Guest post from Emilis Dambauskas

Emilis has sent me an update on few interesting activities from Lithuania, I hope you will have your say on this too!

“Since December there was a big discussion on our Google group (ManoValstybė — My State) about upcoming municipal elections (2011-02-27).

There was one person who was planning to build a visualization site for election data, but later stopped communicating with us and showing any progress. So our discussion became more heated and people started asking if anything is going to happen.

As a result I scrapped all of the candidate data from the Centra Electoral Commission. That’s ~17,000 candidates. The data includes their wealth, income, marital status, education, employment, and other stuff (e.g. what foreign languages they speak).

I published the data in CSV and Excel formats. Someone imported it into Google Fusion Tables:

Google translation of the original page

We put a list of political groups sorted by average wealth of its candidates:

(Google translation of the original page)

The significance of this table is that before this election there was a big public discussion if non-party candidates should be allowed to participate in the election. Our Constitutional Court ruled that they should be.The table shows, that some of the “non-party” candidate lists are much wealthier than party lists. The first “party” list appears around #10. Thus you can guess that some well standing politicians and businessmen are running for the mandate and using the new system to avoid the legal requirements which apply to political parties. They are also trying to avoid the negative image that political parties have in Lithuania. One of such lists is the list leaded by a controversial former Vilnius mayor Artūras Zuokas.

But this does not mean that all non-party lists are like this. There is also a number of smaller local candidate lists.

Accidentally as I was publishing this table during my lunch time at work. A co-worker noticed it and got interested in the data. I sent him a copy of the data aggregated by municipality and he sent me back some maps which I published just now:

Google translation of the original page

The maps show average candidate wealth, income, etc. in different municipalities.

Averages are not a very good indicator and some of the values are distorted by local millionaires, but it’s a good start and gives some hints you can investigate and find out about the political elite in the regions of Lithuania.”

Let us know you feedback – are you working on something similar in your region? How would you promote those maps locally and what significance do they have for the region, not only Lithuania? Let us know!