Friday, 19 October, 2018


Friendly Harmony Party Leads Pack In Latvian Elections

Nils Usakovs Mayor of Riga Latvia's capital and a leader of the Harmony Center party seen during an interview with the Associated Press in Riga Latvia. A political party catering to the ethnic Russian Newcomers winners in Latvian election, tough coalition talks ahead
Bennie Garza | 09 October, 2018, 14:59

Harmony party, KPV LV, and the New Conservative Party earned the highest number of votes cast in Latvia's parliamentary elections after counting all votes from the polling stations located in Latvia, according to information available on the Central Election Commission's website.

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.

The result will lead to a more fragmented parliament of seven parties, of which six won between 10 and 20 percent support each.

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.

The current ruling coalition of Union of Greens and Farmers, the National Alliance and Unity together got 29.2 percent, meaning they would have to find at least one other coalition member to form a majority government.

Casting his ballot in the eastern town of Rezekne, Aigars Karklins said the prospect of Harmony teaming up with populists was realistic.

On their watch the economy, hit hard by the 2008 financial crisis, has resumed growth.

Therefore, a government tripartite was created by the Union of Greens and Farmers (center-right), the National Alliance (right) and the Unity (center-right).

"Our voters want a change from the old post-Soviet politics which has been very powerful up to now", said Janis Bordans, leader of the New Conservatives. In the meanwhile, Māris Kučinskis will continue to lead the existing government in a caretaker capacity.

Hackers targeted the Draugiem.lv network, second in popularity only to Facebook in the Baltic state, with a pro-Russian message. "The borders of Russia have no end", it said in Russian, followed by images of soldiers annexing Crimea, Russian tanks parading in Moscow and a smiling Vladimir Putin.

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

Formerly part of the Soviet Union, Latvia is now a member of the eurozone and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, having joined the military alliance in 2004.

"KPV LV is a "shadow branch" of Harmony, which is not alone in its power quest any more", said political analyst Bendiks.

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