Lithuania profile

President: Dalia Grybauskaite

Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite Dalia Grybauskaite won the presidency in 2009

Dalia Grybauskaite was voted in as Lithuania's first woman president with an emphatic election victory in May 2009.

She won 69% of the vote, against 11% for her closest rival, Algirdas Butkevicius of the opposition Social Democratic Party.

Previously the European Union budget commissioner, she stood as an independent, but with backing from the four-party centre-right coalition of Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius.

A former finance minister, Ms Grybauskaite's reputation for plain speaking helped win over an electorate nervous about the severe economic downturn that hit Lithuania in 2008.

She is sometimes dubbed the "Iron Lady", the nickname of former British PM Margaret Thatcher, a steely free-marketeer she describes as one of her political models.

Ms Grybauskaite has said that her decision to stand came after anger at the economic slump boiled over in a riot in front of the parliament building in Vilnius in January 2009.

She declared herself broadly in support of the centre-right government's response to the crisis, but criticised some of its tax increases and called on some ministers to "correct mistakes of the past or go".

She took an unprecedentedly interventionist approach after the 2012 parliamentary election, when she initially said that she could not accept a coalition that included the Labour Party, after the party had been accused of electoral irregularities.

Born in 1956 in Vilnius - then still part of the Soviet Union - Ms Grybauskaite studied in the Russian city of Leningrad - today's St Petersburg.

A senior civil servant since Lithuania's independence in 1990, she served as finance minister from 2001 to 2004, when the country nominated her the European Commission after joining the EU that year.

Prime Minister: Algirdas Butkevicius

Lithuanian premier Algirdas Butkevicius Mr Butkevicius has vowed to reverse some of the austerity measures imposed by the previous government

Algirdas Butkevicius became prime minister in December 2012, nearly seven weeks after his Social Democratic Party emerged as the biggest party in parliamentary elections.

Coalition-building talks between the Social Democrats and their potential partners in government were already well advanced when President Dalia Grybauskaite intervened, saying she could not accept a government that included the Labour Party, which was under investigation after having been accused of electoral and tax fraud.

President Grybauskaite later withdrew her veto, on the grounds that the individual ministers nominated by the Labour Party were technocrats rather than party activists and were therefore not implicated in the fraud allegations.

Mr Butkevicius's government has pledged to ease the austerity measures introduced by the previous conservative coalition led by Andrius Kubilius, and one of its first acts after taking office was to raise the minimum wage from 850 litas ($330) to 1,000 litas ($386).

He has said that he expects the Lithuanian economy to grow by about 3 percent in 2013, and that the country should be able to meet the economic targets required to adopt the euro by 2015.

Born in 1958, Algirdas Butkevicius first trained as an engineer and later gained a doctorate in economics.

He joined the Social Democratic Party in 1992 and became an MP for the first time in 1996. He held various ministerial posts during the 2004-2008 Social Democratic minority government, and became the leader of the party in 2009.

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