Published: Tue, October 09, 2018
Worldwide | By Jermaine Blake

Pro-Russian party wins parliamentary elections in Latvia

Pro-Russian party wins parliamentary elections in Latvia

Latvia's ruling coalition has lost its majority and two newly formed parties have taken more than a quarter of the votes amid widespread disillusion with the Baltic country's politicians, the result in the nation's elections showed with 80 per cent of the votes counted.

Voters in Latvia, a member of the European Union and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, chose Saturday from more than 1,400 candidates and 16 parties to fill the country's 100-seat parliament.

Latvia's ethnic Russian minority makes up about a quarter of the country's 1.9 million population and the pro-Kremlin Harmony party, which was formerly allied with Putin's United Russia party, is popular with them.

Even more important, however, was the party in second place: Who Owns The State?, a new, anti-EU, right-wing populist movement, which received 14.3% of the vote.

The new parliament will determine the makeup of the next government coalition which will replace the outgoing tripartite center-right coalition consisting of the Greens and Farmers Union, the Unity and the National Alliance.

Latvia, a country of roughly two million, shares a 214km border with Russian Federation.

Latvia is a member of both the Eurozone and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, having joined the military alliance in 2004. And the New Conservative Party is running on a strong anti-corruption platform but has struggled to gain voter support.

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Last time around, the pro-Russian Harmony party won the most seats but was blocked from power when other parties refused to work with it.

People vote during a general election at a polling station in Riga, Latvia October 6, 2018.

He said: "Harmony is like a kind of Trojan horse in the European Union when we speak about common European Union foreign policy in regards to Russian Federation".

In the past, parties have refused to enter into coalition with Harmony. For example a coalition containing the New Conservatives, National Alliance, For Development/For! and the Greens and Farmers Union would hold 53 seats.

Harmony meanwhile has signed on some high-profile ethnic Latvians as their frontrunners, and is on track to come out ahead with at least 28 seats.

The result means hard weeks ahead trying to form a broad government coalition that has at least 51 seats in parliament. "We don't have any red lines regarding any other political force", lawyer Aldis Gobzems, KPV LV's candidate for prime minister, said in a recent TV debate. Preliminary results will be announced today.

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