Conservatives have slim majority in Rīga

The conservative party Jaunais laiks, which won nearly 18 percent of votes in March 12 balloting, will take 13 of 60 seats on the Rīga City Council and appears ready to lead a slim conservative coalition that could slightly outweigh the influence of leftist parties, according to provisional election results tallied by Latvia’s Central Elections Commission.

A total of 52 percent of eligible voters—a 10 percentage point drop in turnout from four years ago—cast ballots in the March 12 municipal elections across Latvia.

Jaunais laiks took 17.9 percent of the 200,914 votes cast in Rīga. Other conservative parties also will have a presence on the new city council. Latvijas Pirmā partija will get four seats, Tēvzemei un Brīvībai/LNNK will get six and Tautas partija will get eight. All together, conservative parties will control 31 seats on the council. Jaunais laiks, TB/LNNK and Tautas partija have said they are ready to work together in a coalition, according to Latvian media reports.

TB/LNNK also says the Latvian Social Democratic Labor Party (LSDSP), which is the party of current Mayor Gundars Bojārs and stands to lose half its seats on the council, should also be brought into the coalition to ensure a stable majority.

The predominantly Russian party Par cilvēka tiesībām vienotā Latvijā got nine seats on the council, the leftist association Dzimtene took eight seats, and LSDSP kept seven of its current 15 seats.

The relatively new leftist party Jaunais Centrs, led by Rīga’s Vice Mayor Sergejs Dolgopolovs, took five seats.

Rīga’s new mayor may be Aivars Aksenoks, who led the Jaunais laiks ticket.

In the northwestern port city of Ventspils, the party of incumbent Mayor Aivars Lembergs, Latvijai un Ventspilij, took 72 percent of the vote. Jaunais laiks was second with just 10.8 percent of the vote. The Ventspils City Council has 11 seats.

In the other major western port, Liepāja, the local Liepājas partija won 38 percent of the vote. The city council has 15 seats.

Voters in the eastern city of Daugavpils gave 35.8 percent of ballots to Latvijas ceļš, a significant shift in power. Another 29.8 percent went to Latgales gaisma. The Daugavpils City Council has 15 seats, of which five had been controlled by Latgales gaisma, but only one by Latvijas ceļš.

In Rēzekne, 31.7 percent of votes went to Jaunais centrs, one of the new party’s best showings. The council has 11 seats.

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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