Ruling alliance likely to win today’s general election
Around 1.5 million people are eligible to vote today in Latvia’s general election. There are 13 parties and 1,156 candidates standing in the election which the opinion polls suggest is likely to be won by the governing coalition.
There are 1,052 polling stations in Latvia which will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. local time. A further 99 polling stations will be opened abroad. Around 13,000 people have already voted in the three days of early voting (1st, 2nd & 3rd October).
In the last election in 2011 the Social Democratic Party (often referred to as ‘Harmony’ or ‘Concord Centre’) won 31 seats but was unable to form a government in the 100 seat Saeima or Parliament. This time they are on around 19% (down from 28.36%) and suffering from their links with Russian President Vladimir Putin’s United Russia Party.
The centre-right Unity won 20 seats last time with the centre-right Reform Party on 22 seats. This time the ruling Unity alliance which also includes the right-wing National Alliance with 14 seats last time and the centrist Union of Green Farmers with 13 seats in 2011 is on 32.5% according to a SKDS poll. In December 2013 Unity and Reform announced an electoral pact and together they are on 11.9% with the National Alliance on 9.3% and the Union of Green Farmers on 11.3%.
One party to watch is the left wing ‘For Latvia from the Heart’ which was established on May 5th with former Auditor General Inguna Sudraba as its Chairwoman. The party is on around 10% of the vote according to the SKDS poll.
Some reports suggest that there are still around 14% of voters undecided late into the campaign, but the aggression of the Russians in Ukraine suggests that Harmony is unlikely to benefit from a late surge even though it could still emerge as the single largest party.