"After hearing encouragement from my peers across Lithuania to run for chairman of the Social Democratic Party, I take the challenge," Sabatauskas said in a letter to the Social Democrats.
Meanwhile, Palionis accentuated the need for dialogue and pledged to reinforce the link between the party's younger and older generations.
This will be the first time the Social Democrats hold direct elections for top leadership, with earlier leaders elected in congresses. The preliminary date for the vote of party members is planned for April, with the results expected in early May.
So far, plans to run for the post have been confirmed by Vilnius Vice-Mayor Gintautas Paluckas, MEP Zigmantas Balčytis and Economy Minister Mindaugas Sinkevičius. MEP Vilija Blinkevičiutė told BNS she would probably skip the race, MP Algirdas Sysas said he would run in case of nomination by the party's branches.
LSDP incumbent leader, ex-PM Algirdas Butkevičius, has confirmed in writing he would not run for re-election.