Latvian ruling party of PM Karins wins parliamentary elections

Latvian ruling party of PM Karins wins parliamentary elections
Latvian Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins arrives at the EU summit meeting, Wednesday 10 April 2019, at the European Union headquarters in Brussels. Credit: Belga / Thierry Roge

Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins’ centre-right New Unity party (Jauna Vienotiba) has won parliamentary elections in Latvia, held on Sunday.

The New Unity party won with 18.9% of the vote, according to the figures of the election commission on Sunday morning, now that almost 95% of the votes have been counted.

In the exit polls, the party was awarded a larger score (22.5%) after the closing of the polling stations on Saturday evening.

The Union of Greens and Farmers (Zalo un Zemnieku savieniba, ZZS) is the second party with 11%, ahead of the joint opposition list.

Prime Minister Karins’ three coalition partners score less well. The centre-right National Alliance (Nacionala apvieniba, NA) manages to reach parliament with 9.3%, but the conservative party would clearly fail the 5% electoral threshold, while the liberal alliance would end up just below the threshold.

Things can still change with the counting of the remaining votes.

Decline of Russian minority party

For example, opposition party Harmonie (Saskana) will be hoping for additional votes. The Baltic state’s largest political formation for many years now achieves only 4.8%. The party gets its votes from the large Russian-speaking minority in the country, which makes up about 30% of the population.

The party’s popularity has been waning for some time, partly due to corruption scandals. As a result, the party also lost the mayoralty of Riga. In addition, the campaign was dominated by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

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Among the 1.9 million inhabitants of the Baltic state, there is great concern about rising inflation, currently at 21.5%, and high energy prices.

All together, eight parties would be elected to the parliament, the Saeima, including three new formations.

After he cast his vote, Prime Minister Karins expressed his willingness to lead a new government. But analysts expect difficult coalition talks in the politically fragmented country.


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