Conservatives in power win parliamentary elections in Latvia

Conservatives in power win parliamentary elections in Latvia

According to preliminary results, the liberal-conservative Jauna Vienotiba party of Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins received the most votes in Latvia’s parliamentary elections. She secured 26 of the 100 seats in the Baltic country’s EU and NATO parliament, as the Riga election commission announced Sunday night after the votes were counted at all polling stations.

Like the ÖVP, Jauna Vienotiba belongs to the EPP Group in the European Parliament. Chancellor Karl Nehammer (ÖVP) congratulated his colleague Karins on Twitter Sunday night on his election victory. The election was overshadowed by Russia’s war in Ukraine and concerns about rising energy costs.

The second strongest force will be the opposition Farmers and Greens Alliance (16 seats), just ahead of the new United List electoral alliance (15 seats). Of Karin’s three coalition partners, only one, the national-conservative National Alliance (13 seats), made it to parliament. While the Conservatives clearly failed the five percent barrier, the Liberal party slipped To Development – To! under the last-minute freeze clause.

The Social Democrat opposition party Harmonie has had to deal with a deep slump. Latvia’s hitherto strongest political force failed to reach parliament. The party, whose main voters come mainly from the strong minority of Russian origin, is the big loser in the vote in the Baltic Sea state, which borders Russia and Belarus.

A total of seven parties will be represented in Saeima’s parliament. In addition to the United List, there are three other new groups: The pro-Russian Force for stability! (11 seats), the Left Progressives (10 seats) and the populist Latvia First party (9 seats). Voter turnout was 59 percent.

Karins, who was the first Latvian head of government to serve a full four-year term, said he was ready to lead the next government after the vote. The US-born ex-deputy depends on new allies to stay in office. He initially expressed reservations about this on election night.

On Latvian television election programs, experts expected difficult coalition negotiations. Head of State Egils Levits, who is expected to give the order to form a government, wants to meet with representatives of the parties elected to parliament for talks on Monday.