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FACTBOX: Lithuania country profile

(Reuters) - Here are some details about Lithuania, which holds the second round of a parliamentary poll on Sunday.

Seventy seats were decided by party lists on October 12 and the second round is for run-offs in 68 out of 71 undecided single mandate constituencies of the 141 seats in parliament.

The main center-right opposition party, the Homeland Union-Christian Democrats, won the first round with 18 seats and could double their seat total after Sunday’s vote. They are not set to win a majority and will have to hold coalition talks.

The ruling Social Democrats led by the Prime Minister Gediminas Kirkilas secured 12 seats.

Economic worries have been a key theme in the voting.

ECONOMY: Fears that Lithuania faces a sharp economic slowdown due to the global financial crisis dominated the election. The EU has also warned state finances will worsen.

The economy slowed to 5.2 percent growth in the second quarter from 7 percent in the previous quarter. It grew by 8.8 percent in 2007.

The International Monetary Fund forecasts 2009 growth of 0.7 percent while Lithuanian estimates it will be 1.5 percent.

ENERGY: The election campaign was marked by a debate over energy supplies and how to cope after the planned 2009 shutdown of the Ignalina nuclear power plant. The outgoing Social Democrat-led coalition organized a referendum on keeping the plant open -- in defiance of the EU, with whom it had agreed to the closure as part of its conditions of entry -- but the referendum failed because turnout was insufficient.

Concerns remain that Lithuania’s energy dependency on former ruler Russia will mount.

COUNTRY PROFILE:

GEOGRAPHY: AREA: 65,200 sq km (25,200 sq miles). The southernmost of the three Baltic countries, Lithuania borders Latvia, Belarus, Poland and Russia’s Kaliningrad enclave. Lithuania is a major road and rail transport hub for goods moving between Russia and Europe. Forests cover 32 percent of its land and 40 percent is farmland.

CAPITAL: Vilnius.

POPULATION: 3.36 million.

ETHNICITY: Ethnic Lithuanians account for 83 percent of the population, Poles 7 percent and Russians 6 percent.

RELIGION: Nearly 80 percent of Lithuanians are Roman Catholics, with Protestant, Russian Orthodox and Jewish minorities.

LANGUAGE: Lithuanian is the official language; Russian and Polish are also spoken.

HISTORY: The precursor to the modern republic, the 14th century Grand Duchy of Lithuania, was one of Europe’s largest military empires, encompassing large tracts of present-day Poland, Belarus and Ukraine, and stretched from the Baltic to the Black Sea.

A resurgent Russia and incursions by Germanic states and Sweden reduced it to a province of Russia until it won independence in 1918. The Soviet occupation began after World War Two and ended with independence in 1991.

Lithuania joined the EU and NATO in 2004.

Writing by David Cutler, London Editorial Reference Unit

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