Lithuanians reject euro-driven austerity drive

VILNIUS, Lithuania -- Lithuanians have dealt a blow to the conservative government's vision of a nation that would become a regional energy powerhouse and a member of the euro.

Instead, they voted Sunday for politicians likely to dump austerity and rejected a plan to build a nuclear plant that could have made the country a net energy exporter.

Analysts said Monday that the election marked a rejection of the austerity program that the current government adopted four years ago to stave off bankruptcy and pave the way to the Baltic state joining the eurozone, possibly in 2014.

In a referendum also held Sunday nearly two-thirds of voters in the nation of 3 million rejected the idea of a new nuclear facility, raising questions about the drive to re-establish energy independence from neighboring Russia.