Edita Mildažytė on their ballot, LRT reports.
Benediktas Vanagas
© DELFI / Karolina Pansevič

Benediktas Vanagas, who secured Lithuania's best performance at this year's Dakar Rally, has been approached by the conservative Homeland Union - Lithuanian Christian Democrats about running for parliament in October's elections, but the racer says he is not tempted by a political career.

"I have not made up my mind yet [about running for parliament], it's not in my plans at the moment," Vanagas told LRT. "Frankly, of all the parties in Lithuania, maybe only two have not offered me to join. But I am not inclined to do so yet. I think I'll be more useful where I am now, going into politics would limit my opportunities."

The Homeland Union's chairman Gabrielius Landsbergis admits he has met with Vanagas on several occasions, but will not say if the racer was offered a spot on the ballot.

"We spoke about cooperation and developing joint projects. I would not like to go into more detail on what we spoke about," Landbergis told LRT. "Let Vanagas himself decide and make the announcement."

Meanwhile the Liberal Movement has approached known journalist and TV presenter Edita Mildažytė about joining the party. Liberal leader Egidijus Masiulis told LRT in late February, however, that the deal had not been sealed yet.

Edita Mildažytė
Edita Mildažytė
© DELFI / Mindaugas Ažušilis

Mildažytė herself is cautious about going into politics: "I haven't shaken hands with anyone and I am not running for office. They keep coming to me and making offers, but it's not true. I am not going into politics either with the liberals, the social democrats or the conservatives."

Lithuania has already had an experiment with celebrities in politics. In 2008, a party made up of TV and show business personalities secured 16 seats in the 141-seat Seimas. The party's leader, TV producer and game show host Arūnas Valinskas, even scored the post of parliament speaker. However, the party disintegrated even before the end of the term.

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