Pro-Russia party wins Latvia election

Cheryl Sanders
October 9, 2018

"This is breaking our agreement with North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, of which Latvia is a member since 2004, he adds". It's the country's largest party with 24 seats, but it has been shunned by other Latvian parties over suspicions of being too cozy with Moscow, despite its pro-EU stance.

Before the election, some Latvians feared a strong result for Harmony and KPV could lead to them forming a government and bringing the Latvia's foreign policy closer to Putin's Russian Federation.

With Russian speakers making up a quarter of the population, Harmony looks to remain the biggest party, according to the polls, followed by the Union of Greens and Farmers and KPV LV.

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 messages that the voters have tried to send is that we're going to have some new faces in politics", Janis Ikstens, political scientist at Latvia University, told Reuters.

"Therefore there's the possibility of a Russia-oriented coalition after the election".

Some have speculated one of the populist parties could come to a coalition agreement with Harmony, allowing for the formation of an Italy-style anti-establishment Latvian government to challenge the ruling European Union elites in Brussels.

Latvia, a member of the European Union and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, shares a 276-kilometre (167 miles) border with Russian Federation.

"After these elections, there will be changes, and people will be proud that there are no more nationalists in charge", Usakovs was quoted as saying by the Baltic News Service.

The second place was taken by the party KPV, which gained 14.1%. For example a coalition containing the New Conservatives, National Alliance, For Development/For! and the Greens and Farmers Union would hold 53 seats.

Dissatisfaction with Latvian politicians, widely seen as corrupt and inefficient, has seen the parties in Prime Minister Maris Kucinskis' coalition lose voters to KPV LV, a party that has promised a fresh and more efficient government.

Political forces, which won seats in the parliament, have two weeks for talks on possible cooperation and forming a new ruling coalition, and then President Raimonds Vejonis will start consultations on choosing the candidate for the country's prime minister, the LETA news agency reported citing the president's Chancellery. Polling stations open on Saturday from 0500 GMT to 1700 GMT, with exit polls soon after and results expected early Sunday.

Other reports by iNewsToday