Pro-Russia party, populists win Latvian parliamentary election

09 October, 2018, 04:21 | Author: Carlos George
  • Harmony a centre-left social democrat party also runs on conservative social policies

A total of 16 political parties and groups, represented by 1,461 candidates, fought for 100 seats in the parliament.

The pro-Russia party Harmony remained the biggest with 20 percent, due to its support from Russian-speakers, but will find it hard to get in government as parties that oppose it because of its Moscow ties won enough votes.

The poll conducted by national broadcaster LTV said Harmony got 19.4 percent while Prime Minister Maris Kucinskis' party Union of Greens and Farmers got 9.7 percent and populist newcomers KPV LV got 11.5 percent.

Una Bergmane, a teaching fellow in global history at the London School of Economics, said it is unlikely the party will be able to team up with Prime Minister Maris Kucinskis' Union of Greens and Farmers, which polls suggest could come second.

Hundreds of thousands of the country's population of 2.11-milion are ethnic Russian.

The Harmony party is the country's largest with 24 seats but it has been shunned by Latvian parties over suspicions of being too cozy with Moscow, despite its pro-EU stance.

Latvia is an European Union and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation member state with a 167-mile border with Russian Federation and is a key ally in the increasingly hostile relationship between the West and President Vladimir Putin. After all, according to surveys of 15% voter support.

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The pro-Russia Harmony party has topped polls and the ruling coalition lost its majority in Latvia's national election, according to results from over 80 percent of precincts released.

While Harmony was the most popular party in Latgale and Rīga, KPV LV was the leader in Kurzeme and Zemgale, while the New Conservative Party won in Vidzeme region.

The National Alliance is expected to win 13 and Unity, now rebranded as New Unity, might not even meet the five-percent election threshold.

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.

In the past, parties have formed pacts to keep Harmony out of government.

The second place was taken by the party KPV, which gained 14.1%.

Harmony has not ruled out working with any party and has said KPVs voters will have to be respected. Polling stations open on Saturday from 0500 GMT to 1700 GMT, with exit polls soon after and results expected early Sunday.

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