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Opposition may form Lithuania coalition

VILNIUS, Lithuania — Opposition populists and leftists in crisis-worn Lithuania hinted they were prepared to form a government coalition after an exit poll Sunday indicated their parties would take first and second place in the country’s parliamentary elections.

Lithuania, having just emerged from a debilitating economic crisis, is still beset with high unemployment — over 13 percent — and falling living standards due in large part to higher energy costs.

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Many voters put the blame for the woes squarely on the current government, which took over in late 2008 and immediately implemented tax hikes and spending cuts to stave off bankruptcy.

The populist Labor Party and the Social Democrats, both in the opposition, together mustered more than 37 percent of the vote, according to the poll conducted by the BNS news agency and RAIT market research company, and party leaders, despite uneasy relations, have already suggested they were ready to work together.

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