Prognosis: ruling party ahead in parliamentary elections in Latvia

Ruling party ahead in parliamentary elections in Latvia

A woman casts her ballot at a polling station in Riga.  Photo: Roman Koksarov/AP/dpa

A woman casts her ballot at a polling station in Riga. photo

© Roman Koksarov/AP/dpa

More than a third of the voters were still undecided or did not want to vote. According to initial forecasts, the governing party of Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins is ahead.

Overshadowed by Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine and concerns about rising energy costs Latvia elected a new parliament. According to forecasts, a victory for the governing party of Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins emerged. However, his liberal-conservative Jauna Vienotiba and her three allies are likely to lose their majority in the Saeima parliament in Riga. A total of seven parties could therefore make it into the parliament of the EU and NATO countries. The first official results were expected on Sunday night.

According to the joint post-election survey by Latvian radio and the Leta news agency, Jauna Vienotiba could expect 22.5 percent of the vote – and thus the strongest force in the new parliament Riga will. It was followed in second place by the newly founded electoral alliance United List with 11.5 percent, ahead of the opposition Alliance of Farmers and Greens with 10.9 percent.

Coalition partners fare poorly

Of Karins Coalition partners can go with the national-conservative National Alliance (8.4 percent) and the liberal For Development – For! (5.2 percent) only two expect to get into parliament. The Conservatives, who have also been co-governing so far, only have 3.5 percent. The current centre-right government would no longer have a majority.

According to the post-election survey, a total of eight parties could make it into parliament. The opposition party Harmonie – the strongest political force in Latvia to date – is not among them. The party, whose core voters come mainly from the strong minority of Russian origin, won the most votes in the last elections, but was always left out when the government was formed.

For the forecast almost 6500 voters were asked after their vote. The parties were initially only cautious about the results – the post-election polls had already proven to be not very reliable in the past elections.

1.5 million voters called

A good 1.5 million voters were called upon to determine the 100 seats in Parliament. Nineteen parties and alliances contested the tenth election since Latvia gained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. In the run-up to the vote, pollsters and experts therefore expected a fragmented parliament in the Baltic republic.

After voting, Karins was ready to lead the coming government. “I voted for a safe and stable Latvia,” he said at the polling station. The election campaign was dominated by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which Latvia sees as a direct threat to national security. The Baltic state borders Russia and its ally Belarus.

Russia’s invasion has also raised thorny issues in Latvia. These include the use of the Russian language, the loyalty of ethnic Russians in Latvia and a debate on the national culture of remembrance.

Latvian Electoral Commission


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