One vote, one beer

Lithuanian voters offered free beer for voting

May 12, 2003 - Lithuania's politicians, church leaders and businesses pulled out the stops on Sunday to reverse a potentially fatal low turnout on the second day of the Baltic country's referendum on joining the European Union.


In the end, Lithuanians voted overwhelmingly in favor of joining the EU, becoming the first ex-Soviet republic to approve membership in the expanding bloc. A 50% turnout was required to make the vote official, and after Saturday there were concerns that wouldn't be reached.

Mayors laid on buses and offered free gifts to voters. Priests urged people to examine their consciences. And the country's top supermarket chain, VP Market, offered a free bottle of beer, a soft drink, chocolate or washing powder to people who could prove they had voted.

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