13 parties to vie for 11th Saeima

A total of 13 political parties or coalitions will be on the ballot Sept. 17 when Latvian voters go to the polls in the homeland and abroad to elect a new parliament, according to the Central Election Commission in Rīga.

No. 1 in the packet of candidate lists voters will receive will be Vienotība (Unity), a center-right party that merges Jaunais laiks (New Era), Pilsoniskā savienība (Civic Union) and Sabiedrība citai politikai (Society for a Different Politics).

The order of lists was determined Aug. 19 in a drawing run by the election commission. Voters on Sept. 17 will choose one list to vote for, and may promote or demote specific candidates on that list.

The election for the 11th Saeima is a result of the July 23 referendum in which voters resoundingly chose to dissolve the 10th Saeima, a response called for by former President Valdis Zatlers.

The order of candidate lists is as follows:

  1. Vienotība, which controlled the most seats in the 10th Saeima—33 out of 100—and currently runs the government in coalition with Zaļo un Zemnieku savienība (Union of Greens and Farmers).
  2. Latvijas Sociāldemokrātiskā strādnieku partija (Latvian Socialdemocratic Workers Party, or LSDSP). The party appeared on the ballot for the 10th Saeima under the umbrella of the Atbildība socialdemocratic coalition.
  3. Zatlera Reformu partija (Zatlers’ Reform Party). The party was officially founded July 23—the same day as the referendum—and is led by the former president, Zatlers.
  4. Kristīgi demokrātiskā savienība (Christian Democratic Union), a centrist Christian-oriented party.
  5. Šlesera Reformu partija LPP/LC (Šlesers’ Reform Party LPP/LC), a conservative party led by oligarch Ainārs Šlesers. Under the banner of Par labu Latviju! (For a Good Latvia!), the party in the last parliamentary election partnered with the now-defunct Tautas partija (People’s Party) led by oligarch Andris Šķēle. Together they controlled eight seats in the Saeima. Partly as a commentary on the new party led by Zatlers, Latvijas Pirmā partija (First Party of Latvia, or LPP/LC) changed its name to the Šlesera Reformu partija.
  6. Saskaņas Centrs (Harmony Centre), the center-left Russian-oriented bloc that had the second greatest number of seats, 29,  in the 10th Saeima.
  7. Par cilvēka tiesībām vienotā Latvijā (For Human Rights in a United Latvia, or PCTVL), the left-leaning pro-Moscow party that once had great resonance among Russian-speaking voters.
  8. Nacionālā apvienība “Visu Latvijai!” – “Tēvzemei un Brīvība/LNNK”, a recently formed nationalist and conservative bloc. In the previous election, the bloc won eight seats in the Saeima. The right-wing conservative Tēvzemei un Brīvībai/LNNK (For Fatherland and Freedom/LNNK) is the older party, formed in 1997. Visu Latvijai! (All for Latvia) began as a political movement in 2002.
  9. Par prezidentālu republiku (For a Presidential Republic), a reformist party that, among other goals, seeks direct election of the president and a smaller Saeima.
  10. Pēdējā partija (Last Party), a somewhat tongue-in-cheek movement that eschews traditional politics. It seeks a reduction in the role of political parties and an increase in civic involvement.
  11. Zaļo un Zemnieku savienība (ZZS), a conservative party that controlled 22 seats in the 10th Saeima. It runs the current government in coalition with Vienotība. ZZS is tied to oligrach and Ventspils Mayor Aivars Lembergs.
  12. Tautas kontrole (Control by the People), a centrist and family-oriented party.
  13. Brīvība: Brīvs no bailēm, naida un dusmām (Freedom: Free from Fear, Hate and Anger), a new movement based in Ventspils that seeks, among other goals, direct election of the president and creation of a new constitution.

Details about each party’s or coalition’s platform are available from the Central Election Commission’s website, www.cvk.lv.

Andris Straumanis is a special correspondent for and a co-founder of Latvians Online. From 2000–2012 he was editor of the website.

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