Latvia Pro Western win general election blow to Russian speaking

Latvia: Pro Western win general election, blow to Russian speaking parties

The blow is hard for the parties close to the Russian minority in Latvia. The centrist party of outgoing Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins has won the parliamentary elections, final results published on Sunday evening show. At the same time, the historic formation of the Russian-speaking Harmony, once powerful, is outside parliament with 4.81%, as is the Russian Union of Latvia (pro-Kremlin, 3.62%).

The new unit of Krisjanis Karins received 18.97% of the votes and, according to the Central Electoral Commission, will be the first force in parliament with 26 deputies. Only one party supported by the Russian-speaking minority, Stabilité!, surpassed the 5% eligibility threshold with 6.80% and secured 11 MPs.

A member country of the EU and NATO

The results of the elections, held in the shadow of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, increase the outgoing prime minister’s chances of being asked by President Egils Levits to form the next coalition government in this Baltic country of 1.8 million residents, a member of the EU and NATO. “I think the war in Ukraine played a lot in Mr. Karins’ and New Unity’s favor because they are very strong in the field of foreign policy, which is very important for Latvia from a national security perspective,” said political scientist Filips Rajevskis .

A total of seven parties will be represented in the unicameral parliament with 100 seats. Two of them, United List (Green and regional parties, centre, 11.01%, 15 MPs) and the National Alliance (centre right, 9.29%, 13 MPs) appear well placed to represent New Unity within a coalition to join, which would benefit a majority of 54 MPs.

The League of Greens and farmers on the sidelines

Krisjanis Karins does not see the Union of Greens and Farmers (Centre and Social Democracy), which is in second place with 12.44% and 16 MPs, as a possible ally. “New Unity will not enter into a coalition with parties seeking political orientation in Russia, nor will we cooperate with the Union of Greens and Peasants. Other options are open,” the prime minister told public broadcaster LTV1.

A possible involvement of the Greens and Peasants in his coalition is only possible if this party breaks with its ally, the oligarch and mayor of the port of Ventspils, Aivars Lembergs, whom he accuses of hostility to cooperation with NATO and being charged with serious crimes.

Two other parties, the Progressives (Social Democratic Left) and Latvia’s First (Populists), will have one with ten MPs and the other with nine MPs. President Levits also invited the representatives of the parties who entered Parliament to a meeting on Monday 3 October. Then, explained Krisjanis Karins, coalition talks will first focus on a joint program and then on the allocation of ministerial portfolios.