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Lithuanian voters to give harsh verdict on austerity

VILNIUS--Lithuanians are likely to eject their center-right government in an election on Sunday that could be a taste of what awaits other European leaders forced by the financial crisis to implement unpopular austerity measures.

An ex-Soviet state of about three million people, Lithuania crashed hard when the crisis hit four years ago. It made tough budget cuts in response and is now returning to economic health — but too late for voters fed up with belt-tightening.

Opinion polls indicate they will throw out Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius and install a coalition led by the opposition Social Democrats, who promise to raise the lowest wages and make the rich pay more income tax than the poor.

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