Europe

Social Democrats face challengers in Lithuania's election

  • The pigeons sits by an election poster showing Homeland Union leader Gabrielius Landsbergis, right, and Union members Ingrida Simonyte, left, and Dainius Kreivys in Vilnius, Lithuania, Friday, Oct. 7, 2016. Lithuanians elect a new parliament on Sunday, Oct. 9, 2016. (AP Photo/Mindaugas Kulbis)

    The pigeons sits by an election poster showing Homeland Union leader Gabrielius Landsbergis, right, and Union members Ingrida Simonyte, left, and Dainius Kreivys in Vilnius, Lithuania, Friday, Oct. 7, 2016. Lithuanians elect a new parliament on Sunday, Oct. 9, 2016. (AP Photo/Mindaugas Kulbis)  (The Associated Press)

  • A woman walks by an election poster showing Homeland Union member Ingrida Simonyte in Vilnius, Lithuania, Friday, Oct. 7, 2016. Lithuanians elect a new parliament on Sunday, Oct. 9, 2016. (AP Photo/Mindaugas Kulbis)

    A woman walks by an election poster showing Homeland Union member Ingrida Simonyte in Vilnius, Lithuania, Friday, Oct. 7, 2016. Lithuanians elect a new parliament on Sunday, Oct. 9, 2016. (AP Photo/Mindaugas Kulbis)  (The Associated Press)

  • Local residents in Vilnius wait at the bus stop with a picture of Social Democratic Party member Marija Ausrine Povilioniene in Vilnius, Lithuania, Friday, Oct. 7, 2016. Lithuanians elect a new parliament on Sunday, Oct. 9, 2016. (AP Photo/Mindaugas Kulbis)

    Local residents in Vilnius wait at the bus stop with a picture of Social Democratic Party member Marija Ausrine Povilioniene in Vilnius, Lithuania, Friday, Oct. 7, 2016. Lithuanians elect a new parliament on Sunday, Oct. 9, 2016. (AP Photo/Mindaugas Kulbis)  (The Associated Press)

Lithuanians are voting in the first round of a parliamentary election, with the governing Social Democrats facing challenges from conservatives and an agrarian party.

Lithuania, the biggest of the three Baltic countries, has struggled to stem emigration since regaining independence in the early 1990s and joining the European Union in 2004.

Both the Social Democrats, which have led a coalition government since 2012, and opposition parties have promised to raise living standards in the country of 2.9 million.

Pre-election polls showed the Social Democrats in the lead, ahead of the agrarian Peasant and Green Party and the conservative Homeland Union-Christian Democrats.

Polling stations will close at 8 p.m. (1700 GMT). A second round will be held on Oct. 23 in constituencies where no candidate wins a majority of votes.