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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Lithuania's Vote to Join EU Might Fail

VILNIUS, Lithuania -- High voter turnout requirements might cause Lith-uania's May referendum on joining the European Union to fail despite strong public support for EU entry, Prime Minister Algirdas Brazauskas said.

Brazauskas told local radio Tuesday that Lithuania's new referendum law was "too strict and could prove fateful" for the EU ballot. "In other countries a simple majority is enough for the initiative to carry, but our law demands a minimum 50 percent turnout with at least a third of all eligible voters -- or about 900,000 -- voting in favor," Brazauskas' spokeswoman quoted him as saying.

A December poll showed 64 percent of Lithuanians support EU accession with just 17 percent against. Parliament on Thursday is expected on Thursday to approve May 11 as the date for this year's vote.

Latvia and Estonia, where support for the EU has been weaker, have scheduled referendums in September, partly hoping to gain from the momentum of a successful vote in Lithuania.